Monday, October 31, 2011

love and hate

To whom it may concern:

I hate that I love you.....Since I was but a girl this has been true.....Sickens me all the way thru.....Act like you know but haven't a clue....What it takes to love a woman like me....All my simple complexities....The sweetest dreams are indeed made of these....Nightmares all lucid.....We create reality......Torn to shreds......I bleed and I need me to.....My pain feeds you.....You are beautiful....and I am you.

Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment.[1] In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels.[2] Love may also be described as actions towards others (or oneself) based on compassion, or as actions towards others based on affection.

Hatred (or hate) is a deep and emotional extreme dislike, directed against a certain object or class of objects.

Philosophers have offered many influential definitions of hatred. René Descartes viewed hate as an awareness that something is bad combined with an urge to withdraw from it. Baruch Spinoza defined hate as a type of pain that is due to an external cause. Aristotle viewed hate as a desire for the annihilation of an object that is incurable by time. David Hume believed that hate is an irreducible feeling that is not definable at all.[1]

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Black Mask of Humanity:
Racial/Ethnic Discrimination and
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Hugh F. Butts, MD
J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 30:336–9, 2002

Knowledge of the impact of racism on the psyches of
African-Americans is limited by the following considerations:
the tendency among European-Americans
to deny, minimize, and rationalize the existence
of racism; the tendency among European-Americans
to ascribe inferior status to African-Americans; the
application of many stereotypes and myths to African-
Americans that serve to have them viewed as
nonresponsive to human influences; and finally, an
African-American tradition “which teaches one to
deflect racial provocation and to master and contain
pain” (Ref. 1, p 25).
It is not surprising that, given this disregard of
African-Americans, responses to racial discrimination
by African-Americans are often not viewed as
severe enough to indicate that these blacks may have
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even in those
instances in which African-Americans are objects of
discrimination and describe symptoms consistent
with PTSD, their symptoms may be dismissed or
trivialized because of the view that the stressors are
not catastrophic enough, according to the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
(DSM), to warrant a diagnosis of PTSD.
The tendency on the part of some European-
Americans to define casually the reality of African-
Americans’ experience may be problematic in view of
the lack of knowledge about the “Black Experience”
displayed by so many European-Americans. This
tendency led Ralph Ellison to write: “Thus when the
white American says, ‘This is American reality’, the
Negro tends to answer . . . ‘perhaps, but you’ve left
out this and this, and this. And most of all what you’d
have the world accept as me isn’t even human’ ” (Ref.
2, p 111).
There are intriguing psychodynamics implicit in
the refusal by European-Americans to acknowledge
and accept that the African-American response to
racial discrimination should be viewed as potentially
clinically symptomatic. First, there is a lack of sophistication
regarding the adaptive nature of the formation
of symptoms and that a symptom simultaneously
represents a mechanism of constructive
adaptation to the effects of stressors as well as (in the
extreme) a maladaptive response to the effect of stressors.
Thus, there is a great deal to be learned about
formation of symptoms as African-Americans react
to traumatic acts of discrimination and then define
and expand their self-definition in response to these
traumatic acts. Second, failure to characterize as serious
trauma the symptoms that African-Americans
report as responses to discrimination tends to further
the emotional gulf between African-Americans and
During four decades of psychiatric and psychoanalytic
practice, the author has treated thousands of
African-American individuals, many of whom have
described various types of racial trauma. Most of the
African-American patients evaluated and treated by
the author have described multiple personal experiences
of racial and ethnic discrimination. Considering
the ubiquity of racism, it is not surprising that

instances of discrimination are as frequent as reported;
but the devastating emotional responses to
the racist acts are unsettling. The range and intensity
of emotional responses varies from mild to overwhelming,
and the duration of such responses varies
from days to months or years. With a fair degree of
frequency, black individuals who experience racial
discrimination report symptoms consistent with a
diagnosis of PTSD, even though the DSM-IV requires,
for the diagnosis, that the symptoms follow
exposure to extreme traumatic stress.
The essential feature of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is the
development of characteristic symptoms following exposure
to an extreme traumatic stressor involving direct personal
experiences of an event that involves actual or threatened
death or serious injury, or other threat to one’s physical
integrity; or witnessing an event that involves death, injury,
or a threat to the physical integrity of another person; or
learning about unexpected or violent death, serious harm, or
threat of death or injury experienced by a family member or
other close associate. . . . Traumatic events that are experienced
directly include, but are not limited to, military combat,
violent personal assault (sexual assault, physical attack,
robbery, mugging), being kidnapped, being taken hostage,
terrorist attack, torture, incarceration as a prisoner of war or
in a concentration camp, natural or manmade disasters, severe
automobile accidents, or being diagnosed with a lifethreatening
illness [Ref. 3, p 463– 4].
It is my premise that the clinicians who formulated
the DSM have used an extremely narrow focus
in citing the traumas that may be causative of PTSD.
It is my view that racial/ethnic discrimination experienced
by African-Americans frequently results in
symptomatology consistent with a diagnosis of
PTSD. Further, it will be argued herein that the subjective
experiences and symptoms experienced by
those African-Americans are often extreme and catastrophic,
requiring active psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic
care. Recognition of this notion
should make it easier for blacks who have experienced
intentional discrimination to bring claims that
they have suffered psychological harm.
A Review of Selected Literature
Several behavioral scientists have sought to expand
the view held by the DSM’s authors as to the nature
of trauma. Charles Brenner states:
What is traumatic is the subjective experience of the traumatized
individual. It is what the event meant to the individual. It
is the impact of the external stimuli, how they heightened fears,
intensified sexual and aggressive wishes, resonated with feelings
of guilt and remorse [Ref. 4, p 196].
Jacob Arlow in a 1984 article notes:
What constitutes trauma is not inherent in the actual event, but
rather in the individual’s response to a disorganizing disruptive
combination of impulse and fears integrated into a set of unconscious
fantasies. The traumatic event itself has not been at
issue, only the reaction that it evokes in the survivor [Ref. 5,
p 521].
Pitman and Orr, in describing the illusory objectivity
of the stressor, write:
The assumption that there exists a “range of usual human experience”
is dubious from a cross-cultural perspective. For example,
gang related shootings may be rare in rural Minnesota but
all too common in urban Los Angeles. A recent study found that
at some time in their lives, 39 percent of the middle-class Detroit
population was exposed to traumatic events potentially
capable of causing PTSD, and 25 percent of exposed persons
went on to develop the disorder. Another study reported that
stressors falling within the range of usual human experience are
sometimes capable of resulting in the PTSD syndrome [Ref. 6,
p 37].
Pitman and Orr add:
The examples presented in DSM III-R of stressors that may
cause PTSD raise as many questions as they settle. Does the
“sudden destruction of one’s home” include losing one’s summer
house in a fire? Of all the examples provided in DSM III-R
“serious threat to one’s life or physical integrity” appears the
most straightforward. However, not all experts would accept the
sudden denuding of a litigant’s scalp by a faulty hair rinse as a
stressor sufficient to cause PTSD. The illusion of an “objective”
stressor is further evidenced by the consideration that the victim’s
appraisal constitutes a necessary link in the causal chain
from event to stress response. An identical event may not be
experienced the same way by two people. Pilowsky has coined
the term “cryptotrauma” for a situation in which a stressor that
appears innocuous to an observer may be perceived by the victim
as life-threatening. Retrospective discovery that the appraisal
was incorrect doesn’t erase the distress associated with
the original experience [Ref. 6, p 38].
Butts7–10 and Butts and Butts,11 offer cases documenting
the appearance of PTSD symptoms in a
series of African-Americans who experienced racial
and housing discrimination. Each of the patients described
symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of
PTSD. Each was given the diagnosis and in several
cases, expert testimony at the time of civil trial resulted
in findings for the plaintiffs and awards for
damages or settlements out of court.

Dr. Butts is in private practice in psychiatry and psychoanalysis in New
York, NY. Address correspondence to: Hugh F. Butts, MD, 350 Central
Park West, Suite 13-I, New York, NY 10025. E-mail:
336 The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Willie Lynch Syndrome

Hi everyone.  I will be speaking October 19,2011 at 5pm on The Dialogue with Starlett Quarles on 1460AM KTYM The topic of discussion is Breaking The Willie Lynch Syndrome.  What effect has this concept had on our sense of identity and beauty? You can feel free to call in and join the conversation at (310) 674-5896.  

 Willie Lynch Letter
I greet you here on the bank of the James River in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and twelve. First I shall thank you, the Gentlemen of the Colony of Virginia, for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves. Your invitation reached me on my modest plantation in the West Indies where I have experimented with some of the newest and still the oldest methods for control of slaves. Ancient Rome would envy us if my program is implemented. As our boat sailed south on the James River, named for our illustrious King James, whose bible we cherish, I saw enough to know that your program is not unique. While Rome used cords of wood as crosses for standing human bodies along the old highways in great numbers, you are here using the tree and the rope on occasion.
I caught the whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree a couple of miles back. You are not only losing valuable stock by hangings, you are having uprisings, slaves are running away, your crops are sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit, you suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed, know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems, I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them.
In my bag here, I have a fool-proof method for controlling your black slaves. I guarantee everyone of you that if installed correctly it will control the slaves for at least 300 years. My method is simple, any member of your family or any overseer can use it.
I have outlined a number of differences among the slaves, and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust, and envy for control purposes. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies, and it will work throughout the South. Take this simple little test of differences and think about them. On the top of my list is "Age", but it is there because it only starts with an "A"; the second is "Color" or shade; there is intelligence, size, sex, size of plantations, attitude of owners, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, East, West, North, South, have fine or coarse hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action--but before that, I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust, and envy is stronger than adulation, respect, or admiration.
The Black Slave, after receiving this indoctrination, shall carry on and will become self refueling and self generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.
Don't forget, you must pitch the old Black vs. the young Black male, and the young Black male against the old Black male. You must use the dark skinned slaves vs the light skinned slaves, and the light skinned slaves vs. the dark skinned slaves. You must use the female vs. the male, and the male vs. the female. You must also have your servants and overseers distrust all Blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us. They must love, respect, and trust only us.
Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control, use them. Have your wives and children use them. Never miss opportunity. My plan is guaranteed, and the good thing about this plan is that if used intensely for one year, the slaves themselves will remain perpetually distrustful.