In “The Book of Woe,” Mr. Greenberg takes us on a rollicking journey from the DSM-5’s inception to its publication, regaling us with stories, alternately hilarious and infuriating, of internecine battles, personality clashes and political machinations. Mr. Greenberg is an outsider by virtue of not being a psychiatrist but an insider by virtue of serving as one of the investigators involved in field-testing some proposed diagnoses on actual patients. He interviewed the major players; he watched as feathers were ruffled and smoothed; he attended conferences, documenting with growing disbelief the failures of the American Psychiatric Association’s task forces to produce the scientific results they had aimed for.
Why would the APA rush publication in spite of unfinished field trials and failures to find high reliability among clinicians, the very things that their claims to a scientific DSM rely on? Do the math, Mr. Greenberg answers. In recent years, the APA has been steadily losing income from dwindling membership and dwindling ad revenues for its journals. The DSM-IV, which has earned $100 million, keeps the organization in the black. Faced with a looming deadline and terrible data, Mr. Greenberg suggests, the DSM directors did what any reasonable, self-protecting institution would do: They lowered the statistical criteria for acceptable standards of reliability and turned defeat into victory. As Allen Frances puts it in “Saving Normal,” they accepted agreements among raters that were “sometimes barely better than two monkeys throwing darts at a diagnostic board.”
Red Azaleas Singing and Dancing Rock and Roll Music
1978, acrylic on canvas
Smithsonian American Art Museum
In a move that might discourage women from reporting domestic abuse, the NYPD has issued a new directive to its officers that they run a criminal check on both the accused and the accuser when responded to an abuse call. The New York Post is reporting that a new memo sent out by the Chief of Detectives Phil Pulaski “requires detectives to look at open warrants, complaint histories and even the driving records of both parties.”
Advocates of abused women are worried that this new directive will dissuade women form reporting abuse, frightened of possibly being arrested for offenses like an outstanding traffic violation. Marilyn Chinitz, a lawyer who represents victims of domestic abuse told The Post that the directive “is very, very frightening.” She continued, “It would absolutely dissuade people. They would not report a crime because they would fear getting locked up. It would empower the perpetrator, and there’s going to be more domestic violence as a consequence, and you’re endangering children.”
cops are here to make you suffer
Running background checks on survivors of domestic violence is not a new practice. It happens regularly to black women, trans people, immigrants, poor women, and survivors of color. Mandating the policy is an expansion of an already common police practice used against people who are not legible as “survivors of domestic violence.” Any call to end this terrible policy should be part of a broader demand to stop criminalizing all survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
What will survival entail in the near and far futures?
Mar 15-16: Speculative Visions of Race, Technology, Science, & Survival @ UC Berkeley.
More info here: http://crg.berkeley.edu/content/speculative-visions
Prof. Beth E. Richie will discuss her new book, Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation, at UC Berkeley tonight (Feb 28th) at 5:00 pm, pacific. It will be livestreamed here:
The failure to renew VAWA in the US points to all the reasons for the government’s reluctance to give tribes more jurisdiction over their own land. However, it might also be motivation to seriously consider how to solve the problem of sexual violence against Native women in ways that do not reinforce government control over Native lives.
By seriously investigating how internalized colonial notions of patriarchy and justice have allowed sexual violence to reign terror over women’s lives, tribes may find it is their communities and traditions that hold the real power to overcome this problem. In the words of one of Andrea Smith’s favorite maxims, it might motivate tribes to take power by making power. Many Native people have supported VAWA because it gives tribes power to prosecute sexual violence cases but what if Native people instead took that power by creating their own responses to crimes that do not rely on recognition from the US government.
- “Sexual Violence and the Struggle for Self-Determination,” from mixedblood messages
A great analysis making connections between Idle No More and organizing against sexual violence against Native people.
Alma Thomas, Grassy Melodic Chant, 1976.
“When you see these amendments [to the Violence Against Women Act] that give more rights to perpetrators than Native women, you start to wonder where the balance is,” [Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians] said. “We would give any other community in this country the resources and tools they need for justice, but we won’t give them to the Indians.”
[Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma], whose state has one of the largest Indian populations in the country, agreed, to a point. He said some of his colleagues seem to “fear Indians are going to take out 500 years of mistreatment on us through this.”
“It’s that kind of fear, veiled in constitutional theories,” he said.
- Jonathan Weisman, “Measure to Protect Women Stuck on Tribal Land Issue”
Congressman Cole explaining institutional white panic to the masses, y’all.
In 1883, Frederick Douglass had already written about the South’s tendency to “impute crime to color.” When a particularly egregious crime was committed, he noted, not only was guilt frequently assigned to a black person regardless of the perpetrator’s race, but white men sometimes sought to escape punishment by disguising themselves as black. Douglass would later recount one such incident that took place in Granger County, Tennessee, in which a man who appeared to be black was shot while committing a robbery. The wounded man, however, was discovered to be a respectable white citizen who had colored his face black.
- Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete?
I am pulling an all-nighter writing about violence, race, and agency, and things are getting kind of punchy.
I get that folks are annoyed with Glee for stealing Jonathan Coulton’s cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s song, Baby Got Back. Okay. But this is the original version, that is to say the best version of a subversive song that is a funny and biting commentary about black desire, the pathologization of black women’s bodies and sexuality, and the media industry’s white supremacist constructions of beauty. It’s not perfect, but it is a critical intervention that shouldn’t be lost in a debate that is only about how Coulton got ripped off by Glee & Fox.
Last August, the organizer of TEDxManhattan, a conference about the food movement that draws top thinkers and thousands of viewers, called Tanya Fields and invited her to speak.
She was elated.
An urban farmer and a single mother of four living in the South Bronx, Fields was eager to discuss food-access issues — like unhealthy options that lead to weight gain and illness, or feeding a family with food stamps — that she had personally experienced.
But four months later, after she had shared the news with friends and colleagues and started to prepare her multimedia talk, she received an email informing her that she was disinvited.
The organizer, Diane Hatz of the Glynwood Institute, said she decided Fields “wasn’t quite ready” for the event.
At first Fields was outraged, viewing the move as a perfect illustration of the privilege and elitism she claims are rampant in certain sectors of the food movement.
But soon she decided that if she couldn’t speak at their food conference, she would create her own.
Tanya Fields’ blog here: http://theblkprojek.org/blog/
Is TED a meta performance arts piece that only did this to make the larger point about how racism shapes even so-called “cutting edge” thinking about science, technology, and human survival? Or are they really that egregious?
Because those are the only two options.
- Jodi Kantor, New York Times
Interesting turn of phrase.