Today’s edition of Hood Health 101 deals with the hatred faced by the Black and Brown community following the Charleston Church massacre

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As I mentioned in my previous article “R.A.P.: Resentment, Anger and Pain”, mental disorders and illness are real within the Black and Brown community in the inner city. Due to the general issues involved with racial health disparities (education, access, and unique issues), it is often not identified, outright ignored or labeled as strongly negative by the community itself or the white community. The media plays a huge role in presenting a skewed perception of those afflicted with mental disorders who are Black or Brown from the inner city.

A mental disorder or illness manifests itself as something that causes one to suffer or not be able to interact normally in life mentally or through one’s behavior. With that said, just like any illness, one has to be diagnosed with a mental disorder by qualified individuals. In the cases of the mass shootings perpetrated by white males, a certain pattern becomes evident. It is almost a script which is automatically adopted by the media. As soon as the tragedy is made public, the media works to pamper, forgive and canonize the mass murderer by declaring that he was afflicted with a mental illness. It was the same script that was presented with Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook Shooting), Elliot Rodger (Isla Vista Killings), James Holmes (Aurora Movie Killings) and most recently with Dylann Roof, the Charleston Church Terrorist. The problem with these media tactics is that declarations of mental illness are made right off the rip before any official evaluation has even been made. It’s like the media is offering white males a quick “get out of jail free” card.


To be clear, hate is not a mental disorder. The mass murders committed by terrorist Dylann Roof is clearly informed by a white supremacist racial ideology. His philosophy is laid out in his manifesto. What is sad though is that a big portion of the media wanted to give him the “mental illness” defense immediately. Even without the manifesto, it was clear that he was of “sound mind” when he made the terrorist attack. The location of the attack (a church that Denmark Vesey founded), the time of the attack (on the anniversary of the slave rebellion he set off) and with his attire in various pictures on his social site (wearing patches from Apartheid era South Africa and Rhodesia) all points to a damn racist agenda.

It is important to highlight, in the wake of the Charleston Church Terrorist attack, that hate isn’t a mental order for several reasons. One reason is that there are no clinical plans of treatment for white males who commit these atrocities. Even if it is used as a defense in court it is only a legal tactic that doesn’t have any reality in the medical world. Another reason is that it trivializes actual mental disorders which can be managed by various different forms of treatment. Mental illness should not be used as a shield for the dirty hateful philosophies of mass murderers. There are those in need and with every false labeling of mental illness to mass murderers, terrorists and hate mongers those who are in need of help get pushed aside or derided. Let’s change this narrative.

Alife Allah(@alifeallahor)

C’BS ALife Allah is the co-editor of the Hood Health Handbook and co-creator of the HoodHealth concept.