Psychiatry, the DSM, and the Black Power movement
Once upon a time, a strange thing happened at the Ionia State Hospital in Michigan: A diagnosis of schizophrenia exited the body of a white housewife, flew across the hospital, and landed on a young Black man from the housing projects of Detroit, burrowing into his body and stubbornly refusing to leave.
As you probably know, Black men in the United States (as well as in the United Kingdom) are disproportionately diagnosed with schizophrenia. But what you may not know is when this pattern emerged, or why.
Up until the 1950s, the overwhelming majority of those diagnosed with schizophrenia were white. They were the delicate or eccentric - poets, academics, middle-class women like Alice Wilson in Jonathan Metzl's The Protest Psychosis, "driven to insanity by the dual pressures of housework and motherhood."
Then, in the mid-1960s, the Long Hot Summers hit urban America. Smoldering anger over racism and poverty erupted into rioting, fires, and harsh repression. In Detroit, a police raid on a party triggered an uprising that left 43 dead, 1,189 injured, and more than 7,000 arrested. Convinced that they would never win civil rights through sit-down strikes, a nascent Black Power movement became increasingly militant.