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The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Diseaseby Jonathan M. Metzl
Synopses & Reviews
A groundbreaking work that turns a queer eye on the criminal legal system
In March 2003--three decades afterStonewall--police stormed the Power Plant, a private Detroit club frequented by African American LGBT people. Over 350 people were handcuffed. Some were hit in the head and back; others were slammed into wallswhile being verbally abused. Their supposed crime was later chalked up to a bizarre infraction: loitering inside a building. The event illuminated a long shadow of policing in America, wherediscrimination and prejudice are pervasive.
Drawing on years of research, activism, and legal advocacy, Queer (In)Justice is a searing examination of the queerexperience--as criminal defendants, prisoners, and survivors of violent crimes. The authors unpack queer criminal archetypes--like gleeful gay killers, lethallesbians, and disease spreaders--to illustrate the punishment of queer expression, regardless of whether a crime was ever committed. And tracing stories from the judicial bench tothe streets and behind prison bars, the authors prove that the policing of sex and gender both bolsters and reinforces racial and gender inequalities.
"The U.S. justice system is severely flawed--and its treatment of queer people is representative of its brokenness, argue the authors of the most recent entry in the Queer Action/Queer Ideas series. In a call to action to readers to aid in dismantling the violence endemic to policing and punishment systems, the authors present a history of the criminalization of homosexuality and gender nonconformity, from 1513, when Balboa condemning gay indigenous people to be ripped apart by his hunting dogs, to the turn-of-the-millennium Michigan state troopers' decade-long 'bag a fag' operation targeting truck stops. Discussions include the creation of queer criminal archetypes (e.g., Leopold and Loeb), representation of queer individuals as criminals in media (the murderous transsexuals Norman Bates and Jame 'Buffalo Bill' Gumb), the treatment of queers in criminal courts, prisons as queer spaces, the inadequacy of legal prosecution of violence against LGBT people, and the groups currently working to address all of these issues. While the authors' knowledge of their subject is encyclopedic and their mission and advocacy admirable, the heavily academic tone and organization might prevent this book from finding a wider readership. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
A powerful account of how cultural anxieties about race shaped American notions of mental illness
The Protest Psychosis unearths how associations between schizophrenia and blackness emerged during the U.S. civil rights era, and provides a cautionary tale of how anxieties about race continue to impact doctor-patient interactions.
Draws on years of research, activism, and legal advocacy to present an examination of the gay experience, illustrating the continuing punishment of gay expression in the United States and illuminating strategies for change.
About the Author
Joey L. Mogul is a partner at the People’s Law Office in Chicago and director of the Civil Rights Clinic at DePaul University’s College of Law. Andrea J. Ritchie is a police misconduct attorney and organizer in New York City. Kay Whitlock is a Montana-based organizer and writer whose work focuses on dismantling structural injustice in law enforcement and other public institutions.
Table of Contents
Introduction — Setting the historical stage : colonial legacies — Gleeful gay killers, lethal lesbians, & deceptive gender benders : queer criminal archetypes — The ghosts of Stonewall : policing gender, policing sex — Objection! : treatment of queers in criminal courts — Caging deviance : prisons as queer spaces — False promises : criminal legal responses to violence against LGBT people — Over the rainbow : where do we go from here?
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