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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

A Different Kind of Closet

Several different kinds of prejudice exist in our society. A lot of minorities have a movement that helps them rise above the masses and have a community spirit of togetherness.

The last butt of the joke in the world, whom nobody ever defends in social situations, are the mentally ill. People say “You’re crazy” all the time, but nobody ever stops to think who they might be addressing, and who really is considered crazy or not.

I was at an event recently that was supposed to be billed as good-natured fun, but in the middle, the speaker said, “If they do have a problem with that, they probably just got out of the mental institution.” And everybody laughed. People thought that was funny.

Nobody in the audience stopped to consider that maybe somebody sitting in a chair observing this spectacle may have been in a mental institution at one time. If they had, how could they walk the streets and hold their head up high? They would not be in a room full of high achievers.

A lot of people poke fun at people who have mental illnesses. Some of those people don’t know (or think they know) anybody with a mental illness, nor have never been in a psychiatric hospital. They don’t understand that somebody sitting next to them in their class or on the bus could have a mental illness.

One time, I was at an event full of earthy-crunchy do-gooders, and somebody said in jest, “Well, if I can’t read it, I can just say I have a cognitive disorder.” All present laughed. Nobody stopped to think that there might have been a person there with a cognitive disorder who might have felt like turning into a turtle.

People can and do recover from such problems and go on to live normal lives. They can be doctors or lawyers or professors or cab drivers. They can have friends, families, and blend in with the crowd.

The worst problem for an ex-psychiatric patient is dealing with ignorance. Those who make fun of the mentally ill without knowing anything about it are the bane of the social order.

The LGBT Pride movement is an example of a minority that has risen above prejudice and united for a common goal: acceptance in the world. Every June on The Boston Common, thousands of screaming LGBT people wave rainbow flags and proclaim that they will not be put down any more.

To be a person with a mental illness these days is worse than being gay. The mentally ill are always the scapegoat, the bottom of the barrel, and a lot of people choose to stay “in the closet” because it is easier than dealing with looks and questioning glances.

Every June I wonder if there will ever be a parade of rowdy former psychiatric patients hollering that they will not tolerate injustice any more and move forward with pride. Pride in having a mental illness? Yes, pride that they’ve survived.