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SOCC04H3 (7)


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Sheldon Ungar

CHAPTER 50: CIVILIZE THEM WITH A STICK – Mary Crow Dog ENVANGELICAL  Nation’s policies toward Native Americans: separation of Indian children from their families and cultures  To “civilize” these children into the dominant society  Started in 1879, peaked around 1879-1930; Native American children were forced to attend boarding schools, day schools, and schools in converted army posts; these institutions used tactics similar to those used by military to resocialize these children  Crow Dog describes these children as victims of Nazi concentration camps  Even now, when buildings are new with well trained teachers, some children who arrive don’t speak for days while others go to very drastic measures such as suicide  The children of the Natives are always surrounded by relative, are seldom forced to do anything against their will, are seldom screamed at or beaten – therefore, when they enter these schools, they experience a completely different environment  The schools consist of impersonality instead of close human contact; a sterile, cold atmosphere, unfamiliar routine, language problems, and above all, the clock (which is a white man’s time, not Indian time)  The schools were intended as an alternative to the outright extermination seriously advocated by generals Sherman and Sheridan – they were established by the so-called “do-gooders”  The Indian children realized that they were not wanted by the Indians, nor wanted by the Whites – as a result, they became alcoholics  “Solving the Indian Problem”: by making Indians into whites  St. Francis – a Christian boarding school for the Indians; although the school is now run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, during the 1960s, it was still run by the Church – at these schools, children were beaten, treated harshly, given inadequate food, were not allowed to meet with their families, except for one week a year, and were forced to pray in the Christian way, as opposed to the Indian way  Beating was the common punishment for not doing homework, for arriving late, etc  According to Crow Dog, the Native children were treated so badly that she hated and mistrusted every white person until much later when she met sincere white people – she claims that racism breeds racism in reverse  In winter, dorm rooms were freezing cold, whereas the nun rooms were warm; the children had to eat old food with bugs and rocks in it sometimes, while the nuns enjoyed the finest foods  When the girls first arrived at the schools, their braids were chopped off and they were dumped into tubs of rubbing alcohol “to get the germs off”  Many of the nuns were German immigrants from Bavaria  Crow Dog and two of her friends put together a newspaper called the Red Panther, in which they exposed the reality of the schools – they distributed to the newspaper as much as they could  Girls who were near-white were given preference – the nuns perceived them as coming from “good families” – they were treated better, given better food, and given better tasks  CHAPTER 19: ON BEING SANE IN INSANE PLACES – David L. Rosenhan  Deviance: Recognized violation of social norms  Since there are a variety of social norms that dictate human behaviour, there are numerous behaviours that can be considered deviant  Whether a person is labelled deviant or not depends on how others perceive, define, and respond to that person’s behaviour  In this article, Rosenhan explores social deviance of mental illness and the consequences of labelling people “sane” or “insane”  Benedict (1934): sanity and insanity are not universal; what is considered abnormal according to one culture may be viewed as normal in another culture; thus, notions of normality and abnormality may not be as accurate as people believe they are  Sanity and insanity are therefore less substantive that people perceive them to me  The view has grown that psychological categorization of mental illness is useless, harmful, misleading, and pejorative – psychiatric diagnoses are in the minds of the observers and are not valid summaries of characteristics displayed by the observed  If however, the distinction between the sane and insane is clear, then the context should not matter – e.g., if we put a normal person, with no history of abnormality, in a psychiatric hospital, we should be able to distinguish them as sane right away  This article describes such an experiment: eight sane people gained secret access to twelve different psychiatric hospitals  Eight pseudopatients: a psychology graduate in his 20s; three psychologists, a paediatrician, a psychiatrist, a painter and a house wife (three women, five men)  The hospital staffs were not aware of the pseudopatients  The pseudopatients described their symptoms as hearing voices that said “empty”, “hollow”, and “thud” – other than these symptoms, falsifying name, vocation, and employment, no further alterations of person, history, or circumstance were made – the pseudopatients explained their life histories exactly as they had occurred  Upon entering the psychiatric wards, the patients acted completely normally  Upon being discharged, except for one pseudopatient with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, all the rest were labelled as “schizophrenia in remission” – thus, it is apparent that although these individuals exhibited completely normal behaviour afterwards and had no history of abnormality, they were labelled as schizophrenics for life  The failure of recognition cannot be attributed to quality of hospitals – because there were 12 different hospitals of varying qualities, and several of them were considered excellent – also, it cannot be attributed to insufficiency of time, because the hospitalization ranged from 7-52 days, with an average of 19 days  The patients were able to detect the pseudopatients’ normality when the staff was unable to  Failure to detect sanity may be due to this: physicians are more likely to call a normal person sick (a false positive, type 2) than a sick person healthy (false negative, type 1) – this is because it is more dangerous to misdiagnose an ill person as healthy than it is to misdiagnose a healthy person as ill  Psychiatric diagnoses carry with them personal, legal, and social stigmas  Another experiment was performed with the pseudopatients – this time, the staff was told that they’re going to be receiving pseudopatients within the next three months and each time a patient entered they were asked to rate each patient according to the likelihood that they may be a pseudopatient  Forty-one patients were alleged, with high confidence, to be pseudopatients by at least one member of the staff; 23 were considered suspect by at least one psychiatrist ; 19 were suspected by one psychiatrist and one staff member; none of these patients were pseudopatients – this indicates that the tendency to designate sane people as insane can be reversed when stakes (in this case, prestige and diagnostic acumen) are high  Thus, since diagnosis consists of so many errors, the distinction between normality and abnormality is not very reliable  Gestalt Psychology: there are “central” personality traits which are so powerful that they make other traits less noticeable – among these is “schizophrenic”, “manic-depressive”, etc, that once a person has been labelled as these, their normal traits
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