"One can come to the politically incorrect conclusion from these data that Puerto Ricans are more likely to be crazy than Virgin Islanders; or, in the words of the bureaucrats, there is five times the incidence of "mental disorders other than retardation" among the Puerto Ricans of working age (18-64) than among similarly aged Virgin Islanders." (Analysis: Why Does Puerto Rico Get Far More in SSDI Funds Than the V.I.? David North, Nov. 6, 2005.)
Wow. If you were perceptive enough to preface this invocation of "crazy" with an acknowledgement that it was "politically incorrect" (the usage itself of which is probably "politically incorrect" or, at the very least, a cliché), was there no further reflection on whether it was appropriate to invoke its usage at all?
Those afflicted with "mental disorders other than retardation" suffer a double indignity: they suffer both from the effects of their own disease, as well as from the effects of the pervasive and entrenched stigma that such diseases are somehow different or more fault-based than every other medical disease known to humankind. Apparently The Source was compassionate enough to recognize this, in its reference to and outdated use of the term "crazy", but went ahead and used it anyway.
To reinforce the usage of terms like "crazy" — which is precisely what you did, token deference to political incorrectness notwithstanding — denigrates and trivializes the very real ravages that mental disorders and disabilities have, both on the lives of individuals who suffer from them, and on the lives of their caretakers and loved ones. Such use has no place in a publication which purports or aspires to be part of a 21st century society, and it certainly has no place in an article lamenting Virgin Islanders' lack of participation in a federal program designed to assist those who suffer from mental disabilities. Why on earth would anyone wish to avail themselves of benefits which — by your own terms — first require the applicant to admit to being "crazy"?
Shame on you.
Heather A. Rippl, Esq.
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to [email protected].