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Nation contributor Melissa Harris-Lacewell appears on GritTV to
answer the question: “Who are you calling crazy?” Harris-Lacewell
alludes to Jonathan Metzl’s book Protest Psychosis in which middle-class
white women had been misdiagnosed as schizophrenic for their inability
to conform into their role of domesticity. “On the one hand, there is
this idea that insanity is an individual characteristic,”
Harris-Lacewell says. “But on the other hand, insanity might be an
appropriate response to situations like oppression and inequality and a
truly crazy system in which people are simply trying to cope.”

Likewise, politics is suffering from an equal misunderstanding of
ideologies and perception today. What does matter, she argues, is
finding the truths in politics and urging others to move beyond using
lazy “crazy” insults. In regards to the recent Supreme Court rulings, Obama’s “slow progress” and the health care crisis, Harris-Lacewell finds growth in Obama’s need to abide by democratic processes. “He understands and believes that we’re not just committed to a set of democratic outcomes,” she says. “But we also have to be committed to a set of democratic processes–the belief that if we won, we have to give and allow space and voice for those who lost. And it irritates us because now that we’re finally in power as progressives, we really just want to do what we want to do.”

Clarissa León

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