Perspectives: The Year Of Pushback; Systemic Racism And Children; Holidays And Depression
Opinion writers express views about a multitude of topics impacting public health and mental health during 2020.
The Year Of Fear And The Fragility Of The White, Male Myth
The past year has been replete with examples of the myths those with power and platforms tell about who should and should not be respected, revered, and honored in this country. In these tales, the heroes are usually white and male. It may be tempting simply to dismiss as sexist prattle one example of this phenomenon: last week’s much-maligned Wall Street Journal op-ed by Joseph Epstein, which implored incoming first lady Jill Biden to drop the title “Dr.” from her name. Because she’s not a medical doctor, Epstein mused, her use of the honorific diminishes its prestige. After all, the piece — which suggested “Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo” as alternative monikers —was swiftly met with the thunderous clapback it deserved. (Kimberly Atkins, 12/17)
Louisville Courier Journal:
Righting Systemic Racism Should Focus On Black School Children
As peaceful protesters in the aftermath of Breonna Taylor’s death, we and thousands of others raised our voices for reforms to address her killing and longstanding systemic racism. While police reforms are critical, the needs of Black children must become a major focus if we are ever going to heal and transition to a more equitable, just community. The needs are great, including healthcare, food, housing, safety and especially education. As a community, we have been failing our Black children forever, and that’s an unforgivable historic injustice. (Tytianna Wells and Christie Welch, 12/18)
What Matters: 3,500 Americans Died In One Day. The President Didn't Mention It.
Inoculations are happening, but more than 3,500 new Covid deaths were reported in the US on Wednesday, a single-day record. Americans still very much in danger certainly are not getting cues or public leadership from President Donald Trump, who judging by his Twitter feed remains focused almost exclusively on his election loss rather than on the deaths occurring on his watch -- or the tortured effort on Capitol Hill to give aid to Americans hurt by the pandemic. (Zachary B. Wolf, 12/17)
It’s OK To Be Sad For COVID Christmas. Who Isn’t Depressed?
Christmas COVID depression came up the other day when I went to the doctor for a flu shot and politely asked the nurse: When will we get in line for the big coronavirus vaccine? I mean, after the politicians get their vaccines, because they’re politicians and so important. “That hasn’t been determined,” said the nurse, typing something into her computer, not really listening. But then she stopped and gave me one of those serious looks over the rims of her glasses, eyebrows up. “Have you had any feelings of depression lately?” she asked. (John Kass, 12/17)
The Washington Post:
'Sound Of Metal' Is The Most Comforting Movie Of 2020
“Sound of Metal” is a movie about providing that kind of deeper solace. It’s the rare film that is defined by its characters’ profound kindnesses to each other, even when they make difficult decisions or face serious disagreements. When Ruben’s (Riz Ahmed) hearing fails suddenly while he’s on tour with his bandmate and partner, Lou (Olivia Cooke), she is willing to sacrifice the sense of security she gets from being with him to get Ruben to a sober living community for deaf people. There, Joe (an astonishingly good Paul Raci) is gentle and patient with Ruben as he struggles to “learn to be Deaf” and to adapt to a community that has come together around the idea that deafness is not a disability or a flaw to be corrected, but a source of a unique and valuable culture. Ruben eventually discovers the joy of teaching, connecting with deaf students at an affiliated school. (Alyssa Rosenberg, 12/18)
Los Angeles Times:
Helping Chronically Homeless People Requires New Laws
We see them every day. They are people like C, a woman in her mid-50s who has for years lived mostly in the parking lot of a Hollywood mall. She suffers from untreated, severe psychotic illness as well as from diabetes and hypertension. She spends much of her time talking to herself angrily and screaming profanities at passersby. Unfortunately, trapped by her profound sickness, she has resisted repeated attempts by L.A. County’s mental health workers to connect her with care and housing. (Jonathan Sherin and Henry Stern, 12/18)