Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Do Geraldine Ferraro's Comments About Obama Reflect "Racism" or Extreme Color-Aroused Disorder (ECA)?

Geraldine Ferraro has left Hillary Clinton's Finance Committee after saying, "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position" of beating Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. The Washington Post reports her saying:

"I am stepping down from your finance committee so I can speak for myself and you can continue to speak for yourself about what is at stake in this campaign," Ferraro wrote. "The Obama campaign is attacking me to hurt you. I won't let that happen." She signed the note, "Gerry."

Ferraro was the vice presidential nominee on the Democratic ticket in 1984. In what has become only the latest controversy involving provocative remarks by Democratic surrogates, Ferraro said "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Rather than ask if Geraldine Ferraro’s comments about Barack Obama were “racist”, I prefer to ask whether they were reflective of Extreme Color Aroused Disorder (ECA). Do Ferraro’s comments constitute color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior and, if so, do her ideation, emotion and behavior rise to the level of "extreme"?

Well, let's ask ourselves the following questions in order to make a layman's judgment as to whether she needs psychiatric evaluation for ECA:

Is skin color the focus of her comment?

Is the perception of another’s skin color the cue or impetus that aroused Ferraro to have the ideation and emotion that she expressed? Of course, the answer is yes.

Did Ferraro’s skin-color-based ideation and emotion prevent her from seeing things as they are? Virtually everyone agrees that they did.

Did her color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior impair her in one or more significant areas of her life? Well, it certainly made it impossible for her to continue on Clinton’s Finance Committee and it has made her the laughing-stock of most of the Democratic Party, permanently damaging her reputation. This, in my layman’s opinion, makes her ideation, emotion and resulting self-destructive and antagonistic behavior “extreme.”

In addition, she made the same remarks about Jesse Jackson twenty years ago, so it is apparent that this thought process, the emotions and expressive behavior are of the sufficiently longstanding nature typical of a diagnosable mental disorder.

So, it doesn’t matter whether we can determine whether her thoughts are “racist”, which nobody can define with any precision anyway. We have already determined, at least to our own satisfaction, that Ferraro’s remarks were aroused by the skin color cue and reflect ideation and emotion that are distorted by her perception of, and reaction to, the skin-color of another person. That's a mental illness, if the facts are as reported and the symptoms are as extreme as they are reported to be.

She seems to me to be suffering from Extreme Color-Arousal Disorder (ECA), and I think she needs a psychiatric evaluation.

We should all take ECA very seriously, because some people who show symptoms of ECA subsequently kill a dozen people in their workplace based on their skin color and the skin color of their associates.

Francis L. Holland, Esq.
Editor, The American Journal of Color Arousal (AmJCA)