Toward Extreme Color Arousal Disorder
A Boston, MA police officer, Justin L. Barrett, has been fired after writing an e-mail to a Boston Globe columnist in which he called Harvard University' Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a "banana-eating jungle monkey". Harvard's Professor Gates is also founder of a blog at the Washington Post, called "The Root" that tackles Black and color-associated issues.
Last week, Barrett, the married father of a toddler, sent the e-mail to Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham in response to her July 21 piece about the arrest of Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. Barrett criticized the column, which was sympathetic to Gates and said that Gates had behaved like a “banana-eating jungle monkey’’ when Cambridge police Sergeant James Crowley responded to his home for a report of a break-in. Gates was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct, a charge that was quickly dropped.
Barrett copied the e-mail to several friends and colleagues, including members of the National Guard, where he is a captain. On July 23, the National Guard learned of the e-mail and suspended Barrett pending an investigation to see whether he should be disciplined. He does not face military criminal charges, but the e-mail “violated Army values and policies,’’ said Major James Sahady, a spokesman for the National Guard. The Boston Globe
Officer Barrett's expressed color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior has impaired his ability to function in many areas of his life, including:
- Harming his income and ability to support himself and his family;
- Harming his standing in the law enforcement field;
- Harming his ability to obtain public service work in the future;
- Effectively compelling the Massachusetts National Guard and Boston Police to seek his dismissal in order to avoid potential liability for ratifying his expressive behavior and allowing the creation of a hostile work environment for others.
- Jeopardizing his family relationships by taking color-aroused actions that harm his ability to support his family,
His behavior, even though only one instance of the behavior has come to light, nevertheless extremely impaired Officer Barrett's life and circumstances in several key areas of his life. Therefore, it would be in the best self-interest of Officer Barrett to seek screening, diagnosis and treatment, if needed, for Extreme Color Aroused Disorder (ECAD). Officer Barrett's behavior was inherently "extreme" because it predictably impaired him in various important areas of his life. However, to be considered extreme and disabling for Social Security Disability purposes, it would have to last six months or more.
I would not call officer Barrrett a "racist", because:
(a) The US Government's Human Genome Project has proved that "race" does not exist, and it is therefore impossible for Officer Barrett to hate others based on their "race", and
(b) derogatory layman labels without specific diagnosis criteria and treatment options will not help Officer Barrett, his family, his community, or our country.
Moreover, diagnosing a mental disorder requires competent screening and evaluation by a professional, including a review of past medical and psychiatric records, interviews with the patient, discussions with family members, use of standardized psychiatric assessment tools, etc. Psychiatrists are the professionals who are competent to diagnose mental disorders, not activists, employers, newspaper columnists and members of the public.
And yet all of these laymen have a right to point out behavior that is considered symptomatic of Extreme Color Aroused Disorder and to recommend or require that a person be professionally evaluated before the illness progresses into more serious and even life-threatening behavior.
That said, Officer Barrett's case shows that while one instance of color-aroused behavior may not be sufficient to diagnose a chronic disability for Social Security Disability purposes, which requires six months of disability, still one instance of color-aroused behavior may be sufficient to impair a sufferers life profoundly and in ways that cannnot be undone.
Therefore, it is in the officer's best interest to seek screening, diagnosis and (if indicated) treatment for Extreme Color Aroused Disorder BEFORE the behavior he demonstrated that caused him to lose two jobs simultaneously and to be publicly disavowed by the Boston Police Department escalates into behavior that violates criminal laws, or behavior that might make him liable in civil action, further harming the economic situation of himself and his family.
Yesterday, Boston police held a press conference at headquarters, inviting dozens of black community leaders and members of the police command staff to stand with Commissioner Edward F. Davis as he denounced Barrett’s comments, announced he had moved to fire the officer of two years, and promised a sweeping investigation that would try to uncover whether other officers responded to the e-mail and agreed. Boston GlobeIf such a response by one's employers and members of the community are not enough to warrant a psychaitric evaluation for color-aroused disorder, it would be hard to think of anything (except color-aroused murder) that would be sufficient to show the need for such an evaluation.