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Margaret Wente, the race thinker

This Magazine Staff

Margaret Wente has now covered race and its discontents in two consecutive issues of The Globe and Mail. Yesterday in her opinion piece, “Testing, testing, bigot 1-2-3”, she described an outwardly, and unabashedly, prejudiced aunt – a woman who would often have a nasty thing to say about the black people she called “coloureds”. This personal sketch then led itself to a discussion of the implicit racism nearly all people in the modern world betray, at least now and again, and the role it plays in the violence and social dysfunction we can find in some communities. Her piece for today’s issue follows yesterday’s easily and naturally. “Discrimination eats away at you – and increases your chance of mental illness” consists of an interview she conducted with British psychiatrist, Kwame McKenzie. The title, however, is only a partial summary of the their discussion since McKenzie notes a range of issues. He spoke of the fact that people of different ethnicities and cultures may describe mental illnesses differently and how physicians might work to recognize these ways; and the prevalance of certain illness in some communities. The effects of perceived discrimation (racial or otherwise), McKenzie described as being pronounced and even debilitating with various mood disorder potentially arising.
We need a more flexible health-care system consisting of insightful professionals capable of adjusting their methods to suit the needs of their patients. The one-size-fits-all approach will not work in a country as diverse as ours.

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