Recently my news feed has been showing me stories about Roseanne tweeting a racist remark. What I want to talk about briefly, though, is Jimmy Kimmel’s tweet in response to the backlash on Roseanne.
“What @TheRealRoseanne said is indefensible, but angrily attacking a woman who is not well does no good for anyone. Please take a breath and remember that mental health issues are real. The Roseanne I know could probably use some compassion and help right now. – Kimmel”
I am disappointed in Kimmel’s response, racism is not a mental illness and by clumping them together he is giving further ammo to those who already stigmatize mental illness.
Why is it that every time something bad happens in the news, someone tries to blame it on mental illness?
I know a lot of people with varying mental health related diagnoses and none of them have turned racist even while at their most symptomatic. Perhaps she would not have tweeted at all had she not taken her Ambien, which was what she seems to be using as her defense, but that does not mean that she is not responsible. A medication may have made her less afraid to tweet her opinion, which exists independently of any mental illness she may have. When someone is intoxicated they are held responsible for the things they do, DUIs are a great example, and this tweet is no different.
So, please, Jimmy Kimmel, don’t drag mental illness into the mix. You are causing further stigma to a community that does not deserve it.