Bigotry towards Psychics: Why it is No Different to Racism and Homophobia

I’ve been planning on writing an article like this for some time and was finally inspired to actually do so by coming across what I can only describe as a shocking piece of bigotry and hate speech from this article from the Guardian -

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree...

The article was published in December 2006 and seems to have either gone unnoticed or people have passed by without complaint. Which I find a little disturbing, and it also speaks volumes about our current culture, in which bigotry towards psychics, mediums and other people involved in New Age or occult practices is still socially acceptable.

Guardian writer Julie Bindel was taken to task for allegedly transphobic comments, but as far as I can tell, there appears to have been no criticism of the prejudice in Charlie Brooker’s article.

Let’s go through some of the pertinent (and most disgusting) comments:

Article’s title: “When it comes to psychics, my stance is hardcore: they must die alone in windowless cells.”

Need I say more? I’ve seen people advocate better treatment for mass murderers.

Brooker openly calls for all psychics and mediums to be placed in jail – “I think every psychic and medium in this country belongs in prison. Even the ones demented enough to believe in what they’re doing. In fact, especially them. Give them windowless cells and make them crap in buckets.”

He then goes on to disaparage people who believe in psychics, grudgingly admitting that they have the right to believe what they want, but calling them “dangerous idiots.”

In my opinion, it’s Mr Brooker who more properly qualifies as a “dangerous idiot”.

Brooker is calling for the oppression and marginalisation of a group of people, a minority group who are different, a group that is outside what is considered “normal” or “mainstream”. Why? Because he *believes* they are all either fraudulent or mentally ill.

Well, there are also people out there who “believe” that all gay people are either fraudulent or mentally ill. That way of thinking may, thankfully, be less prevalent than it used to be, but it still, sadly, exists. Some people, for example think that gay people “make themselves gay” for show (which covers the fraudulent part), others believe that homosexuality is some kind of mental illness that needs to be treated.

See the similarity? If someone proposed (due to their beliefs) that all gay people be herded into prison, there would justifiably be an outcry and a storm of criticism. But when someone suggests the same thing of psychics and mediums, we have silence.

I agree that genuinely fraudulent psychics are a problem and perhaps some sort of jail sentence would be an appropriate punishment. But there is a huge difference between saying that genuinely fraudulent psychics should face the long arm of the law and saying that *all* psychics and mediums belong in prison.

Many psychics and mediums (in my opinion the majority) are quite genuine and sincere in what they do. They honestly believe they have an ability and their objective is to comfort people and help with the grieving process. They want people to be comforted by the fact that their loved ones still exist and that they will one day be reunited.

Even Brooker admits that not all psychics and mediums are frauds and that there are those who “believe in what they are doing.” (Brooker calls them “demented” – charming!) If they believe they have the ability then, regardless of whether or not they actually have it, they are not fraudulent, and therefore are not guilty of any crime. Yet Brooker still advocates sending these individuals to prison. “Even the ones demented enough to believe in what they’re doing. In fact, especially them.”

Let’s just think about this for a minute.

If Brooker believes these people are mentally ill, why is he saying they should go to prison and live amongst criminals? Shouldn’t he be encouraging sympathy and empathy instead? Shouldn’t he be advocating help for these people, rather than imprisonment? Shouldn’t he be calling for humane treatment instead? Are mental illness and self-delusion crimes now?

Silly me for thinking that the appropriate way to treat the mentally ill (or those thought to be mentally ill) is to show compassion, tolerance and to offer services that can help them. I suppose Brooker and his ilk think they should all be rounded up and placed in jail cells (or possibly concentration camps?)

Not only is Brooker displaying hate and bigotry against psychics and mediums, he’s also demonstrating how heartless he is to people he considers to be mentally unwell. Not only is he a bigot, but he has no compassion to boot.

There is also good evidence (including scientific evidence) to suggest that some paranormal phenomena exist and that some psychics and mediums have a genuine ability. Instead of calling for their persecution, perhaps Brooker’s time could be better spent reading some of the large body of research that has been conducted for over a century.

And that’s exactly what Brooker is calling for. He’s saying that *all* psychics and mediums in the country should be in prison. Not just some, not just the ones that are actually fraudulent, but *all* people calling themselves psychics or mediums. He’s encouraging the persecution and oppression of a minority group. He’s also demonising people who believe in psychics and calling them “dangerous”. Hmmm, remind you of other people who like to label gay people or people of different races as “dangerous”?

It’s no different to racism or homophobia in my opinion. The reason I think this is because I believe that psychic ability, such as clairvoyance, is a natural ability that people are born with. I think everyone has the potential to develop these skills, and that some people are born with a more “natural” ability for it. Rather like someone can learn to be a painter, but others are natural painters, who need little coaching or education.

I think people are naturally imbued with psychic ability (or the potential to develop it) and in that sense it’s no different to the race someone is born into, or the sexuality someone is born with. They didn’t choose it – they were born that way. So bigotry against psychics and mediums is no different to racism or homophobia, in my opinion, and it’s equally as disgusting. The difference is, that racism and homophobia are no longer so socially acceptable. But, as the lack of criticism of this article attests, bigotry against psychics and mediums largely is still socially acceptable.

If someone wrote an article for the Guardian stating that all non-white people belong in prison, or that all gay people belong in prison, it would quite rightly cause outrage. But because the target was psychics and mediums, there was nothing.

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emlong's picture
Member since:
18 September 2007
Last activity:
4 hours 15 min

Very well put. The culture of fascism is growing steadily everywhere, and this is but one more example of it.

alanborky's picture
Member since:
29 January 2009
Last activity:
30 weeks 1 day

You said it mate!

This's a resurgence of a period only a few years back when various well known sceptical types were frequently prone to declaring online how happy they'd be to personally carry out lobotomies on anyone who dared to admit they'd seen a flying saucer the ghost of their granny Nessie Bigfoot etc etc.

Saying that quite a few TV critics seemed to say they'd quite happily do the same thing to Charlie Brooker and much else besides for writing Black Mirror.

In the end though it's all about fear.

Tap's picture
Member since:
6 April 2012
Last activity:
15 weeks 1 day

Wow, Alan. Is that hyperbole "declaring online how happy they'd be to personally carry out lobotomies" or did people actually say that?

If they feel that people who have these sorts of experience should have to undergo lobotomies, how is that any different to homophobes insisting that gay people need some sort of treatment? It wasn't so long ago that that was a widespread view - even people who were tolerant and sympathetic to gay people generally thought of it as some kind of illness.

I imagine many of these anti-mystic, anti-occultist people consider themselves proponents of gay rights. (Which shows that even horrible bigoted people can have some good points.) But if they consider the history of attitudes to homosexuality, can't they see that their attitude to psychics, mediums, mystics, New Agers and all kinds of people having anomalous experiences, mirrors, in many ways, old-fashioned attitudes to homosexuality. Homosexuals are a minority whose experiences are, all the same, natural. Can't they at least consider that practicing psychics and mediums are a minority whose experiences are also natural?

TomHunter's picture
Member since:
3 September 2013
Last activity:
1 year 2 weeks

Skippy posted this on the Mind-Energy forum;

http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-po...

I did a further look around at Skippy's posts. She has a darker side as she wrote this;

"Perhaps. I can't explain *why* some rape/forced videos sexually excite me, they just do. I think I'm possibly stimulated by the idea of a dominant man, perhaps. But of course, one can enjoy dominance in porn without looking at the rape/forced category."

August 9th, 2013, 12:49 PM in the ***The Skeptiko Random Stuff Thread***

http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-po...

So Skippy/Tap you in your spare time are obviously a porn addict and you watch illegal rape videos. This is immoral and perverted. Everything on the internet is trackable, you should be more careful about what you write on the internet. I also find it contradictory that you are trying to play moral ground and attacking homophobes but you are not better yourself you watch rape videos.

You have also written other sick comments. Skippy/Tap wrote;

"I also am somewhat turned on by husbands and boyfriends cheating. (Although I'd hate such a thing to happen to me in real life, of course.) But when it comes to porn and sexual stimulation, a man who plays the field can be a real turn on!"

http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-po...

She's written other perverted comments as well. Just look at the threads. Do you not see contradiction in your online behaviour?

You also admitted on the Mind-Energy forum to being drunk on occasion, so you are not a moral or spiritual person.

Tap's picture
Member since:
6 April 2012
Last activity:
15 weeks 1 day

Well, Tom, I don't see how my tastes in pornography and my enjoying getting drunk occasionally have any bearing on this post.

I can only assume you are trying to call into question my character. You are free to disapprove of my interests if you wish, but I don't think you are assessing me fairly at all.

Firstly, I am not a "porn addict", nowhere near. It is not often that I watch pornography, I probably only do so about twice a month. Not much of an "addiction", is it?

I also see nothing immoral or un-spiritual about liking to get drunk on occasion. It's not as though I'm an alcoholic or regular binge drinker. I'm still young. I like to go out and party and drink sometimes. What's wrong with that?

As for my tastes in pornography, well, they may seem strange to you, but I don't think it's something "dark" on my part. I'm far from the only one who is stimulated by such things. Also, are "forced" videos on porn sites illegal? I'm not aware of that.

TomHunter's picture
Member since:
3 September 2013
Last activity:
1 year 2 weeks

Anyone watching pornography is immoral. Pornography has broken up many marriages and relationships. It is false lust and perversion it takes people away from spiritual discipline and love. Only true love can be found in the real world between man and woman not on the computer screen. We live in a sexually degenerate age. I believe God is real but even if God is not real, Id rather go to my grave knowing I wasn't a pervert! How do people sleep at night after knowing they have degenerated themselves by watching filth? Morals mean something to me. It is not possible to develop any kind of spiritual connection, meditation, prayer etc with pornographic images damaging your mind. If you need help, I suggest signing this pledge;

http://www.nopornpledge.com/

Take care.

emlong's picture
Member since:
18 September 2007
Last activity:
4 hours 15 min

Is this a joke post?

Tap's picture
Member since:
6 April 2012
Last activity:
15 weeks 1 day

I appreciate your concern, Tom, as you appear sincere to me. I'm afraid we just fundamentally disagree on this issue. I understand that you feel it's immoral, and I respect your position, I just don't think that way myself.

But thank you for your advice.