Yet, I am still alive

A friend and collaborator took this picture as I got
into character to rehearse a theatrical piece.

My friend snapped this shot as I danced and spoke
my lines.

In fact, I was switching into character, though no one
in my circle of friends knew what that was.

It was a dark time in America, but one goes on with life.

This is a journal entry from the day of that shot:

July 16, 1987

It is July and I am still alive.

The AIDS epidemic is in its sixth year and those six years have passed slowly and cruelly. I had hoped that AIDS would fade like a fad, but it is still around and killing, and the fact that a reactionary movement has gained momentum by openly discussing it as a form of divine retribution sickens me to my core.

Thank God for Joni Mitchell.

I’ve lived so long without a future that the thought of having one terrifies me.

Yet, I am still alive.

And I intend to stay alive.

(c) Rob Goldstein 1987-2017

Do you have Draptomania?

An irrational desire for freedom is a symptom of draptomania in people of color.

Screenshot of whites only sign in some God forsaken part of the United States
Drapetomania and over-indulgent whites cause people of color to want equality.


Symptoms of drapetomania:

You feel sulky and dissatisfied without cause.

You have a perverse desire for freedom and equality

You suffer a sense of mental alienation in your God
given place as a slave.

You believe you’re as human as any White man.

You abscond from service

In 1850, Doctor Samuel Cartwright, slave doctor from New Orléans,
described a sickness that only affects slaves.

He called it drapetomania: a pathological wish for freedom.

Dr. Cartwright said Negros are ordered by God to live as slaves
to the White man.

He wrote in In Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race that
the Bible commands that a slave be submissive to his master.

When a slave knows and takes his rightful place in the World he is happy
and healthy and unwilling to run away; White man’s burden is keeping
slaves in their happy place.

“If the white man attempts to oppose the Deity’s will, by trying to make the negro anything else than “the submissive knee-bender” (which the Almighty declared he should be), by trying to raise him to a level with himself, or by putting himself on an equality with the negro; the negro will run away.Wikipedia

According to my experience, the “genu flexit”–the awe and reverence, must be exacted from them, or they will despise their masters, become rude and ungovernable, and run away. On Mason and Dixon’s line, two classes of persons were apt to lose their negroes: those who made themselves too familiar with them, treating them as equals, and making little or no distinction in regard to color; and, on the other hand, those who treated them cruelly, denied them the common necessaries of life, neglected to protect them against the abuses of others, or frightened them by a blustering manner of approach, when about to punish them for misdemeanors. Before the negroes run away, unless they are frightened or panic-struck, they become sulky and dissatisfied. The cause of this sulkiness and dissatisfaction should be inquired into and removed, or they are apt to run away or fall into the negro consumption. When sulky and dissatisfied without cause, the experience of those on the line and elsewhere, was decidedly in favor of whipping them out of it, as a preventive measure against absconding, or other bad conduct.

It was called whipping the devil out of them.

Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race, by Dr. Cartwright


Re-processed digitized image scanned from an oil painting by Eastman Johnson, A Ride for Liberty, The Fugitive Slaves
A Ride for Liberty – The Fugitive Slaves

The good doctor also prescribed chopping off a big toe.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santayana




Modern American Psychiatry

Art by Rob Goldstein
Modern American Psychiatry

Joni Mitchell live at Wells Fargo Theater, Los Angeles
Community Audio