"What’s the difference between a cultural or political belief and a delusion? Who are you going to ask, a Democrat or Republican congressperson? In Oklahoma it seems to depend upon whether or not the person who holds a belief that disagrees with someone else’s also happens to have an admitted or recognized mental illness, no matter how it was acquired. No mental illness = cultural belief (say, God’s gonna call Oral Roberts home if he doesn’t get that money). Mental illness = automatic delusion. So if you deal with depression or PTSD due to the experience of past involuntary violence, like a rape, tornado or car wreck, be careful who you talk to and disagree with.
For example, one of the white grad students in our Department had come back from Malawi in Africa with a black African wife, after a stint in the Peace Corps, or something like. He told of having black children flee from him in a terror that he would catch them and eat them. And how in her culture, cats are considered demonic creatures with no bones. One time, he said, they were visiting in this country and a kitten crawled up on her lap. She swatted it across the room. She was a nice woman, not the kind of woman to go hunting other people’s pets, but could not tolerate that kitten upon her body.
In Oklahoma, a habitual liar with a grudge could simply claim that his wife had threatened her cats, and that the liar was afraid his wife would attack her as well. Then, under the Oklahoma Mental Health Code, the Tulsa Police and the local community mental health emergency service would be only too willing to forgo any investigation beyond consulting the liar, and happy to drag her off to a local Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services facility. Where State counselors and psychiatrists would be only too happy to declare her paranoid, delusional and unfit to run her own life, without their special care in an involuntary commitment. With which the local mental health court would be only too pleased to agree.
All because she grew up in a different culture, had different experiences from theirs, and ran afoul of someone willing to make false charges. So here’s an important question, can State psychiatrists in State facilities tell the difference between a delusion and a cultural belief, or is it just their cultural belief that they can? "