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Letter: Advocating against sanism

Mental health law scholar professor Michael Perlin has coined the term “sanism” in the context of mental illness and mental disability to refer to, “an irrational prejudice of the same quality and character of other irrational prejudice that cause (and are reflected in) prevailing social attitudes of racism, sexism, homophobia and ethnic bigotry.” According to professor Perlin, sanism “infects both our jurisprudence and our lawyering practices.

Sanism is largely invisible and largely socially acceptable. It is based largely on stereotype, myth, superstition, and deindividualization, and is sustained and perpetuated by our use of alleged ‘ordinary common sense’ and heuristic reasoning in an unconscious response to events both in everyday life and in the legal process.”

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