The Naked and the Damned: Williams College Places Black Queer Feminist Kai M. Green on Medical Leave
Dr. Kai M. Green of Williams College
is away on medical leave. She has
reported on her own psychotic
breakdown in her Facebook profile.
Based on Dr. Green's published Facebook report, I'm quite confident in asserting that she is suffering from a chronic form of delusional disorder. Those delusions got so far out of hand in November 2018 that she feared her department chair, Alison Case, was out to "assassinate" her. It makes perfect sense to me that Dr. Green is on medical leave right now.
Apparently, dealing with Kai Green's mental illness has been taxing for everyone around her. As of December 2018, Case is no longer the department chair. This position has been taken over by Gregory Mitchell.
It took me a while to figure out why Kai Green's friend, another black, queer feminist, Dr. Kimberly Love was also placed on medical leave. A lot of this only makes sense if we understand that Dr. Green and Dr. Love are a couple sharing the same home. In this context, it was reasonable for the college to give Dr. Love medical leave too because she is caring for Dr. Green. I don't see any evidence that Dr. Love is psychotic.
Given the desire of the college to keep two gay black female professors on board for affirmative action reasons, it makes sense that Dr. Love, as a contributor at Ephblog said, "was put on medical leave after she didn’t show up to class as that was probably the only way to give her a chance and not terminate her employment."
Dr. Kai M. Green shows off the scars from
her top surgery in this cover photo from
No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black
The problem here is that some of the obsessions contained in Kai Green's delusional disorder match up with a prevailing ideological perspective which asserts that black, trans, queer feminists are living in an unhealthy (supposedly violent) environment. As she writes: "My biggest fear, I learned is to be considered crazy. But I have no choice in this world full of a crazy that is not of my own making--Racial Capitalism." In addition, the student activists are seeking to spin this profound and potentially life-threatening mental health crisis as a heroic effort by Green and Love to fight back against the oppression they face as assistant professors at the school.
Maybe it would help the leftist students more accurately frame this situation as a genuine mental health crisis if we called to their attention the ideas contained in Kai M. Green's delusional disorder which are unrelated to politics. For example, she has also reported that...
- She had a delusion that there was a new restaurant in Williamstown that served curry goat.
- She had a delusion that "Lil Kai" had been murdered by the police.
- She had a similar delusion that her "lil cousin Mekhi" had died instead of "Lil Kai."
- While experiencing this psychotic episode, she reports, she "started taking my clothes off piece by piece, so by the time I got to the Clark I was completely naked."
- While under arrest, she believed the song she was singing was a "magic spell that would unlock the cuffs."
The larger issue, for me, is that we aren't doing troubled individuals any favors when we sign off on their delusions and enable them to take drastic and irreversible actions in pursuit of them.
It is particularly horrifying when society adopts dysfunctional beliefs that encourage the mentally ill to engage in brutal self-mutilation or poison themselves with inappropriate hormone treatments. No one who truly understands the elaborate maintenance needed to keep a pseudo vagina healthy could ever recommend that a man ought to do that to himself.
Likewise, the ugly details of removing a woman's breasts (top surgery), ovaries and womb (bottom surgery) should really be weighed before suggesting this procedure to anyone. By the way, I don't think any sane woman would consider it a bright idea to undergo a bottom surgery that included phalloplasty. As they say: "The long term success rates of implants in constructed penises are lower than the success rates of reconstruction in men born with penises. Good sensation in the reconstructed penis can help reduce the risk of the implant eventually eroding through the skin." Yeah, there's always that...
Protecting the jobs and security of individuals who understand, and speak out about, the life-threatening severity of Kai Green's mental illness should be a top priority of anyone who supports freedom of speech at Williams College. The sane should not surrender our leadership or power to those who agonize over imaginary murders or sing to unlock their very real handcuffs.
John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.