Why it’s a problem: This NPR piece starts with a poignant segment on Patient O, the individual who was initially accused of spreading AIDS in North America during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. However, the closing segment is almost absurd as the authors interview a man who identifies as a psychopath, aka someone who lives with antisocial personality disorder. Psychopathy is a strange choice of identity to do a segment on stigma for a number of reasons. Firstly, the interviewee has done some pretty horrible things in his life, which he attributes to his psychopathy. Secondly, although psychopaths can certainly experience discrimination, it’s arguable whether they are a stigmatized group given that they are overly represented in places of power, including politics, finance, and law enforcement. As James H. Fallon, a neuroscientist at the University of California Irvine, and a self-declared psychopath, describes in his book, The Psychopath Inside, psychopaths often possess traits that are highly valued in American culture, especially in competitive and high pressure fields like medicine. It’s curious that the authors chose not to interview someone with borderline personality disorder instead, which is very stigmatized, especially in women. It’s reasonable to assume that the authors went with the most sensational, clickbaity angle.


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