With a foreword by Dwight Turner.
This powerful and disturbing book draws direct comparisons between the plight and fates of African slaves, dehumanised and discarded to sanitise Britain’s trade in human lives and imperial ambitions, and the systemic ‘othering’ of people designated ‘mad’ throughout Western history. Drawing on contemporary historical records, Barham recounts, often in their own words, the stories of black people incarcerated in Kingston, Jamaica’s lunatic asylum, poor white women similarly ejected into the British psychiatric system in the early 20th century for failing to live up to class and gender norms, and most shockingly, black men who have died at the hands of the police and mental health nurses in state custody and psychiatric detention. Endemic racism, greed, cruelty, exploitation and social control are writ large across this account that demands to be read by all those concerned for human rights, mad rights, Black lives and truth-telling about Britain’s shameful colonial past and racist present.
This book is hugely ambitious, hugely provocative and brilliant. For Peter Barham, madness is no side issue; he is talking about White supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism... Black people will want to read this book because it is grounded in the Black experience, and White people will want to read it too. All mad lives matter. Colin Prescod, former Chair, Institute of Race Relations
At a time when the country is grappling with imperial nostalgia, fascism ideation and the impact of their consequent anti-blackness on the bodies and minds of people racialised as black, Outrageous Reason is a crucial undertaking. Not only to better understand their deadly intersections but also to imagine alternative forms of care. Guilaine Kinouani, radical psychologist and author of White Minds.