We no longer talk about 'the' Jews. So why do we talk about 'the' mentally ill?
Here is an excerpt from Harold A Maio's article:
"English is not a complicated language. The rules for prejudice are rigid and clear, regularly practised against a "this" or a "that", which changes with time. The techniques do not change; the target does.
"The" Jews. One has no difficulty pinpointing where that metaphor rose, or fell to its lowest. The industrialised murder of "the" Jews is taught in about every culture, we are aware of the effect of reducing a group to a "the", and how far someone can take it. I address the form not the incidence.
Presently popular worldwide is "the" mentally ill, a replica of "the" Jews. It is seldom recognised. In 2008 all nine US supreme court justices agreed "the" mentally ill existed. I shuddered; the US went silent. The entire country went dark and did not notice. An alley expression had reached the height of the US supreme court and journalism fell silent, neither seeing it, nor wanting to. Not just in the US, but worldwide. It is one of the prejudices I track worldwide on the net. I respond to each example."