Mare, as you noted above, racists are not born morally defective. I was not implying that racism as a mental illness is hereditary in a genetic sense. I was saying that racism is an ideology that is handed down generation after generation, and that the actions required to perpetuate it are abuse.
You rightly note that racists are bred by child abuse and the poison you speak of is the deceit that they were fed. That is child abuse. Truly intelligent and empathetic individuals, once exposed to more accurate information, can break that cycle as you have observed.
While I can empathize with your concern that identifying racism as a mental health issue is dangerous, I have yet to see a better way to address the issue. In every case I have observed where there is an act of aggression, violent or otherwise, precipitated by racist ideology I see signs of mental illness. Propaganda and abuse go hand in hand. In order to be perpetuated, racism requires child abuse and the mental illnesses that follow.
My goal, for years now, has been to identify and understand the lowest common denominator as the cause of racism. Now I’m not saying your wrong, I’m just saying that I disagree with you on this point because I have not seen a better way to frame the issue. If you have one, please show me. I will listen.