Is ‘psychopathy’ inherently an ableist slur? No. The works of Robert Hare and Kent Kiehl, among others, have shown repeatedly that the neurology of those classified as psychopaths is different than those that merely have Antisocial Personality Disorder. The areas of the brain controlling affective empathy, impulse control, and emotional memory are different in these individuals. Furthermore, the classification tool, the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised, measures facets of an individual that are not currently modeled by the DSM’s criteria. Not everyone that is ASPD has psychopathy, for instance. Why then are so many keen on inhibiting the use of a term that has such potential for determining the neurology and behavior of a class of individuals that are only finally beginning to be understood? Why are social-justice types so enamored with the thought of silencing a group that needs to be heard? It is all misguided and rooted in the politically correct atmosphere of the day. Rather than embracing multiculturalism, which these types claim to champion, they render mute a demographic that badly needs to be researched.
This post goes into great detail as to how psychopathy differs from ASPD. The DSM should not be considered the end-all be-all of scientific research as it is rooted in kickbacks (nearly 70% of DSM contributors received contributions from pharmaceutical companies according to the book, Murderous Minds) and attempts to completely account for a space of mental conditions that may not be easily exhausted. With that in mind, shouldn’t the curious individual be accommodating to a classification that explains what another one does not? The term may be used in a non-scientific way in the media, but we cannot erase the academic push to understand this condition simply because some may use the word improperly.
This is not an issue of reclamation. This is not a question of political correctness. By refusing to acknowledge that psychopaths exist and that they are different than those simply with ASPD, any hope for understanding a complicated subdemographic is lost. We would not attempt to lump in the experiences of various ethnicities or racial groups together, so why do we wish to do the same with mental disorders? This is essentially what is happening in the name of being politically correct. Leave well enough alone.