The Back Road: The strange case of Dr. Aruna Khilanani

The Back Road: The strange case of Dr. Aruna Khilanani

Andrew Malekoff

I first read about psychiatrist Aruna Khilanani’s (Dr. K) violent, race-based fantasies in the New York Post, the modern-day incarnation of the old National Enquirer – a literary form of entertainment and titillation, at best.

In the 1960s the Enquirer sucked readers in with stories of paranormal happenings, medical anomalies, freaks of nature, political scandal and celebrity gossip.

The New York Post was founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton, who I imagine had a vastly different vision than that of today’s publisher Rupert Murdoch.

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Who can forget the 1983 classic, “Headless Body Found in Topless Bar?” Some consider it to be the greatest headline in New York newspaper history.

After reading about Dr. K’s speech to an audience of Yale medical students in the Post, I decided to look further for a more reliable source. I found a June 5 piece in Newsweek magazine that did confirm the Post’s reporting.

In the Newsweek story, Dr. K was quoted as telling the aspiring doctors that, “I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a f***ing favor.”

To be fair, I reached out to the good doctor on Twitter to get her comment on the matter. I tweeted, “As a fellow MH [mental health] professional, I’m trying 2 understand the purpose of you sharing your homicidal fantasy. To express your rage? What good do you expect to come of it? I’m a white guy. I’ve been one for 70 years now. Would you like to unload a round into my head?”

Although she has yet to respond, she posted a TikTok video on her Twitter account (@arun_khilanani). In the video recording Dr. K complains about a disclaimer against violent hate speech that the Yale School of Medicine put out in which they stated “how violent my talk was.”

Replying to her objection with Yale’s disclaimer, Minerva Doll @wasclywabit tweeted, “Something tells me she knows she is wrong to tweet about murdering people for their skin color.”

JMP @soyismurder responded to Minerva, “She was just being dramatic. I chalk it up to frustration . . . diagnosing an entire race is psychopathic. This destroys any credibility she might have.”

To which Minerva Doll tweeted back to JMP, “She is far worse than dramatic. She’s an arrogant psychopath who thinks murdering whites is justified.”

Does she think murdering whites is justified? Was she exaggerating for effect? Was she using hyperbole to graphically describe her rage? Does what she said qualify as hate speech? Was she knowingly or unwittingly inciting violence?

Does systemic racism exist? Most definitely. Did Dr. K have the right to share her fantasies with her audience? Of course. Do they constitute hate speech?

It takes only simple common sense to know that publicly sharing such deranged fantasies constitutes hate speech and serves to lay a foundation for violence.

Words do matter Dr. K. I suggest you choose them more wisely in the future.

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