lundi, janvier 23, 2012
SOAP and SOPA: why are learning disability jokes considered "funny"?
Why is it o.k. to mock folks with dyslexia and other learning disabilities?
Last week, as most of you know, portions of the Internet went dark, and many other sites lit up with outrage over the projected (now probably dead) Stop Online Piracy Act.
No sooner did this happen, but folks began to post SOPA "humor."
For some reason (I can speculate, but I won't, at least not here) that included a raft of dyslexia jokes.
Here's a link to one: http://www.funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/3048453/dyslexic+SOPA/
These are probably people (I don't know them, but I'd guess), who probably trend politically correct otherwise, and would never dream of making jokes about blacks, Jews or Catholics.
Why does this stuff seem funny to thousands of readers out in Internet land?
I'll admit my bias right up front. My family is riddled with learning disabilities. And as a left-handed, near-sighted, math-challenged nerd, I've got some myself.
But I also watched my brother struggle for years with his disabilities.
I'm observing my daughter try to work with a large working memory deficit now.
And it doesn't seem funny to me, somehow. It's painful. So perhaps I'm more sensitive to not offending people with this kind of challenge.
I have my own prejudices, and I'm not proud. One is that I think that there are a lot of dumb people out there -- but I suspect, that if I get to know some of them, they might not seem as stupid as I think they are.
I'm an elitist -- a sometimes ashamed elitist.
I have a great group of FB friends -- by and large, they almost never post anything remotely offensive.
But if you know of other people might unknowingly be causing pain by passing along an email, or posting Internet snark -- please consider asking them to exercise a little compassion.
After all, empathy is only a word until you use it.