Friday, October 26, 2012

[mea culpa]

I would like to confess my prejudices which are known to me:

The other day I heard the mental health hotline joke, which someone read from the web. It starts like this:

You have reached the mental health hotline.
If you have obsessive compulsive disorder, press 1 repeatedly.
If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2 for you.
If you have multiple personality disorder, press 3, 4, 5, and 6.
and so on...
Then when they got to the line about dyslexia, I thought to myself, how would someone who has dyslexia feel about this? And only later did I ask myself, why didn't I ask myself that when I heard the line about OCD or co-dependency or MPD? Is it okay to make fun of people with mental health issues but not those with learning challenges? It seems that part of me at least partly thinks so some of the time (I say some of the time because if someone was actively and agressively making fun of someone with a mental illness, I would of course object. But many of our prejudices are more subtle in how they show their face).

I came across an interesting article called Everything I Need to Know About Hospitality, I Learned from Molly Weasley which I was going to share on Facebook. I clicked on the author's name to read other articles she had written, and discovered that she is Mormon. And then I became reluctant to share the article.

In thinking about this, I determined that if the author was Jewish I would not have hesitated, and probably not either if she was Muslim. So why hesitate because she's Mormon?
Finally, I realize that I have prejudices against a particular ethnic group. I would be okay interacting with an individual from that group, but that I hold misperceptions or stereotypes about that group. Some of this may have come from the Winnipeg neighbourhood where I lived during childhood, where there were many people from this group and where it bothered me that many of the men drove a particular sporty car (no, not a Lamborghini :-) while their families lived in run-down houses. I don't think there is a problem in being concerned about how people use their money, but retrospectively, I think that I judged them for it and that I did not understand the importance of the cars in their particular culture.

How about you? In what ways are you prejudiced against others?

Where's the line between friendly joking about something and hurtful joking?


  1. ... And does putting it into a blog make it suddenly okay?

    I sometimes wonder about this too. My work has a program of "diversity" and with all that isn't allowed, I sometimes wonder if I am actually allowed to be "for-something" or rather as long as I am not "against something" I can work there. The whole thing is to say 'don't step on any bodies toes', but Christ came to promote a higher calling than just that. Someone is sleeping around? They are just being 'Diverse'. Someone promoting someone who isn't qualified, but they are a different racial background? They are just being 'Diverse'. And you better not say you think the Bible might have any truth in it because that isn't being 'Diverse', that is being exclusive.


  2. What's with the 'verify you aren't a robot' thing I have to do when posting a comment? Somebody took grainy photos at a distance, and I have to try and figure out what possible random combination of letters and symbols it is supposed to represent. And some of those symbols aren't on my iPad keyboard? And how come there aren't any characters with umlauts, or at least a 'sharp-s' ß or those awesome n-things in Spanish ñ? No Chinese characters. No Japanese. Not even a single heiroglyphic. I think you need to find a new blog site that is more inclusive.

    Of course then nobody could get past the 'are you a robot' test, but that's not the point - we need to be inclusive, even if that excludes everyone equally.


    1. Dear Anonalex:

      I apologize for the grainy photos. Our photographer is visually impaired (if that's not the right way to express it, I do apologize most sincerely) and we have come to accept grainy photos as part of our daily life as we do not wish to offend her by talking about their graininess. It also gives them a more mystical feeling, which suits our site.

      As for the robots. We have nothing against robots. The "verify" thing isn't really about robots, as most people we know don't allow their robots to go web surfing anyway and if they do, well, robots being what they are, they can get around whatever they want. No, this test is really to keep your Schnauzer and Gabrielle's budgie and everyone else's pet from posting any comments on our blog. Pets might be living beings, but they are NOT people.

      Best regards, etc.

      rob g

  3. But it actually says "robots". Why are you lying to me? I feel so violated!! I once trusted you. And maybe I will again, but right now... I just can't. Okay, I can't. I've said it. And well. Okay, I'm over it. I'll trust you again, but not about robots. Or maybe just not robots with budgies.

    1. I am so so sorry. It really says "robots"??!! I thought you had mentioned that in your previous comment just to cause trouble... but I guess I was wrong. It really says robots, eh?

      Those website developers messed up again -- it was supposed to say "prove to us you are not a rabbit". Of course, that won't work either 'cuz with all those carrots they eat, rabbits have perfect eyesight and have no problem figuring out the letters and numbers in our grainy photos.

      On a more serious note, I could put in a request to Google to include Egyptian hieroglyphics and other non-English letters into the Captchas. That would certainly reduce the overwhelming number of comments which my blog gets.

      Auf wiedersehn,

      rob g