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.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).
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...
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?