I think this country has come a long way, in just the past 20 years. Just 20 years ago (well within my lifetime), most Americans were opposed to gays and their rights. Now the reverse is true. But I still think we have a long way to go. I’ll give you one example.
Gay jokes. Even the most avid supporters of gay rights use them. Let me go into some detail of what I mean. People sometimes joke (in various ways) that they are gay. Then everyone has a good laugh, and that is the end of it. But should it be?
If someone jokes about being African American, and everyone laughed, we’d call them a racist. If someone joke they were Jewish, and everyone had a good laugh, we’d say they were antisemitic. So why is it okay for gays?
I can already hear some of you saying, Where do you see this happening? Oh, everywhere. I think it still is socially acceptable. But please, feel free to prove me wrong, even about this.
And then there is mental illness. It is the one disability you can still laugh at. And people use all kinds of derogatory terms, to describe these people. Loonies, crazies, demented, madmen. I am sure you will agree with at least this point. My father was mentally ill. And when I send letters or post comments, complaining about this, people say I am way too sensitive. Really? You can’t use derogatory words when speaking of the Irish, the Italians, the Germans, etc., even when they do something bad or noteworthy. Not good enough? Okay, then, let me put it this way. What if a mentally retarded person committed a crime? Would the media be justified in calling him a “retard”? I hope you see my point.
Most mentally ill are not violent. But I do agree, you usually only get the derogatory words for mentally ill, when they are reporting on a crime they did. I think it still is unacceptable, though, for the examples I just cited.
What do the rest of you think:)?