Why is this ok?

There is a post on Baptist humor which links to a satire of Baptists. The site has an outrageously offensive story about “a miracle baby” that turns out to be a child with down syndrome. I protested the posting of this hate site and the response was 2 other people posted web sites that were cruelly offensive about people with down syndrome.
Then in another thread, Byzantine made an off-hand reference to “Jerry’s kids”
What gives? Are people with disabilites open targets? Why? At least one of these posters has been complaining about discrimination about fat people. Another has had a job that certainly opens her up to criticism. I’ve seen lots of anger on this site about nasty remarks about certain religions like Wiccan or Mormons.
Is laughter so rare and precious that making people with disabilities the butt of jokes and nasty remarks acceptable?
Are these people just mean and vicious or are they subconsciouly afraid that they will be come disabled? What gives?
Are they so stupid they don’t realize how hateful this is?

No, it’s not OK.

Just in case you missed it, Konrad’s bigotry was adressed in a thread that didn’t quite turn out the way he hoped:

In retrospect, I think your way of handling him was better; I think the fact that he was so PO’d by it that he had to go & start a whole 'nother thread about says it all. Keep up the good work.

Sue from El Paso

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Which one of these people is me, and which is Byzantine? I’m not sure. I’ve kept a pretty low profile in the fat people thread, although I have posted two or three times. I wasn’t aware that Byzantine had some sort of interesting job, though.

Mind you, I only posted what I posted because you overreacted so to the original jest in that thread. But I’ll remember now that I can’t say or refer ANYTHING that could contain any small portion of something that would offend anyone.

Pardon me while I get a muzzle and chop my fingers off.

Thanks, Sue–I wasn’t aware of the site.
Miss Drainbead–I would really be interested in your answering the question–Why is it ok to make people with disabilities the butt of humor based on their disability?
Can you answer the question?

Why is it okay to tell blonde jokes? Why is it okay to tell jokes about people of other religions? Why is it okay to tell jokes about Polish people? Why is it okay to tell jokes about homosexuals? I’ve never known a single person on earth who hasn’t told a joke that was offensive to SOMEONE. At least I’ll fully admit that I’m doing it, instead of deluding myself to believe that offending some groups is okay while others are above it.

If there’s ever anything in this world that I can’t laugh at in some way, shape, or form, then shoot me, because life just isn’t worth living without laughter. This may not be a popular opinion, but it’s the one I happen to hold, and I’m not ashamed of it at all. The next time you tell your co-workers what a blonde says after sex or how many gay people can sit on a barstool, think of this.

Now that I’ve answered your question, do you feel like answering mine?

Why was “In Living Color” hilarious, while the same jokes/skits done by all-white cast would be racist?

Because the people in ILC were laughing at all of us, and the way race is such a touchy issue in our culture. An all-white cast doing the same thing would be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as laughing at them (people of color).

Laughing at us is funny. Laughing at “them”, any them, can be funny, but is subject to being veiwed as bad sportsmanship or worse.

Laughing at persons with mental retardation is the worst. They can’t possibly get the joke; so there is no way to be laughing with them.

Sue from El Paso

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Smilingjaws sez:

So you’re putting your faith in Freudian psychology? If someone does something you disagree with it’s only because they’re insecure?

You’re really asking 2 questions here:

  1. Why is done? Because some people find it funny. If you’re not one of those people, you can simply not read it.

  2. Why is it OK? Why isn’t it OK? Who are you tell me that I can’t make offensive jokes? Are you arguing that we need more taboos?

Here is the link I posted before: http://www.spacemoose.com/strips/olympics.gif
I was quite amused by it.
MajorMD sez:

What makes you think I was angry? It’s not like I wasn’t expecting that reaction. Posting while angry only opens you up for scorn and mockery, but I guess you already learned that.

Also, what do you mean the thread didn’t turn out as expected? What do you think I was expecting in the pit?

Not having read the “joke thread” in question, Smilingjaws, perhaps I can help you find an answer to your OP above:

There’s a difference between a joke and a bigoted assertion. For the life of me, I really don’t recall encountering any Mormon jokes on this board (although I know quite a few that have the LDS as the butt and quite a few that have the LDS as the hero of the joke), but I do recall seeing some blatantly bigoted remarks/assertions about Mormons and others.

Try recalling all of the funniest jokes you’ve ever heard. Most of them will probably involve someone being hurt or humiliated. The simplest form is the practical joke and slapstick, which I believe are universal.

I’ve heard that we have to laugh at things like that because otherwise it hurts too much.

I laughed at the following joke wher a friend told me it:

What’s better than winning a gold medal at the special olympics?

Not being retarded!

Does me laughing at this make me a bad person? What if I told you I did some volunteer work when the actual special olympics was right here in Raleigh?

Yer pal,

Yeah, my brother told me that joke, if in a bit harsher form. I sort of gasped in horror and laughed at the same time. He said, “You laugh. You hate yourself for it, but you laugh.”

So far this is what I am understanding:

It’s more important to laugh than it is to be considerate of others who (as was so aptly pointed out) may or cannot even understand why they are the butt of jokes.

If you feel nicely towards that group and even help them, then it’s ok to laugh at them. So white people who are members of the NAACP can tell racist jokes?

That because you laugh at something you know is offensive it shouldn’t be considered bad behavior. Because you do not have a perfect nature, you shouldn’t try to overcome your imperfections but should indulge them.

Since many people indulge in cultural or appearance jokes, certainly it is ok to make fun of people who already bear an enormous burden of physical or mental handicaps and have the additional hurt of knowing that other people find their existence a joke.


Remember when the main character in “Stanger in a Strange Land” finally grokked (sp?) humour?

That’s what I’ve been talking about, Monty.

I know it is wrong to laugh at others that are less fortunate than ourselves. Most people do it at sometime anyway. It is a hell of a lot easier to laugh at something or someone whose situation is removed from yours (i.e. the Special Olympics, Mental Retardation, and such) than it is to laugh atsomething that is directly attached to you. I think most of the humor that we as humans laugh at deal with issues that transcend the mundane boundaries. Jung called these something like “archetypical images”. In other words, they are images that we all can relate to at the most simple level. Sure it is horrible if you read into the intentions of the joke (I know I am guilty of this), but for the most part, the teller of the joke usually does not mean anything bad by it. The ones that tell a “joke” out of spite and hate are just showing how irrational and base they actually are. I doubt that anyone here would really fall into that category though.


Gasoline: As an accompaniement to cereal it made a refreshing change. Glen Baxter

Monty said:

And both have the same reason – not enough people here really know enough to make Mormon jokes, and not enough people here know enough about Mormons to avoid saying what you take to be bigoted things. In order for somebody to joke about something, there has to be enough base knowledge (or, should I say, base assumptions) to make it funny. A joke about a Jewish guy not wanting to spend money wouldn’t be funny if people didn’t already have the base assumption (or base knowledge that others have such an assumption) that Jews are tight.

Smilingjaws - I’m just curious, what is the funniest joke you’ve ever heard?

Magnificent to behold - Greatly to be praised.

A good friend of mine tells this joke: “How do you tell when you are in a wheelchair prison.” Hold your hands about two feet above the floor. “The fences are only this high.”

He almost falls out of his wheelchair every time.

Another good friend was listening to his health care aide training a new worker. The trainer asked, as they were assisting him in getting into the bath, “Do you know what to do if Joe starts to have a seizure while he is in the tub?” Joe muttered “Throw in a load of laundry.”

Neither of them first heard the joke from handicapped people. There might have been some cruel delight in the minds and hearts of those who told the jokes to them, or within their hearing. Screw ‘em. Humor is about pain, and about not noticing it. When you have a tragedy, and both of these men did have tragedies, you still have lives, and laughing is good for you.

If you cannot see the difference between laughing about something, or laughing at someone, then you might not really understand whom the handicapped person really is. Don’t worry though, they won’t pity you. They might laugh, though.

<p align=“center”>Tris</p>

Dave: I take your point. It’s also one I’ve made before in other threads: “Don’t know, then ask.” Heck, let me know if you want the jokes posted and I’ll do so, with an explanation below. Always happy to help :).

I think Tris has the right idea.

I think it depends on the motivation of the joke teller in question. Is he trying to make a racist “point”? Or is the joke more in line with ribbing?

I tell jokes to a couple of my black collegues that I wouldn’t dream of telling to someone I didn’t know. Why? Because i don’t want to offend anyone, or give them the impression that I’m a bigot. My coworkers know me-they know that I’m just messing with them.
I’m not gonna speak for Konrad; I’m not a mind reader, but his posting of that joke seemed more in line with thumbing one’s nose at the PC police than at making derogitory comments about the handicapped. That’s just the impression I got from his original post in that thread.

If he did anything wrong, it would be posting such a joke in a forum that has members that he doesn’t know personaly, and whose condition he doesn’t know.

Just my two cents.

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.