Thursday, March 19, 2009
Making Fun Of Disability: Is It Right?
It is well-known that parents will tell their children to not make fun of people with disabilities since it can be offensive. But what if the person with the disability is making fun of themselves? Being disabled myself, I always tend to crack a joke about my condition with able-bodied people. Some will ask me about my parents and I'll just reply that they "look like an older version of myself...only they can walk" and I will get the funniest reactions from people. They will laugh but feel really bad at the same time. It is as if people are conditioned to be afraid to laugh at a person with a disability. While making fun of a person out of malice and ignorance is never good, when the person with the disability is making fun of themselves, it can be a great way to get others to be really comfortable around you. It is not much different than someone with a different ethnicity (asian, latino, african, arabic, etc) making fun of their ethnicities. We all know the stereotypes of minorities since it is somewhat acceptable to laugh at that. But why is it that people with disabilities are not considered a minority? We are people too and we should not be immune to ridicule. People are people and we are all like one giant family... and family members pick on each other! It is what breaks up the monotony of most people's lives. So for all you comedians out there, do not forget to include disabled people. We like to feel included in jokes as much as any other minority :)