In school we’re learning about the Holocaust and prejudice. Recently, we were discussing something called ADL’s Pyramid of Hate (similar to this). It has five levels, the bottom being things along the lines of “accepting stereotypes
Going along with stereotypes, though it may be easier just gets the image of a group that society and the world already have about something put out there even more. I know a few guys at my school who came out and they go along with every stereotype of a gay guy you can think of. They pretend to be obsessed with fashion, talk in weird, high pitched voices constantly, trying to act feminine and shit like that... Yeah, stereotypes suck. You shouldn't go along with them, though people often do for a false sense of acceptance and security, as well as belonging to a "group"
I can't imagine a world were people wouldn't make jokes. I know that many jokes are about race, sex, and religion, and therefore the stereotypes accociated with different groups are what makes them funny, but stereotypes are a natural tendency, prejudice is human nature. I think that the ADL goes too far in that regard, but I really do agree with them in that things can progress quickly and get ugly. That's why I think its important to know yourself and to understand your frailties so that you can stop them before they get out of control. In the meantime, make light of the situation. ;)
I don't feel that failing to challenge belittling jokes is anywhere near genocide. There's a huge difference between a joke based on a stereotype that is made in a self-deprecating and self-satirizing manner and that same joke that is made with utter seriousness, belief, and intent. It's really not the joke or the stereotype that is bad, but how it is used. I know it sounds like I'm saying, "guns are only bad if you shoot innocent people with them", but seriously, if you and everyone you're with know that you're kidding around and none of them are offended when you joke/are sarcastic with stereotypes, it's not a big deal, because your intent is not harmful or prejudiced. In a case like that, you're actually making a stereotype or joke less harmful and less offensive because it becomes something ridiculous and satirical; it loses all its hurtful power.
It's like nonviolent protest in the way that it makes a complete and utter fool of the oppressive/harmful object(s). One of the best ways to tear something's power away is to laugh at its silliness. You can get angry at stereotyping and basic prejudice, but it's probably more effective in the long run to laugh it off and keep being yourself and eventually the world will realize that it is being stupid and it will shut the hell up. This may be overly optimistic, but it's worked in the past; there's no reason it shouldn't again.
Sure, the world could stand to be more accepting, but I'm not going to stop making jokes about myself.
Q - "What is your sexual preference?"
A - "I have no sexual preference."
It's a good theory, I've always beleived that it is just a gradual seriues of steps from zenophobic jokes to genocide. A lot of steps, but they are there. Do you think Hitler was born with a desire to kill 6 million jews? Nope it would have been something that grew slwoly from a basic zenophobia. So everyone just shut the fuck about race because it does lead to violence.
"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suf-fer-ing"
I think that by making fun of the stereotype you are helping break it down because you're using humour to take away from its hurtfulness.
I personally think maybe people should cut down on stereotypes and misuse of words (just HOW MANY TIMES DID I HAVE TO HEAR PEOPLE SAY 'That is so gay, man!' TODAY?! they sure didn't mean happy.) Improper use of a word just leads to people actually being offended by it - ex. guys at my school for some reason like to call everyone 'stupid Jews', and although I'm not Jewish, I don't see why they have to use that as an insult.
haha. That is so straight!
I get irate when I here gay as an insult. Although lots of people are disarmed quite effectively when they call you gay as an insult and you reply "Yes and your point is....." they usually shut up and walk the other way. As for the "Stupid jew" blame Cartman for that one, all it is is imitaions of him.