So recently I was browsing one of my favorite websites and came across a post titled “BEST PUNS OF ALL TIME!!!” Or something similar. Now those of you who know me know that I love love LOVE PUNS! They’re like my favorite things ever.
The puns on the post were really good, and I hadn’t seen most of them before. I was enjoying myself until I got to this one:
“Don’t let an extra chromosome get you down!”
My heart sank. I don’t know how to express my feelings about this in words. I wasn’t angry, although I probably should have been. I just felt a deep disappointment that people would so casually joke about human beings.
But then I looked again, and considered something. Hadn’t I just laughed at the pun involving “a rabbi, a priest, and an astronaut?” Hadn’t I just laughed hysterically at a demeaning celebrity joke my friend told me? And I’m sure I laughed harder than I ever have at the “suburban white girl” joke I heard.
The pun about Down syndrome was wrong. It was insensitive and demeaning. But I think it was more demeaning to me because I am familiar with the stigma surrounding disability.
And it made me think: have the jokes I’ve made and laughed at hurt other people?
I’m glad I read that pun, because it served an important purpose. It Wasn’t the intended purpose,but it made me think about how words really can hurt.
I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on this!