To what extent are jokes about disabled people acceptable or offensive? One man seemed to have crossed a line by making a joke about a disabled person's lost limbs, all while their friend was about to "die" laughing.
No Ill Intentions
The OP reveals in his Reddit post that he has a habit of cracking jokes, with the understanding that they’re simply passing thoughts and not indicative of any “deep harbored sentiment” he holds towards anyone.
“To me, jokes are just for the sake of breaking the norm,” he states.
Losing A Leg And Arm
While being introduced to a friend of his friend, he discovered that he had suffered a severe motorcycle accident that resulted in the loss of his right leg below the knee and his left arm at the elbow.
Both the OP and the disabled person share a common interest in tuning motors, with the first specializing in electric motors and the latter in combustion engines.
Consequently, they were intrigued to explore the possibilities of working together.
He Had To Make A Joke
Despite their friendly start, their relationship soured when the man refused to talk to the OP after his remark, "You were riding that new BMW S1000.”
He replied, "No, I was on a Suzuki, I don't think BMW made the s1000 when I was riding, why did you think that?"
Joke Gone Too Far?
Despite his claims of having no ill intentions, the OP, known for his love of cracking jokes, couldn't resist making a remark about the disabled man and car prices, replying, "Because I heard they cost an arm and a leg!"
It’s Just A Joke
The OP's other friend found the joke hilarious that they “died laughing.” However, the disabled friend didn't seem to appreciate it at all.
“I was trying to break the ice, letting him know I was going to be just as brutal joking on him as I am with everyone else, cause you know, we are just guys hanging out.”
Despite the reassurance that they were simply "hanging out," the disabled man remained unconvinced that the joke was justified or deserving of laughter. Consequently, he left the pub and did not come back.
Was He Drunk?
Before passing judgment on the OP for excessive drinking and hurting others' feelings with “I wasn't that drunk” jokes, the OP makes it clear that he doesn't drink at all. However, he does enjoy munching on free peanuts while watching TV and spending time with his friends who do drink.
Family Members With Disabilities
In an effort to demonstrate the good intentions behind his "cost an arm and a leg" joke, he further emphasizes that he has several family members with genuine disabilities, indicating that he has sympathy towards these individuals and he would never intentionally hurt their feelings.
“We Joke All The Time”
The disabled man is not only mad at the OP for cracking the joke but also at his friend for finding it funny, and he now won't talk to either of them.
Again, the OP asserts, “We literally joke on each other all the time...I figured this guy was one of us.”
Friendly Or Offensive Joke?
Troubled by persistent intrusive thoughts, the joke-loving man turns to the Reddit community in search of answers. He poses the question, wondering, “Am I really an a..hole for this? Or is the guy overreacting to a friendly jab?”
“YTA and I don't even know where to begin because you have this default expectation that everyone will enjoy your 'jokes,'” reads the top comment.
They advised, “Sheesh. Just apologize to him if you can. I think that's the least you can do here.”
Who Has the Right To Tell Disabled Jokes?
Many others agreed that if someone is not disabled, they have no right to make jokes about disabled people since they cannot truly comprehend the challenges faced by those individuals.
One “YTA” voter stated, “Simply leave the disabled jokes to the disabled persons.”
Comparing Disability Jokes to Racial Slurs
Someone countered the OP's claim of being allowed to make jokes about disabled people just because they have disabled relatives. They compared it to a white person using the "N-word" and justifying it by saying they have black friends.
“That Was Ghastly”
One Redditor who also voted “YTA” argued that “it was waaaaaaaaaaaaay too soon to make that kind of joke” to someone who you don’t even know well.
“That was ghastly,” they remarked, “I think you need to give some thought about the phrase, ‘a time and a place.’”
Making Offensive Jokes about Strangers
Another commenter condemned the OP for making “a sh.tty joke at someone they don’t know.”
“Do they really believe that we all get some free pass to be jerks? Like, there’s a card you get? Hey OP, didn’t you flash your A.sPass? I know when I’m a gigantic jerk, that’s all I have to do: but you might only have Bronze Level or something.”
“Amputees often make the most hilarious jokes. But those jokes belong to them,” one user stated. “I get that you and your friends are enjoying dark humor and it helps all of you cope. I get that. But you’re going to have to handle the fact that everybody isn’t in your group.”
“Your joke wasn’t funny to that guy. You don’t get to tell a person who has lost limbs that they are over-sensitive. They will be ready to make jokes when they are ready. It’s not your place to tell them how to feel. That’s what is wrong here. People go through trauma at their own pace, man.”
Be Careful with Your Jokes
Ultimately, regardless of whether you find the arm and leg joke amusing and justified, or find it deeply offensive to the disabled nab, the underlying lesson remains: jokes have the power to wound more deeply than swords, regardless of the target, so be careful before cracking that seemingly harsh joke!
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Sylvia Silverstone is a passionate writer who loves to share her knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics, including beauty, life hacks, entertainment, health, news, and money. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, Sylvia's engaging writing style keeps readers coming back for more.