Monday, February 7, 2011

Short Failbook Fail: Screw Assumptions

Today's Failbook fail: Trailer Tatty.

This post, my friends, is the motherlode of classism. Someone posts a quote by Winnie the Pooh (except, excuse me, I read that book when I was little, and that quote is not A.A. Milne, but I suppose that's beside the point). Commenter #1 says they want a tattoo of Winnie the Pooh. Commenter #2 racks up the following assertions about those with "cartoon character tattoos":
  • They live in trailer parks.
  • They are fat.
  • They abuse their children.
  • They frequent Wal-Mart.
  • They cannot read.
  • They have mullets.
  • They love wrestling.
Wow. I mean, what classist assumptions can even be added at this point? Okay, okay, I guess there are some, but the big points were all hit.

Underneath all these seemingly unconnected statements, of course, is the assumption that poor people are stupid. They get stupid tattoos, parent in a stupid fashion, shop at stupid stores, and wear stupid hairstyles. Never mind that their income level and their intelligence may not be related. (Education and income are generally highly correlated, but innate intelligence pops up in people regardless of their background.) If you are poor, you are stupid; you are worthless; you deserve my mockery. That's what Commenter #2 needed to say to Commenter #1, who only wanted to get an image of a cartoon bear emblazoned on her skin.

Look, if someone wants to get an "88" tattooed on their arm, I can say with high confidence that that person is a racist, anti-Semitic assclown. But if someone wants a Winnie the Pooh tattoo, the only thing I can say with high confidence is that they like Winnie the Pooh. But I don't know their income level, their haircut, or whether they're a good parent (or a parent at all).

I feel like three-quarters of my posts are about not making dumbass assumptions about other people. If we could all adhere to that one tenet, what a lovely world this world would be.

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