In 2016 America, there are few things that will make you appear dumber than laughing at someone based upon their race or country of origin – it may have taken us a while, but as a nation, we finally woke up and realized that this type of behavior is completely unacceptable.
Nevertheless, some of the very people who would never in a million years be caught making fun of someone just because they’re from Africa, Mexico or China, see absolutely nothing wrong in attempting to shame a person for being from the State of West Virginia.
I know this to be a fact because I am from West Virginia and I experience this reality on a near-daily basis.
“Okay, I just need you to write your place of birth right here,” said the woman hiring me for a job. Five seconds later: “Ha, you’re from West Virginia… you got all your teeth?”
Stopping for gas in a destitute southern city: Guy climbs out of a car that is literally bungee corded together and says to me, “I’m surprised they let you hicks out…” as he points to my West Virginia license plate.
Or my personal favorite: a Georgia shopkeeper asked to see my drivers license and then proceeded to rehearse the same old worn out West Virginia jokes I’ve heard my entire life — and so has every other West Virginian — “What do you call a full set of teeth… why are one of your legs longer than the other… why do birds fly upside down over West Virginia…” and of course a few cousin comments. After his limited intellect finally reached the point where he was able to realize I was growing irritated he attempted to rebound by saying something to the effect of, “Oh buddy, I’m just kidding with you. I’ve got family who live in Richmond, so I love West Virginia.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the most fun loving individuals you will ever meet and I’m always up for a good laugh; however, I just don’t think that making jokes about someone raping their sister is all that funny, or for that matter reflects well upon the intelligence level of the individual making the “joke.”
The bottom line is this – If you’re inclined to make a West Virginia joke, just ask yourself if you would be just as inclined to make fun of a black person for “being from Africa” or a Hispanic person for “being from Mexico”? If you’re answer is no, then why is it acceptable for you to make fun of someone for being from a certain state?
Also, keep in mind that though this may be the first West Virginian you’ve seen in a while – since you probably don’t get out much – the West Virginian you have encountered obviously does get out (seeing that they’ve traveled to wherever you are) and whatever joke it is that you are about to tell, chances are they’ve heard it a dozen times and you’re probably not nearly as talented at telling it as the last person!
I hope, for your sake, you heed my unsolicited advice… otherwise, the individual you’re talking to will view you as being just as stupid as they would someone making a racial joke – though they’ll probably exercise far more class and simply offer a courtesy smile.
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