This topic is very interesting because each one of us is involved in it one way or another and we don’t realize the grave danger it poses to us as individuals and to our societies. It is very common to laugh at someone’s deficiencies such as pronunciation of a word perhaps in a different language, dressing style, lack of common sense or even pride of being from a particular tribe.
It is easier for us to judge and comment on other people than to judge and comment on ourselves. That’s the underlying fact of such behavior. No matter how much a person denies such a statement, he/ she knows that they are unable to judge and comment on themselves but very easily judge and comment on others. A very simple test will be to ask 10 of your friends to give their thoughts about such and such person and then observe. How many of those 10 friends will come out and say, I can’t comment on him/ her because I am not good enough or I am not the judge of that or we shouldn’t be doing this. With my experience the answer is 0. Yes zero. Now if you take 3 or 4 of these scenarios, then you may find 1 or if you are very lucky 2. Which comes out to say that 19 out of 20 or 38 out of 40 people find it easy and have no problems at all passing judgement and comments on other people. That is a staggering 95% of the people you interact with approximately daily. For a lot of people this is a type of entertainment and time kill activity. They make fun of someone, pass comments about that person or mimics their way of speaking, way of walking and what not, for no real reason.
The Supreme Power has created human beings and divided them into different tribes, countries, colors, languages, dialects, etc. Hence the diverse cultures we see today with anti-racial and anti-discrimination laws. Every language is different even though various words and meanings could have been derived from the same source. For example, Spanish language have a very strong presence of the sound ‘se or sa’ and no matter what the word is, there starting would be from the tongue in between the teeth. Similarly, Urdu has a letter called ‘pe’ which in English may represent the letter ‘P’. On the other hand Arabic doesn’t have any letter that represent ‘P’, hence they use ‘ba’ which in English may represent the letter ‘B’. So if you hear an Arabic person say Pepsi, it will sound like Bebsi and Poland will sound like Boland. Given these differences in letters and pronunciations, when a person lives his life in a certain country for extended periods, he/ she picks up the culture and norm of that country in order to gain acceptance and also to become a strong part of the community with effective communication skills.
The problem is when these people return to their home countries or travel to other places using the same dialect, it sounds funny to locals and everyone may share a laugh or two (in a lighter sense). However, there is a difference between laughing in front of the person, which is more or less a friendly gesture/behavior, as compared to laughing about that person on his/ her back with a group of like-minded friends or family, which is very rude. If that person heard the way you were making fun of his pronunciation, do you really think he/ she will laugh with you or he/ she will be hurt inside? This is a question that you need to think about.
If an English person can’t pronounce Arabic words or a British person can’t pronounce Australian English Dialect or an Asian can’t pronounce English words, yes it would be funny in a very gentle way. However, if you go to a group of friends or family and tell them, ‘Oh, did you know what happened today? Oh, did you know what David said?’ then you are in the wrong. Anything that you say at someone’s back and you know it will hurt him/ her, then you are doing something wrong and honestly speaking, there are very few things which will sound good in front of them and behind their backs. Most of things we generally talk about are offensive, rude and unethical.
Making fun, joking around and picking on someone is fine as long as it fulfills these conditions:
- It is within limits and you are not crossing any boundaries with someone
- It is not rude and offensive to either himself/herself or his/her family
- It is not rude and offensive to his beliefs
- It is not demoralising him/her in front of other people
- It is not opening up or giving away any of his/her secrets that he/she may have told you in confidence
- It is not highlighting any weakness that he/she may be ashamed of telling someone
Looking at so many conditions gives another message and that is simply invest your time talking about something which is more useful than to make fun of someone.
Today’s generation may not agree with this post because our present environment is the opposite. However, I urge anyone and everyone who is reading this to reflect upon the subject matter for a brief moment, at the very least.