10.5 Case Studies
The Zinger and the Slur
Source: Photo courtesy of David Goehring, http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/99785459.
Former football coach Joe Paterno’s on-field prowess was only slightly more legendary than his sharp tongue. This is one crowd favorite: “If I ever need a brain transplant, I want one from a sports writer because I’ll know it’s never been used.”
Most people find this to be pretty funny. And though it rubs some sports writers the wrong way, no one is going to file a lawsuit or claim antidiscriminatory protection is needed to protect the offended. On the other hand, JoePa—as he was called around Pennsylvania—himself suffered taunting as a younger man. People called him a “wop,” a slur attacking someone’s Italian heritage (like the more common “guido” or calling a Chinese person a “Chink”).
- From an ethical viewpoint, and within a discussion of discrimination, does it make sense to hold that the brain transplant zinger gets a green light, while the “wop” slur gets flagged as objectionable?