It’s not just hurt feelings, it’s perpetuating myths.
People who make jokes at the expense of vocal tics perpetuate the myth that TS is simply shouting out things, which are often “funny.” This myth is not only harmful because it makes light of a serious disorder, but it forces people to be exposed to the idea that TS is only vocal tics. This means for those people (such as myself) who have mainly motor tics, even the most intelligent doctors will not be able to diagnose them properly, because they simply don’t know what the disorder truly is.
Then, of course, there is the problem of being insensitive. You wouldn’t make fun of someone for having asthma or diabetes, right? So why would you make fun of an equally biologically based disorder? Tourette’s causes serious injuries, hospitalizations, and sometimes permanent damage. People have been made wheelchair-bound, dislocated joints, torn ligaments and tendons, and had endless other injuries inflicted due to our bodies working against us. I myself have a knee that dislocates itself periodically due to an old tic I haven’t even had for over 10 years. Tourette’s is not a funny disorder full of jokes and laughter, it is a serious medical condition.
Lastly, why is making a joke at someone else’s expense ever okay? Even if you’re just calling someone else’s hair ugly, you never know what’s going on in his/her life to cause it. How about we just stop being nasty for the sake of being nasty and start being respectful? Is that such an insane proposition?
What do you guys think about Tourette’s jokes?