Florida Man and Dumb Blondes

For many years, I’ve been involved with a non-profit organization that, in its most fundamental document, promotes inclusiveness, acceptance of diversity and pluralism, and respect for all individuals.

And yet, in that group’s admittedly unofficial humor page on Facebook, my questioning its use of the “Florida Man” meme got me criticized by more than one person.

So what if we make jokes about men from Florida doing crazy crimes? Or make jokes about dumb blondes? Or about lazy Mexicans? Because jokes can reinforce prejudice.  According to an article in Scientific American, “Whatever the neural underpinnings of implicit bias, cultural factors—such as shopworn ethnic jokes, careless catchphrases and play-ground taunts dispensed by peers, parents or the media—often reinforce such prejudice.”

And jokes can even be a part of creating prejudice and discrimination. That is apparently true of the dumb blonde stereotype. In studies, a majority of people have viewed women with blonde hair as less intelligent and less capable career-wise than brunettes. In some studies, the same women were treated as less intelligent–and more sexually available–when their hair was blonde than when brunette (Psychology Today, Mail Online, The Guardian).

In regard to Florida man, in my own mind I admit that, if I heard that phrase 10 years ago, my first image would have been of a Caucasian man with grey hair. I have never been to Florida, but back then heard several jokes about Florida retirees. Now, when I hear “Florida man,” my first thought is of a man from Florida committing a crazy crime even though the Florida Man meme apparently became popular just a few years ago in 2013.

For anyone who thinks that making jokes about the people of a particular state doesn’t matter, it can. I am very close to two people who had problems getting a job in one state when they moved to a state where people commonly made fun of their home state.

In my Ethnic and Women’s Studies classes, I relearned something I already knew–the biggest obstacle to equality and fair treatment is usually not the bigots. The biggest problem is most often regular people, sometimes nice, loving people. And sometimes the problem is exacerbated by people making fun of their own ethnic, racial, gender, or other group. They often don’t realize they’re contributing to the problem for others and possibly themselves. If they did, I imagine they would stop.

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

The image of the blonde doll used is from pixaday which allows its free use for editorial purposes.

About Alden Loveshade

Alden is a philosopher, personist, writer, playwright, screenwriter, director, actor, poet, photographer, dumbek drummer, roleplayer, and educator. Worked for others and freelance as a journalist, investigator, columnist, reviewer, teacher, animal caregiver, photographer, and dishwasher. Claims e doesn’t care about money, but always needs more. Recognized by Phi Theta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, the U. S. Jaycees, and groups of like ilk. They don’t necessarily like em, but they recognize em. Graduated summa cum laude from some university that apparently figured the best way to get rid of em was to graduate em. Alden has worked with Emmy, Oscar, Tony, and Pulitzer Prize Nominees and Winners but they never shared their awards! Alden has dual citizenship in the Principality of Sealand and the United States of America. His official title for Sealand is Lord Alden Loveshade. E thinks that makes em sound impressive.
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11 Responses to Florida Man and Dumb Blondes

  1. Eric the Angry says:

    You Snowflakes have no right to insult the SCA like this. Florida Man isn’t prejudice it’s a joke!

  2. Miley Spears says:

    Many people get hurt by something that’s called just a joke. Many people don’t understand they’re hurting themselves.

  3. TawTew the Naturally Perfumed says:

    Hate often comes disguised as a joke. Thank you for reminding people of that.

  4. Dharma says:

    Prejudice is prejudice no matter who it’s against.

  5. Michael Viviano says:

    “Florida Man” is actually a triumph of transparency. If it happens in Florida, it goes in the papers.

    • The article linked below backs that up.

      As a journalist, I would appreciate Florida’s highly open government laws because it would make it significantly easier to report what’s happening in government.

      As a citizen, I would appreciate having easy access to those reports.

      However, as a journalist, I know that many people get arrested who are never convicted, and some people are convicted who are later found not guilty.

      And as a citizen, I am not happy about what can and often does happen to someone who’s arrested and later has all charges dropped, or who goes to trial and is found not guilty. News services are often very quick to publish accusations, and sometimes neglect to publish that charges were dropped or never even formally filed. Or if it is reported, it’s often not made as prominent as the accusation.

      In much of the public eye, if you’re accused, you’re guilty. Too many innocent people have lived their lives under the shadow of false guilt.


  6. Mary Contrary says:

    I didn’t even think about that, but you’re right. No more Florida man posts from me.

  7. Dr. Sinister Craven says:

    Florida people aren’t crazier than anybody else. Blondes aren’t dummer.

    Barbie’s smart.

  8. Cecil Porter says:

    Thank you, for sharing a very helpful article. Do you have a YouTube channel?

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