If you find the above cartoon funny, you might be a bigot.
Think about it, would you repeat the joke if the caption read, “I once saw a Black Man run into a Jew, and didn’t know who not to help.” Most decent people wouldn’t, it would be socially unacceptable.
Those old enough to remember back to the 1950s and before. Racial jokes were accepted and it made those at the brunt of these jokes somehow less than human. To some it even made it okay to go out and beat up, or murder members of these minorities.
This dehumanizing meant these minorities were not seen as people with families who loved them, somebody’s father, mother, or child. Often referred to as “They,” or “Them,” which put a less than human face on a person, than it would by saying “Him” or “Her.”
“They” as a group were always judged by the worst behavior in that group. "You can’t trust them; they will rob you blind, given half a chance."
So too are cyclist as a group judged by the worst standard of behavior. “They always run red lights;" or are even blamed for their very existence. "They shouldn't even be on the road."
And when a cyclist puts on Lycra, it becomes his different color skin, and it too becomes fair game for ridicule. "Those stupid skin tight clothes they wear, those ridiculous shoes, and helmets."
I will admit if a cyclist strays more than ten feet from his bike he does look a little strange, but then so too would a guy walking down Main Street in a wet suit and flippers.
It is now against the law to discriminate against a person on the grounds their race, or sexual preference, etc. Because of these laws, such discrimination becomes socially unacceptable. It is a shame when society has to enact a law to force people to do what common decency should tell them what is morally wrong.
Strangely the above cartoon takes a cheap shot at two groups of people whose only crime is that they delay a person for a moment. The person collecting money for a charity that makes you stop and dig in your pocket for change. And the cyclist who may delay you momentarily, preventing you from getting to the next red light a little quicker.
Back before the 1950s a person of different race or color, could be harassed just for being out in public. In some instances cyclists get the exact same treatment today. Has our society advanced at all?
Do we have to keep passing laws to stop people from discriminating against this group or that? It is sad when otherwise responsible and upright citizens behave in this way.
The people, who draw cartoons like this, and the newspapers and magazines that publish them, justify the discrimination and need to stop. Not because cyclists as a group are too sensitive to take it, (Actually our Lycra skin is pretty thick.) but because it dehumanizes people who for whatever reason, choose to ride a bicycle.
And when you dehumanize a group of people, it makes it okay to honk at and harass, to even buzz real close and put the cyclist’s life in danger. To a very small minority it makes it alright to deliberately injure or kill a cyclist.
Some may think "Bigotry" is too strong a term, but is there any difference in hurling abuse at a man because of his race, than doing the same because another is riding a bicycle?
Some may shoot down this argument by saying a man can't help being black, but cycling is a choice. Religion is also a choice, and like religion riding a bike is my right. I have been racing and riding bikes since I was a teen; it has been a life time passion for me, I am not about to quit.
I should not have to endure harrassment and abuse because I exercise my right to do something as simple as ride a bicycle