Altered stereotypes

I’m always banging the drum against mental illness stigma, and though it’s a serious subject, I always try to see the lighter side.  You won’t change people’s opinions through hectoring or even legislation, but making them see the error of their ways through humour might, in my opinion, be the better way. I know that laughing at my personal absurdities helps cure some of my foibles.

One way of confronting the prejudices is to examine some of our nationalistic stereotypes. Let’s consider some of the better known ones. Imagine what each nation might do in heaven and then transpose to how it might work in hell. Consider:


  • English would be the Police
  • French would be the Cooks
  • Irish would be the farmers
  • Italians would be the lovers
  • Germans would be the engineers
  • Belgians would be the Belgians


  • English would be the lovers
  • Germans would be the cooks
  • Irish would be the engineers
  • French would be the farmers
  • Italians would be the police
  • Belgians would be the Belgians

It’s maybe a daft example, but it raises a smile in me, and gently pokes fun at our prejudice.

Next time you find yourself calling someone a Fruitcake, or a Nutcase, or whatever, consider for a moment if that view is helpful in taking mental illness seriously.  I’ve done it, and I bet you have. I’m not PC and laugh at my Bipolar more than anyone else, but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed and sometimes we cross it in all innocence, and the consequences can be more hurtful than we realise. As a Lancastrian who wears a flat cap and keeps Whippets, and greats everyone with “art oreet?”  I know all about prejudice!!

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