Why you should never call someone “stupid” even as a joke

You might jokingly or seriously call people stupid, but insults are a bad idea, whether directed at your friends or foes.

Stupid is a derogatory term that expresses our contempt or dislike of someone else’s behaviour. It’s an easy way to show our dissatisfaction and anger.

A groundbreaking study investigated the nature of highly negative insults, which were called the “Foul Four.” The researchers found that insults fall into four key themes: worthlessness, stupidity, depravity, and peculiarity.

When we insult others, we see them as violating values like power, intelligence, morality, or behaving abnormally.

Why you should never call someone stupid or use any insult, even as a joke:

People are sensitive to mean words

We might think it’s a joke to call someone stupid or dumb because they are our friends, but it’s not a joke to them.

Some people are sensitive to words spoken to and about them and would not like to be called stupid, dumb, or foolish, even if you are just joking.

Why not jokingly call them smart, beautiful, resourceful, and other positive words?

Resorting to insults shows a lack of critical thinking and low intelligence

When we are offended, we need to say what offended us rather than resort to insults and name-calling.

It’s okay to have disagreements with people, but we should rather address what they did and how they made us feel rather than resort to negative name-calling. This makes the subject of the dispute clear, so it can easily be resolved.

It leads to anger and violence

Before hands were thrown in violent altercations, name-calling would have started it. We shouldn’t call people stupid, dumb, or use any such insults even when they annoy us because we don’t know how they might react to it; it might cause them to lash out violently, and you don’t want a black eye because you can’t control your mouth.

It is discriminatory

Many linguists believe it’s a form of ableism. That means we make fun of people with disabilities like autism and Down syndrome by calling them and others stupid, crazy, and weird. They internalise these words when they’re a normal part of our vocabulary.

It shows intolerance

Sociologists believe calling someone stupid can also be a sociological tactic to uphold social identities and group norms. Labelling someone else as foolish is an attempt to maintain our social or group identities.

When someone is called stupid, the underlying thought is, “Why can’t you just act like the rest of us?” Since these acts defy accepted norms of behaviour, we are shocked that others might act ridiculously.

However, we must know that people cannot and will not act or believe the same things a]we do, even when we believe we are right. We must be okay with having minor differences on some topics as long as we are not hurting another person.

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