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Almost every culture has something in common: they all use “jackass” as a derogatory slur. The term conjures visions of stupidity, stubbornness and lack of common sense. When a cartoon character is placed in a situation in which he feels foolish, his head changes to that of a donkey. When Pinocchio and the other boys were greedy and lustful, they all became donkeys. These are examples of what is engrained in our social psyche. We do not know where we learned that donkeys are stubborn and stupid, we simply came to accept it as fact.
When asked to give a few facts about donkeys in a poll, people used the words “stupid,“ “stubborn” and “kicks.“ When questioned if any had ever had contact with a donkey, not one could recall ever meeting, touching or even seeing a photograph in a book. With such an ingrained yet undeserved reputation, it is no wonder American donkeys are widely abused and neglected.
If I were to refer to another man as a jackass, it would be considered mean, antagonizing, and even instigation. But what is a jackass? A jackass is simply a male donkey, usually uncastrated. They can weigh more than 800 pounds. They are one of the fastest mammals on the planet and can endure four days in a scorching desert without water. They can kill most predators and are extremely intelligent. They have been known to risk themselves to protect loved ones, and they can be the most loyal friends you will ever find. So now, if I were to call you a jackass, would you still be offended?