Imagine the worst, most personal name a bully could call your child, then imagine moving into a school district where their mascot had that name. What would you do?
There are schools, and little league teams, and other groups all across America who have adopted the word “midget” as their name. Remember, these were probably decided on years ago, before their human rights caught up with the public. It is not only antiquated, it does a diservice to the public to keep that as a name now. No high school or sports team would think of calling their team the “n” word.
The “m” word draws back to the days when human beings with dwarfism were paraded as freaks, abused, and ostracized. They were left to take any demeaning labor they could to make a living. Even signing over their bodies and their lives to circuses or individuals for lack of work.
In this country, the UNEMPLOYMENT rate for Little People hovers around 75%, that is the highest among any able bodied group in the country.
“Dwarf tossing” is illegal in only two states.
The television and movie industry still hires desperate LPs to play undignified roles, while computer generating better roles of characters with dwarfism rather than hiring Little People to play the part.
We all fight for this to be a land of liberty. We are proud of the way our country works to increase civil rights and inclusion of all. We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day because it serves to remind us how far civil rights have come. We join Holocaust survivors in saying, “never again”. Do we want to take steps back or do we want to move forward? As human beings, we do not want to give cause for anything that would sneak by us and put us on such a path again.
This past week, Little People of America held it’s National Convention in St. Louis. This area is home of Freeburg High School, who uses the term as their mascot and sells “midgetwear”. I understand that the public in general is not aware that the term midget is offensive and carries quite a bit of baggage with it. In the mid 1900s the word was still in use, even by physicians. Times have since changed as civil rights for Little People came about. Continuing to use this word is abusive to all persons with dwarfism. It demeans them and misleads the general public into thinking it is correct terminology. My son is an LP and if we were to move into their school district, how is that not stepping on his civil rights by forcing him to be at this public school and face taunts, or pay for a private school? I signed Little People of America’s petition and said : “Most people are simply uninformed, but now that you know, Freeburg, it is time to do the right thing.”
Please sign the petition now to let Freeburg know you care about this issue:
What else can you do? Spread the word. Many people have come up to me over the years and asked if Jax was a midget. This doesn’t upset me; I kindly explain to them that we don’t like that word. They are usually embarrassed, so it is my job to reassure them that many people are not aware of this. (I wasn’t before Jax was born.) I find that if I am kind in my response, people do care. Help educate where you can. To find out more about dwarfism and Little People of America, or to make a donation, please go to lpaonline.org .