question sesh #1

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I recently posted asking if anyone had any questions which might spur further blogs.  Jenny sent me a long list of options (thanks!) so I will try to tackle a few week.  If anyone else has questions, send them to me and I’ll try to answer as many as I can…  :)  Feel free to comment away, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Do you consider “midget” to be the same as the N word and F*got?  How do you feel about all of those words being used casually. Do you think it’s OK if it’s used in a joking manner with friends? If 5 average sized teenage friends tell “midget” jokes together at their house, do you think that’s OK?

Honestly, it totally depends on the tone.  I don’t get angry immediately if someone with good-intentions is describing me as one–especially if they are older or they just don’t know.  But that word does carry with it a lot of sting so it’s best not to use it.  Roger Ebert tackles the topic gracefully and I really commend his thorough intent to understand it.  That word has a loaded and hurtful history.  Especially when used maliciously, the word does carry a lot of pain as it was used when I was teased as a little girl.  I will admit I have used it jokingly myself with another little person–my friends and I sometimes lovingly call each other “midge” or something like that before–and other LP’s reciprocate.  Still, I believe it’s one of those words you have to experience the pain of firsthand in order to be given the power to use it.  That is why I do not use nor find it acceptable to use racial or homophobic slurs.  No matter how many friends I have in those communities, I still have not experienced their pain firsthand so out of respect feel I have no rights to those words.  Also, more often than not slurs are used to inflict pain and for that reason alone I would never want to even jokingly use a word that has been used to damage others. 

 Have you ever seen a LP act rudely/unfairly to an average size person and thought they were out of line?  (Not personal, you seem like a great person – just a question) Do you ever feel you have a chip on your shoulder towards average sized people? (I communicated once with a LP online who was very rude to everybody, I felt the chip-on-shoulder attitude) do you think that’s common, is it something you catch yourself against doing?

Yes.  Not cool.  Golden rule here–treat others how you want to be treated.  Chips on your shoulders don’t make you very pretty.  Vulnerably speaking, we have all carried chips on our shoulders at one point or another and it is something easy to associate any slight to the blaring obvious LP-thing.  I work through doing this in counseling and am one to try to always put my motives and assumptions in check.  I ask myself the ‘chip on your shoulder’ question a lot so I am really always trying to keep myself aware that it is a great possibility.  Luckily, I find others who have a joyful spirit about them most wonderful to be around so I try to remind myself of that a lot when I get down on myself for being different.

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2 responses »

  1. Jen, the Roger Ebert commentary/opinion on the subject is excellent. Thanks for linking it. I think all people should follow his example. He used it. He was informed. He respected it and promised to not use it again. I think it is a matter of respect and if you’re a respectful person.

    I give people a pass if they honestly don’t know that a certain word is hurtful. Although I think some people take liberties with certain hurtful words because they know they are wrong but still use them. You have to be living in a cave with no modern technology to not know that the N word is offensive. It is constantly in the news and discussed.

    Re: Midget a lot of people honestly don’t know that short-statured people don’t like it. They think midget is the correct word for what you are. They think “little people” or “dwarf” sounds more condescending and insulting than midget.

    If it’s honest ignorance like that, I give them a pass the first time. However, if it is explained to them that it is derogatory because 99% of the time it is used it is said with a laugh-snark-giggle and they simply don’t care and continue using it, then there are no excuses. They’re being disrespectful. Whether they mean it to be hurtful or not, they’re now aware it’s hurtful and don’t have enough compassion to stop. It’s not that hard to pick another word.

    I think “You’re being a retard” is another one. There was a time when I never really thought about that. If honest, people say “you’re being a retard” because they’re thinking of a person who is mentally challenged.

    Then I got to know a girl who had a mentally challenged brother who completely lost it on someone when they said “retard”. She was livid and nearly in tears because she was so upset because of the number of times she was hurt growing up listening to her brother being ridiculed as a “dumb retard”. More recently I know someone that has a son that is mentally challenged. He is one of the kindest, purest hearted people I’ve met. I’ve never used the word “retard” again because I would always think of the hurt it causes and the disrespectful message it sends to people that don’t deserve it. They’re just ugly words, there is no reason to use them.

    Thank you for being honest (because what is an opinion/discussion without honesty?) about using “Midge” with other little people. This is like Oprah’s debate with the cast of Crash about African-Americans using the N words. –Some– gay people also call themselves or other gay people F*gs.

    Personally, I think it is wrong. I do agree and understand about the empowerment angle and I don’t think it’s the same for a person of that group to say it as a person outside that group. However, if a word is hurtful and you’re trying to eliminate it, it sends the wrong message when people hear those within it using it. Look around at some of the examples. I think the N word is the ugliest of words in the english language. But the fact that black people use it is the number one defense for anybody being able to use the word. If people in that group didn’t use it, nobody would have that defense. Also I think people within that group needs to respect your community even if a particular word does not bother you personally. There are gay people with thick skin who don’t care if they get called a f*g. Before they should sign off on it and give permission to people around them to use it or don’t object, they should consider the other gay people (especially teenagers in any group) who find that word to be a dagger through their heart.

  2. Pingback: question sesh #2 « hope sprouts designs.

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