I’m a bit late on picking this one up and I don’t want to get into the racism row regarding Kelis at the airport. I was, however, mystified (and somewhat alarmed as to) why the performer would use the the offensive word ‘midget’ (the equivalent of the ‘N’ word to people with restricted growth), to describe her own young son. A word that has so many negative, mocking connotations throughout history and still does today to describe a person with dwarfism. That a person with restricted growth is seen as a thing, rather than a human being.
Twitter Quote: 12th September
“We just landed and I had the midget with me. we get in the passport control line and apparently pissed this one man off cause he thought I…”
On the one hand it goes to show that language labels given to people, whether as a term of endearment or in a disgraceful way to incite hatred of a minority group – are offensive and perpetuate stereotypes throughout the age whether knowingly or unknowingly. And one of the many reasons why I rile so much against comedians who use the term ‘midget’ in their routines.
In this particular instance though, it also highlights to me, regardless of how tall you are, regardless of what faith you are, regardless of the colour of your skin… we may be knowing about the prejudices and ignorances faced in our own particular lives, but this does not mean it will translate to being aware of prejudices faced by other minority groups – especially in our use of language. We all have ignorances and, I’ve learnt from the many people I have met, being from a minority group does not mean you will be less ignorant of other peoples’ plights and situations. Or necessarily aware of the offence your language maybe to others.
One would hope that being from a minority group would encourage more empathy from other minority group in the shared struggles with prejudice and offensive language, I’m learning that this is not always so.
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