My motto is, and will remain: Do not be reactive. Be proactive and educate.
Just to clarify a few things:
There is not and never will be a lawsuit regarding the recent outrage about pickles.
Am I after the almighty dollar? Yep. We do it the old fashioned way: working and having a birthday every year (thanks, Mom).
I am happily married to the father of my child- his name is Dave and he’s an amazing man.
I have many thoughts about the recent events that have transpired, but truthfully, you already know them, as I have been open and honest. I am thankful to have the opportunity to live in this country where I am afforded the right to speak freely and express concern. In this way, I was expressing concern about a word on a pickle jar… I am also in the midst of writing to other companies about products and speaking with local community centers about not having midget leagues, teams or squads. While years ago (read: 1800’s) “midget” was a medical term for a person of proportionate short stature, and then used and adapted to describe circus entertainment, it has evolved into a mean word, used in mockery and bullying. It is, in fact, not just mean or offensive, it is derogatory. While you may be not offended by it, others are, including myself on behalf of my daughter. I spoke up about it in compassion, offering my support to this company in any way that I could- including to educate- whether they made a change or not.
To everyone who thinks I wasted my time educating and being proactive about something that is very close to my heart, let’s speak to those who have chosen to not just voice an opinion, but to attack… like Gerry (I will not release his last name or email address). Gerry is a 62 year old retired grandfather of 2. He contacted me through this blog. According to his email to me, Gerry is “balding badly and sick to death of all of you politically correct, effete snobs who get offended at any little thing. Maybe I should try to have “bald faced lie” removed from the lexicon?! Or protest all of the “senior memory care” jokes out there?! What a bunch of BS you are.”
I’m not sure what senior memory care jokes are… but if they offend you, I encourage you to write a letter or call your local news station. Gerry informs me that, “I am contacting Gedney next and telling them they have lost me as a customer. I’ll bet you are very pleased with yourself.”
If I am wasting my time simply trying to educate about something that matters to me, what is Gerry doing as he hunts me down through an article, reaches my blog, sends me this scathing email, and then spends more time contacting a company to say he won’t buy their product?
The answer? Wasting his time on something he doesn’t care about, and seemingly doesn’t affect him. Please know that small dill pickles will still be available.
There has been an assault on me, something I do not care to stop, although it does not make me “pleased” with myself. On this blog, I will accept ALL comments about me- good, bad and indifferent. I will even try to respond to most, however I am being inundated by all media outlets- please be patient. I will not, on the other hand, accept negative or threatening comments about my child or husband. I have had to delete only one on this site, but several on YouTube, including thoughts hoping my child would be hit by a bus and that she’s an abomination. Someone superimposed a picture of my Addie on a jar of pickles with the m-word. Was this meant to be funny? Nope. It was meant to hurt. This word is KNOWN to the public to hurt and demean and this person knew it.
A fellow blogger posted this: From Themomofalltrades
As for the folks who go with the old stand-by that the word “midget” isn’t always used to mean an offensive word for a little person, I ask you this: Did you know that the swastika was originally a symbol that meant life, good luck, sun, power, and strength? Do we still associate that symbol with such things? No. Now, the swastika is a symbol of hate, violence, anti-Semitism, murder and death. How would you feel to walk into a grocery store and see a jar of pickles emblazoned with a swastika? Even if you’re not of Jewish descent, you still probably wouldn’t feel as though that symbol was appropriate. If the company originated hundreds of years ago, when that symbol was still one of good intent, failure to change the symbol when times changed would be inexcusable to most.
While people post they “hate” me (a stranger they’ve never met), others have used my personal social media pages to type obscenities about me, my daughter and my husband, from behind the safety of their screens. There have been stories told to me about radio DJs taking sound bites of me out of context and mocking me to the delight of their callers. While you call a mother who meant to make the world a better place “stupid” and an “idiot” (among the most G-rated of many vitriolic comments), I think you are “mean”. That is your right and that is why I do not feel the need to patrol each site to the belittlement of myself, and fight back in comment. I have not hidden from people who wanted to know more. I did not seek media attention, but when offered, I chose to educate. What people have done with the knowledge is their decision. I have, thankfully, had a beautiful, albeit private, warm reception from hundreds of people. To the few who found me on Facebook just to be hateful, there were over 100 strangers with no previous connection to myself or dwarfism, offering their support and kind words to someone just trying to make the world a better place. While the blog has received hate, it has also been an outlet to people who have no opinion, but respect a mother’s prerogative, and others, who downright agree and want to know how to help. I will say this once: help by educating. Do not argue, threaten or blame. My message is one of peace- I simply want to make a change for the betterment of society. Companies, teams, and the like, once using this term simply as an adjective for size, need to be (in my mind) educated to its other definition. One of hate. One of bullying. Derogatory. What they choose to do with this education, is their choice. I celebrate your freedom of speech, and respect your opinion- whether I agree, or not.
In NO WAY do I believe myself to be akin to Rosa Parks, however- she wouldn’t give her seat up on a bus. I’m sure (beyond the fact that it was illegal at the time), her move was considered stupid and benign. But guess what? It changed the world. A chocolate and licorice candy called N*Babies went through a name adjustment to Chocolate Babies in the 1960′s, due to changing times. This word has also been banished from the lexicon, almost entirely. I am not looking for a word to be stricken from the dictionary, just from common vernacular. Is this going to be a rights movement for LP? Probably not, but if I bring some awareness, I’ve achieved my goal.
I will repeat this, and I’m sure I will write another post about this once the dust settles, but my mission was and remains to be proactive and to educate. Team names have been changed in the past, labels on products, including Aunt Jemima’s (several) changes and the debate over the name Quaker Oats, which have nothing to do with Quakers and seems, to some, like a ploy to get people to think the brand is honest (not my thoughts, just what I read from others), and Albino Rhino Beer. There is a litany of examples I have found and all have met with some, if not a lot of, resistance to the change. Albino, by the way, is a medical term. Midget is not.
I firmly stand my ground. I want the m-word taken off products, sports teams and other items that use it in a casual manner- I believe that its use in this way promotes the idea that the word, in general, is OK. I am not in the business of suing or strong-arming anyone into agreement. I am here to educate.
I agree with everyone who reminds me that many kids, not just my own, will be bullied and made fun of- but does the derogatory word used towards people with the same diagnosis as my daughter also have the be the same word on the pickle jars at our local grocery store, or on the front of her sports uniform, too?