The Dust Will Not Settle…

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?

Comments

  1. Lydia says

    Beautiful & eloquent as always! I applaud your strength, determination & plight! As for the older gentleman, isnt the correct term “bold faced lie?” Keep fighting the good fight, so to speak, Chelley!

  2. Jackie says

    Although you deserve to defend yourself, you don’t need to. Don’t waste your time on them, that’s what they want and feed off of.
    If no one ever stood up for what they believed in, where would we be now? Life is so much about prospective, and unfortunately we don’t always gain it until we’re affected directly. While this seemed trivial to me at first, I’m now educated and feel differently. I don’t feel as strongly about it as you do and probably won’t make any action myself butI can certainly understand why you did. Any one who can fault you for making this very small effort to stand up for your child and what you believe in just doesn’t get it.
    Be proud of yourself!

    • says

      Thank you, Jackie.
      In truth, I ask for people to just open their minds, not to just agree or disagree. Your encouragement means a lot, whether you personally take action or not.
      All the best,Chelley

  3. Samantha silvia says

    You are an amazing mother, woman, and person. Cains was a “little” victory for all little people. Keep up the amazing work. And kiss that baby for me!! P.S. – don’t let any jerks get you down or stop you from spreading the word.

  4. lilly ink says

    I have in front of me a jar of cocktail gherkins. Why not for instance call it cocktail pickles. Or whatever. Please manufactures, just use you imagination.

  5. Karen says

    Good morning Chelly,
    I have only been following your blog for a few days. I think you are so courageous to take a stand on behalf of your sweet Addie and in turn so many will benefit, become aware and the majority will be kind and understanding. While others may choose to take the name-calling, threatening and ignorant road, I choose to be inspired. I think you are an awesome mom and Addie is so Blessed to have you. Being an advocate/voice for our children no matter their age is a good thing. I’m sorry you and your husband are being bullied, ridiculed with absurd, ignorant rants. While you are making this world a better place, some are wasting their time acting like fools –
    I am happy and proud to stand with you and encourage you to stay as beautiful as your adorable Addie <3

  6. says

    I think you are amazing. You have a beautiful daughter who deserves to grow up in a more accepting world, and you are helping to make that happen for her and many, many others. You are very brave to face the negativity from such close-minded, ignorant, and hateful people. Just know that for every one of them, there are many more of us who support you and believe in what you are doing.

  7. says

    In a thoughtful, peaceful manner, you continue to educate, inspire, and show compassion. Everyone should stand WITH you in making this world a better place for all people. A world full of love and understanding is the world I want to live in. You are full of grace, candor, and love…and have the respect and admiration of many. “When you know better, you do better” – my favorite quote by Maya Angelou (& repeated often by Oprah). When people are educated they make changes. You are making changes, my friend! People will start doing BETTER as a result of your efforts. Amazing!

  8. says

    In a gentle way we can shake the world. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Dare to dream big or small believe in yourself and you can achieve all.
    You have not just been an advocate for Addie, but for so many of us, or our children, thanks is simply not enough. It takes a village, there’s another one for you. So add me to your list if you have one, I will piggyback any of these ventures you undertake. I will be proud to stand beside you and educate, for our babies, for always. SO PROUD OF YOU, and the love and grace you are showing now.

  9. Leah says

    Chelley, You really are an all around amazing woman! I do not know how you can handle yourself with such grace when people are attacking you, Addie and Dave! These people who sit behind a computer screen, do not have an ounce of the courage that you do. So proud to call you family! Good Luck!

  10. says

    I am just stumbling across your blog for the first time. I am a mother of 2 girls, our youngest has achondroplasia. I applaud you for your stance on this issue for all LP’s espically my little lady. I don’t understand the reasoning behind all the negativity you’ve recieved!! Keep up the amazing work and let the LP community know if we can help in any way!!
    ps I’m adding your blog to mine on the side so I can keep track of your posts, hope that’s ok. If not just let me know.

    • says

      Kerri- Thank you for reaching out! I’m not sure why the backlash, but the actor Danny Woodburn really explained my mission well (and I appreciate his support of both me and Gedney). In a comment about the negativity I’ve been receiving, he states, “Acknowledging under represented minorities has historically been a hard won change.” Together, I believe we can make this change.
      I am adding your blog in my sidebar, too! Thank you for the support!
      Chelley

  11. Laurie says

    you need to write a book. you need to do public speaking. you are really quite impressive. Also, Addie is so beautiful, I hope baby Anthony and baby Addie will be friends forever.

  12. says

    Chelley, I think what you did is amazing. Admirable. Heart warming. Touching. It’s mother’s like you, that make this world a better place. I wish I wasn’t so nervous to be “in the front” of people. I’m not afraid to educate. I have had my share of educating moments. Some are so willing and eager to learn, while others throw it back in my face. Sometimes it really gets to me, while other times I let it roll off my shoulders. One not a month ago by a friend who posted something with the “M” word in it. I gave her a little info on dwarfism, told her about Cooper (even though she knew Cooper has dwarfism), she accused me of being “overly sensitive”. As if!
    Not that this compares to what you are experiencing, but I was part of a social media group for Autism (my oldest son has high-functioning Autism, ADHD and SID). Someone had asked a question about Autism and ADHD and if medication would help their child. I commented on the feed, and I was ridiculed, belittled, called a horrible mother, all because I chose to medicate my 3 year old son with Ritalin because of his ADHD. I was beside myself. Hurt. Angry. The only response I could get out was, “unless you have walked a mile in MY shoes, lived my life, taken care of my son, see the pure frustration in my sons eyes when he cannot communicate with me, when his body is so physically exhausted, but his mind is still racing and he cannot go to sleep, DO NOT JUDGE ME!”. The difference the Ritalin makes with his is amazing. Night and day. Instead of educating this woman who was so fast to hurt me, I reacted. I let her know she hurt me. From that moment on, I have been so forthcoming on educating about Autism.
    I am SO PROUD to say that my sons belong to 2 AMAZING groups of people. Groups that have parents like you. You have truly inspired me to be better about educating and not be afraid to speak up. Thank you!!!! {HUGS}

    • says

      YOU inspire me! We choose what is right for our babies. You are not wrong for choosing what is right for your child and I am so sorry that you were made to feel that way. Keep on educating. I 100% support your decision to raise your child as your own (and I have seen many children flourish with the correct meds. Hats off to you for finding what worked for him!). Thank you, in turn, for your support.

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