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Incident at the county fair - Page 3

post #41 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by RubyWild View Post
I think she overreacted. If a 5 year old told me I'm fat, I would tell him that it wasn't a very nice thing to point out, but I would also understand that 5 year olds often lack tact. It's silly to get emotional about it, rather it's a time to point out that tact should be used.

Yes, but what if the 5 year old called you a n****** or a sp***?

I don't think she overreacted. I think there are some underreactions here. Personally, if I was called a slur, even by a child, I would be horribly offended because he learned it from somewhere- and how to use it. It wouldnt matter to me right at that moment that he was 5 years old - I would be absolutely appalled and take steps to not have that child near me.
post #42 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyGrace View Post
Yes, but what if the 5 year old called you a n****** or a sp***?

I don't think she overreacted. I think there are some underreactions here. Personally, if I was called a slur, even by a child, I would be horribly offended because he learned it from somewhere- and how to use it. It wouldnt matter to me right at that moment that he was 5 years old - I would be absolutely appalled and take steps to not have that child near me.
But I'm not sure this is a fair comparison. If something is largely considered a slur only within the small group to which it refers, then perhaps a little more patience is in order while dealing with the general public, and particularly when dealing with a small child who is almost certainly using the phrase out of ignorance.

I seem to have picked up somewhere along the line that "little people" was the preferred term, but I would have assumed that "dwarf" was the offensive term, and "midget" was just outdated (kind of like Hispanic vs Latino). There is not a substantial community of little people in my area, and while I am well-meaning, I didn't know about the history of the descriptive words. I found an interesting article here.

This has been an interesting thread for me, though the original incident makes me sad.

ZM
post #43 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adele_Mommy View Post
But the first you heard was the carnival worker threatening to not let your child on the ride. As soon as she did that she lost all right to an apology in my opinion. I, myself have no problem with confrontation. I would not have hesitated to give that worker a piece of my mind, and none of what I said would have remotely resembled an apology.
I don't know the woman, obviously. But, the likelihood is that this woman has never taken child development classes. She may even know what children are like-- seeing them get on/off rides every day does not count. To her, maybe the 5 yo seemed older, more mature-- could be held accountable. Maybe she just found out someone in her family was ill. Maybe she was called names 20 times that day and that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I don't know. I do know that compassion is important. Even if I don't agree with someone, I think we need to model kindness and not continue a negative cycle. I'm glad the OP did not go off on her. However, I can imagine that the woman's boss did. Maybe she even got fired.
post #44 of 102
It sounds like the child was acting like a 5 year old, and the woman was overly defensive to me.

Did the child need to be taught not to comment on people's physical appearance? Yes.

Did the woman need to be so nasty? No.

Was an apology in order? Yes.
I would have stepped up and apologized/explained but would probably been angry with her for speaking harshly to my son. I would have said something like "I'm sorry my ds insulted you. He is only 5 and is still learning that it's not okay to comment on people's appearance".

I agree that it can be a bit uncomfortable/embarrassing when young child yells or blurts out something like that, but cripes, it's normal for them to notice differences in appearance. Even in some of ds's puzzle books they have a "find the shape that's different" or "find the object that doesn't belong" etc. And it's normal to compare themselves to others too.
Doesn't excuse offensive comments, but a bit of slack is needed I think.
post #45 of 102
5-year-olds notice differences and are blissfully unaware of the baggage we adults have with those differences. They should certainly be educated about differences and how people are hurt by those kinds of statements. I'd wonder where my child heard the word "midget" though. From another child?

5-year-olds are still young children.
post #46 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius View Post
I do know that compassion is important. Even if I don't agree with someone...
I think that this is the key, really. Everyone deserves compassion, including the woman who was insulted. I'm, frankly, shocked at the general tone of some of the posts that imply she doesn't deserve it, especially when I read posts like this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
I can't get over the fact that she works at a CARNIVAL. And she wants to challenge the assumptions of small children.

A CARNIVAL. Oy.
post #47 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by paisleypoet View Post
Then, to make things worse, later on we were standing in a line when a lady walked by us and he said, "That girl's fat." I just wanted to run away.
I expect at that point he did that only because of the incident with the little person. He was probably trying to figure out the rules ...

Re the politically correct way to explain it --- I think you could go home and show him pictures of different kinds of little people, talk about why the different types happen, and so forth. In the same vein you could discuss the different reasons people become overweight. We've only dealt with the latter, and I have told my children that some people have a medical problem that causes them to gain weight, and they don't like it, and it's not nice to draw their attention to it when they are trying to have a good time. So maybe you could say, some people have a medical condition that causes them to be very short, and while they don't like it all the time because it can be so inconvenient in a big world, it's something that can't be remedied once they are an adult if at all, so it's best not to bring it up when they are trying to do their jobs or have a good time.
post #48 of 102
I really feel for you .. that must have been so embarassing and a very uncomfortable situation.

My son has managed to embarass me in public a few times, (he'll be 5 in November) so I've tried very hard to talk about diversity and that we don't make statements about how people look because it might hurt their feelings. He knows he's supposed to ask me once we get back into the car.

It's hard, because at their age they really are not putting judgement behind those words, they are just saying what they see. My son asked the bagger at Publix why his skin was brown like a poop about a year ago and I thought I would die.

Don't feel too bad about how you handled it, it's hard to do just the right thing when you are feeling so upset and embarassed. I would most certainly talk with your son about the situation, and why the lady got her feelings hurt by his words.
post #49 of 102

an apology

What a wonderful opportunity to teach your son.

Perhaps the woman was a little hyper sensitive- and her reaction (potentially denying letting your child ride) was WRONG (lets call that a potential "abuse" of power- which is TOTALLY WRONG) at the same time- she's probably suffered a lot in her life and as an ADULT YOU SHOULD BE SENSITIVE TO THAT- instead, you can't believe "she" had something to say to your son- -my goodness she was hurt! Rightfully so, but YES YES YES, she did over react in the sense that the comment was from a CHILD PERHAPS JUST AS WRONG AS YOUR DESIRE TO CODDLE YOUR SON!

Ideally the woman should have simply said to your son "Well that is not a nice thing to say young man, when you see someone like me you would refer to them/myself as a _________ (whatever the woman felt was PC) Yes the woman DOES/DID need to "chill out" and realize that the comment was from a small child - not a knowing intentionally mean/rude older child/teen/adult!


HOWEVER, you should have taken your son aside, taken the time to educate him and most importantly MADE HIM SAY HE WAS SORRY! - He was not the victim- she was- yes he is a child and it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO teach him kindness, compassion, and to be considerate and to educate him about the differences in people!

My focus IS NOT ON THE LADY TAKING TICKETS, NOR ON YOUR SON, but rather on YOU- your reponse to the situation, - seeing your son as the victim........ - is that not as over sensitive as the woman taking tickets?

Let's say my 5 year old did this - This is what I would do - ok, so I over hear the lady saying "that's not nice"... I would walk over and say- "Hi- I am her mother- may I ask what's going on.... what did my child say?"- (she would tell me), I would then say to my daughter- "Oh Bella, that's not nice honey- we DO NOT say things like that"- I would then say to the lady- "Mam, I'm sure you've had to endure a lot in your life- she is a child- not an adult- I appreciate that your sensitive and perhaps my childs comment felt like a bullet to your heart- but perhaps you could relax just a bit, I would then ask her to explain how she was different to my child - and tell my child the proper way of referring to her being a little person....... I would then tell my daughter that she needed to offer an apology...... in no WAY WOULD I DEFEND MY CHILD- Would I protect my child from being denied a ride YES- the woman would have no right to deny my child a ride- she has not right to abuse her power for "personal reasons", at the same time my kid needs to learn that there are things that can come out of her mouth that are simply NOT RIGHT, and she needs to learn- will she feel bad- perhaps even cry..... YES SHE WILL- SHE HAS- That's ok, she needs to- perhaps that discomfort of being "corrected" will make her think before she speaks as she ages.

Of course if he were 10 years of age or so it would be different, of course, he didn't know, but then he insulted someone for their weight? WOW momma- he's learning this from somewhere in his environment.

OP please realax, I know you love your son and I am sure he's a beautiful and special boy, yes it is painful to have to stand by and watch them learn about life- but we can't protect them from it and they do have to learn as painful as it is for us to watch. And of course, what your child says isn't necessarily or even always a reflection of you....... - kids learn things from all kinds of places- tv, school - you name it.
post #50 of 102
Ok, this thread reminds me of a story we tell about my little sis .. (who is now a big shot attorney in Boston, BTW)

When she was around 5 years old, she was facinated by people in wheelchairs. My Mom had been talking to her about it, telling her that people in wheelchairs are no different from us, etc.

We were out to dinner one night and a lady in a wheelchair was behind us in line. My sister talked to her (she was very outgoing and talked to everyone!) and then ran to my Mom and YELLED as she ran, "Mom, I talked to a lady in a wheelchair and treated her just like a regular person!!"

We all almost died of embarassment, and my Mom had to go over and explain what my sister meant, and how she had been teaching her about diversity, etc.

I think blurting out embarassing/inappropriate comments is pretty common.
post #51 of 102
Thread Starter 
Wow. I can't believe I have caused such a commotion. This is a first for me on MDC.

I feel kind of defensive in saying though, once again, that I did apologize to her. Nicely. And explained that he didn't know any better. Then she let him go on the ride. I wasn't standing around bawling and yelling at people and making a fuss over my poor innocent child. I let him go on the ride, then we walked away. I was trying to hide the fact that I was crying from everyone because I felt like that was silly, but the incident upset me. The manager came up to us later, while the kids were on another ride. I doubt he fired her. I don't know why he gave us free tickets, he said it wasn't to reward any bad behavior, he just didn't want it to ruin our evening.

And about the lady he said was fat, he just said it me very conversational like. I had a nice long talk with him about not saying things about people and about hurting people's feelings, and then he did feel bad and told me he was sorry. He was almost in tears. He is not a mean, vicious little boy, and he does NOT hear us say nasty things about other people and use derogatory terms. So please do not attack me about where he heard these things.
post #52 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistymama View Post
My sister talked to her (she was very outgoing and talked to everyone!) and then ran to my Mom and YELLED as she ran, "Mom, I talked to a lady in a wheelchair and treated her just like a regular person!!"
laughup Loved your story! It sounds like your sister was so proud of herself. Very cute!
post #53 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by OakBerry View Post
it's normal for them to notice differences in appearance. Even in some of ds's puzzle books they have a "find the shape that's different" or "find the object that doesn't belong" etc. And it's normal to compare themselves to others too.
Excellent point
post #54 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adasmommy View Post
Um, I didn't know that the word "midget" was an insult and I'm almost 30 years old :

Really! I wouldn't go around bringing it up to midgets, of course. Is dwarf the acceptable term?
I remember in my HS biology class having a unit within the genetics unit on Little People. I was told then that the proper term that was preferred by Little People, was Little People (this was 15 years ago). I think that covers both dwarves and midgets, as the two are different conditions - actually there are several different types of each, but I believe that midgets are evenly proportioned, while dwarves have arms and legs that are not in proportion with their bodies. However, I believe both dwarf and midget are considered offensive terms, and have been for at least 15 years.

To the OP, considering it was a child that said the word to her, the woman did over react. Perhaps she was really angry at you, thinking you had taught your child the word? Perhaps she was having a bad day and took it out on your child. I think you did your best to apologize and should use this as a learning opportunity about diversity, and about tact like other posters had suggested.
post #55 of 102
Hey, one more thing from me!

I am careful, when I tell DD not to comment on people's appearances, to make sure she knows that being fat, being really short, etc. is not WRONG. It is not a bad thing to be fat, to be really short, etc.-- we just need not comment on how people look, esp. to their face. I understand children compare just for the sake of comparing (w/o judgment most of the time) and there is nothing wrong with that either in the privacy of our home.

Example: As a teacher, I had a student say, "Teacher, he said I look Chinese!" I explained that that is not an insult-- there is nothing wrong with looking Asian. What message would I have given if I said, "Oh, no! You must not say things like that!"
post #56 of 102
I think there is a big difference in pointing out traits and calling names. This was calling someone a name.
post #57 of 102
Jade, don't get upset. Anything can raise a fuss at MDC. I had someone call me out in another thread because I didn't like my almost 5 year old drawing on the wall with a black marker and I said it looked like crap. You just never know!

All you can do it talk with your son. It's funny because this thread came about today and I was feeling like I've really had some good talks with my son about not blurting out things that could be rude. Well, we were in our landlord's office about 30 mins ago and he blurts out, "It STINKS in here!"

He was right, it did. But it's a tough lesson to teach to keep those comments to yourself. We are STILL struggling with it.

post #58 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyGrace View Post
I think there is a big difference in pointing out traits and calling names. This was calling someone a name.
I don't agree with this. It seems to me like the child in question simply used a word he didn't know was offensive (something many adults here said they also didn't know) to refer to the fact that the person was short-statured.

Very different from name calling, in my book.
post #59 of 102
Thread Starter 
I just asked my ds about what he actually said to the lady, and he started crying. "Please don't talk about the fair!" he said. I guess he notices and is affected by more than I thought. I took it as a good chance to have a more in-depth conversation with him about why people are all different, and that it's OK. But he wouldn't tell me what he said. So my other ds said "He pointed at her and said 'you're a midget.'" I think it was more of an observation than name-calling. Still, it bothered her, and I explained to both of them why. I really think it made an impact on him, and I don't believe it will happen again. At least until my dd gets a little older and I have to have this talk all over again. I have learned that I will have the talk before something like this happens again.
post #60 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
oh for the days when a child said to someone, "you are fat" and the person just answered, "yes I am."
:

In my experience (ds1 is 5) kids say it as they see it, no malice intended at all its us as adults who have hang ups around words.
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