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#61 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 04:24 PM
 
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So Carnival workers don't deserve respect?
If you choose to intentionally go out of your way to put yourself in the environment that would most closely be associated with that word, and then use it as an opportunity to lash out at children - No, you don't deserve that much respect.
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#62 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 04:27 PM
 
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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.
exactly
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#63 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 04:47 PM
 
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See, the things with hurting feelings is, it doesn't always matter what your intent is. The hurt feelings are valid whether or not you THINK a term is offensive, and likewise, whether or not you MEANT to be offensive. And just because you are an out loud and proud self-id'ing midget (or, fat person / ugly person / bald person / legless person / etc etc ETC) doesn't mean it's not valid for someone who isn't to be hurt by being called out by a stranger about it.

I'd love to insert racist or classist or ablist remarks here and see how well some of these posts would hold up. Like, "dude, he's only 4, he doesn't know what the N word means. GET OVER IT!" or "geez, whaddya expect... an Indian taking tickets at the National Teepee Making Festival has GOT to expect to get some comments - what are they, an idiot or something for taking that job?!" or "hellllooooooo?! the man has no legs. what the heck is he doing trying to sell snow shoes? duh!!!"
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#64 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 04:55 PM
 
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If you want to try to draw the race parallel...

There's a big difference between a five-year-old saying, "Your skin is very dark" vs. saying "You're a n******."

The first is, I think, what this child did. Have the child apologize for unintentionally hurting the woman's feelings, explain what caused the hurt feelings, and everybody (including the woman whose feelings were hurt) can learn tolerance and diversity.

If posters are truly seeing that the child here was using a hateful slur on purpose, then this is a whole different thread than what I think it is.
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#65 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 04:57 PM
 
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I disagree. I think saying you are very small would be like saying your skin is very dark.

I don't think a child used a hateful word on purpose though.

Where would this child even hear the word midget?

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#66 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 05:04 PM
 
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I totally disagree. The child DID use an offensive term to that woman. It WAS a slur.

The fact that he didn't "mean it" honestly is largely besides the point. The woman heard a highly offensive term come out of his mouth.

(The fact that I look at both of my very verbal 5 year-old kids and guarantee that NEITHER of them would recognize the term "midget" if they fell on it, is I do think another discussion. The noun midget is pretty much only ever used in an offensive way, and even to use it as an adjective, I mean, how many of us can say we've heard it used as an adjective in a positive way? http://www.answers.com/midget&r=67 I'd want to know who taught this word to my son because I think the chances are good that if it's an ongoing influence, more choice terms might come along with it.)
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#67 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 05:07 PM
 
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<nevermind>

If you choose to be an ambassador in the location that is most likely to provoke the most common misconceptions, and you are not capable of doing it to the point that small children arouse you to rage, then perhaps as an adult she should reconsider her choice of employment.
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#68 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 05:18 PM
 
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<nevermind>

If you choose to be an ambassador in the location that is most likely to provoke the most common misconceptions, and you are not capable of doing it to the point that small children arouse you to rage, then perhaps as an adult she should reconsider her choice of employment.
I seriously doubt most people working at carnivals have the luxury of that option, especially those who face inherent discrimination due to having a very small stature.

I am not blaming the child, but I don't want to blame her either.

As for this:
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oh for the days when a child said to someone, "you are fat" and the person just answered, "yes I am."
when were those days?

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#69 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 05:23 PM
 
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I disagree. I think saying you are very small would be like saying your skin is very dark.

I don't think a child used a hateful word on purpose though.

Where would this child even hear the word midget?
Maybe from an adult who was unaware that it is offensive? I wonder if there's a bit of a disconnect here between people who live in more and less diverse areas. Where I live now, people tend to be a bit less politically correct, older people in particular. There's no ill intent, just a lack of exposure.

ZM
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#70 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 05:27 PM
 
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And do you think that if the child was using a deragatory term because that child has been exposed to it in their home by their parents, that it then would be okay to rage at a child?

It isn't common knowledge. Even if it were, if the child does hear it at home, taking it out on the child for doing what the parents are enforcing is both unkind and maybe even psychologically dangerous to the child.

Again. Just because she is SMALL does not make her not RESPONSIBLE. By relieving her of the responsibility to act as an adult, you are NOT helping her "cause."
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#71 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 05:31 PM
 
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If you are talking to me, I never said it would be okay to rage at a child or that the woman was right for screaming.

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#72 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We live in a small farming town, and many people here (including my dh's family who all grew up here) use a lot of racial slurs and other negative terms that make my skin crawl. I hate it, but these are things they have been saying their entire lives without thinking about the true meaning. It took me many years to realize what the term "jew them down" meant in regards to prices. Some people here (where I live) still use terms like that that I find offensive, and I am not Jewish or African-American.
And now that I think about it, I remember a time a few years ago when by sil and her husband asked us to go to a "Midget Wrestling" match. That was what it was called. I was horrified, and said no way. Even if the people are doing this of their own free will, I still find it very offensive that there are people going there just to get drunk and laugh at the little people wrestling. The world is a sick place.
I hope that by talking to my children I can help them to not be like that. I long for it desperately. I can't keep them at home with me in a bubble forever.

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#73 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 05:46 PM
 
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Yes, but what if the 5 year old called you a n****** or a sp***?
If it was done maliciously, I might be offended. If it was done innocently, I wouldn't be offended at all.

Now that I think about it, when I was about 8 years old, my mother heard me saying "eeny meeny miney mo" complete with the N-word. No one got offended or upset with me. Obviously, I hadn't called anyone that name, but I used a very powerful word, so they simply told me what a terrible word it was and never, ever to use it. It really was a learning moment for me because I was simply reciting something in innocence.

This child said, "Hey, you're a midget" and didn't mean anything bad by it. I must be tough to have to deal with that, but it's not worth anyone's time or emotion to get upset about it when it's a small child using new language in innocence.

Midget was a medical term. In fact, it's the one I learned when I was in grad school. It was used to differentiate between being proportionally small and being out of proportion (dwarfism). There are many, many adults who consider the term dwarf to be more offensive than midget.

Being upset doesn't teach the lesson better than simple patience, and it's better for your stress levels.
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#74 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 05:53 PM
 
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If my 5-year-old says something, as kids that age do, and accidentally offends someone, I apologize for her, and explain to her why it hurt the person's feelings. I don't make her apologize herself because that is a shaming-style punishment, and it's punishing for something a child doesn't yet understand - kids that age just say what they've heard.

It's an opportunity for education. It is not intentional misbehavior.
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#75 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 07:01 PM
 
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I think some people in this thread are overly identifying with the aggressor-- the adut. The main victim here is the child. The adult is this case was wrong to treat a child that way, not to mention highly immature. One does not educate a small child by frightening them, making them cry, or treating them poorly. Because the adult felt 'vcitimized' by a small child, doesn't mean the child set out to harm them.

Educating a small child is one thing, being cruel to them is quite another. The adult acted wrongly, even if the child said something with, or without understanding.

Thoughtful adults don't throw children under the bus when they make mistakes.
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#76 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 07:02 PM
 
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I think some people in this thread are overly identifying with the aggressor-- the adult. The victim here is the child. The adult is this case was wrong, and highly immature. One does not educate a small child by frightening him, making her cry, or treating a tender, growing heart poorly. Because the adult felt 'victimized' (and maybe they did or maybe this person just doesn't like kids) by a small child, doesn't mean the child set out to do harm.

Educating a small child is one thing, being cruel to them is quite another. The adult acted wrongly, even if the child said something with, or without understanding.

Thoughtful adults don't throw children under the bus when they make mistakes.
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#77 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 07:24 PM
 
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I think the lady overreacted.
She could have taken that time to say thats not a very nice word to call me, I do have dwarfism or whatever there diagnosis is. I think it would be great if people TALKED to kids instead of hushing them and telling them they are not going to ride a ride because they said something that they may not know what it means.

A 5 year old does not need to be in trouble for saying something he has no idea what it means, he needs to be educated on what is the correct word or why he should not say whatever he has said.
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#78 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 07:55 PM
 
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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.
EXACTLY!!!

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#79 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 07:59 PM
 
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Since I live in the same small town that the op does, I have to admit that until a few years ago I had no idea that it was "jew them down." I didn't get it. I said it, but I had absolutely no idea that it referred to Jewish people. Honestly, I still probably use that phrase b/c I don't associate it w/Jewish people.

I think this whole thread got a little carried away. The op did talk to her ds. She did her best.

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#80 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 08:35 PM
 
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North American Hockey League has a midget level (youth level). There's also midget baseball and basketball (and just to really rock this thread, there's a Swift Current Midget Indians baseball team http://www.swbooster.com/index.cfm?sid=44609&sc=32). There is also midget-car racing. "Midget" is not universally a slur, and a five year old boy who likes cars or sports may very well have come across it in an entirely positive context.

What was the boys intent - the innocence of a child whose mouth followed his mind. IMO, it's important to discuss with children, and model, that we don't make personal remarks ("personal remarks are always in bad taste" was the phrase I was raised with). Compliments, sure; but not idle remarks about appearance.

I would have been mortified if my child said it, but also recognize it as a learning moment. I would not have imposed a huge resolution process with a lot of discussion and explanation, that would be time consuming and potentially embarassing both to the offended/hurt person and my child. I would have simply said to the woman that I was very sorry and that I was sure my son did not understand the word and meant no ill intent. Then I would have privately spoken with my son. Finis.

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#81 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 08:38 PM
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Personally, I think the 5 year old (what's that? Kindergarten? 1st grade maybe?) should have been publicly flogged in front of everyone there. By that ripe age, he should have known that "midget" is a slur and not insulted that employee.
:

As far as where he heard it-I hear it often, on the radios "Sad news, SoAndSo, a midget who starred in Wizard of Oz, died last night of xyz", Midget Wrestling gags, my instructor at college talking about the special health considerations of midgets, etc. Or possibly from a well meaning, but clueless adult in the child's life. (This is part of what makes such a large difference between "midget" and "n*gg*r")


An example-My son is biracial-half black, half white. The term "mulato" is a slur. A highly insulting slur. I try my best to remember that not everyone realizes that (as I'm sure many reading this right now didn't), and use the opportunity--as an adult and someone with class--to educate. My son's pediatrician, who I love, said something like "Well, it's hard to see if there's much discoloration because he's mulato" without a hint of maliciousness. I almost had to laugh at how clueless he was. So I explained "C, that's a slur. Big no no! The right word is biracial". He was so embarassed! He apologized, and thanked me for preventing him from making the same mistake with other families in the practice.

Now, which was better-that, or if I blew up and said "That's it! You're not treating my child. This visit is over-I'm getting a new doctor!" and stormed out, making a big scene in front of other patients? He'd have had NO idea what went wrong, and I would have come off as a bit reactionary, no?

That term bothers me, and I'd be pissed at anyone who told me to get over it or lighten up, etc. I am entitled to my feelings, as was this woman. But there's a way to go about things, a way to use sense to interpret situations, and she was way off base.

And no, it's not always our job to educate the public. It shouldn't be our burden. But if I'm going to take offense to a term, I make the choice to be proactive in irradicating the usage of said term. IMO, it's more beneficial than leaving in a huff.

Now, if someone is using a term to knowingly hurt someone, or just because they refuse to accept that the term hurts others, then that's a different story.

Kae


PS-I'm thinking the manager offered the tickets in part because this carnival worker way overstepped her job description as someone who gets paid to do something pretty simple--Collect a ticket, Assist the child on the Ride. There's no judgement involved, no deciding who goes on and who doesn't (unless the person were drunk, under or over the height limit, being abusive, etc). She was way out of bounds, threatening a child/mother with that, trying to pull rank and use her "power" to punish a child who didn't know any better. Because of that, the OP was right to accept the 20 tickets gratis.
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#82 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 08:42 PM
 
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I think this whole thread got a little carried away. The op did talk to her ds. She did her best.
Yes, this thread did get carried away the moment the below post appeared.

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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.
I am still shocked that this attitude is not called what it is - bigotry. And that other posters agreed with it just leaves me shaking my head.

She told the child what he said was insulting. And, I will agree that it was bad judgement on her part to say that she didn't have to let him on the ride. But, she did let him on the ride. And, I don't think her stating "that's very insulting" is any cause to state that she basically deserved what she got. What a sad world we live in if it is.

Nobody was saying the child didn't deserve compassion. But, those sticking up for the woman were simply saying that she deserves it as well.

The best way to teach empathy and compassion is to have it, folks.

But, I do agree that the op really handled it in the best way she could at the moment. I'm sure being shocked about what was unfolding before her gave her little time to think.

And, just because you live in a small town doesn't make phrases like "jew them down" acceptable. I grew up in upstate NY, too, in a much smaller town than Oneota, and I really don't think location makes it acceptable to continue to spout offensive statements. The 'just because everyone else here says it" excuse is pretty lame.
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#83 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 08:45 PM
 
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North American Hockey League has a midget level (youth level). There's also midget baseball and basketball (and just to really rock this thread, there's a Swift Current Midget Indians baseball team http://www.swbooster.com/index.cfm?sid=44609&sc=32). There is also midget-car racing. "Midget" is not universally a slur, and a five year old boy who likes cars or sports may very well have come across it in an entirely positive context.

What was the boys intent - the innocence of a child whose mouth followed his mind. IMO, it's important to discuss with children, and model, that we don't make personal remarks ("personal remarks are always in bad taste" was the phrase I was raised with). Compliments, sure; but not idle remarks about appearance.

I would have been mortified if my child said it, but also recognize it as a learning moment. I would not have imposed a huge resolution process with a lot of discussion and explanation, that would be time consuming and potentially embarassing both to the offended/hurt person and my child. I would have simply said to the woman that I was very sorry and that I was sure my son did not understand the word and meant no ill intent. Then I would have privately spoken with my son. Finis.
Yes sports have midget teams, but it has nothing to do with little people. I don't see how he could make that connection.

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#84 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 08:46 PM
 
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If my 5-year-old says something, as kids that age do, and accidentally offends someone, I apologize for her, and explain to her why it hurt the person's feelings. I don't make her apologize herself because that is a shaming-style punishment, and it's punishing for something a child doesn't yet understand - kids that age just say what they've heard.

It's an opportunity for education. It is not intentional misbehavior.
Yes, this.

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#85 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 08:47 PM
 
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I'm reading words like "rage," "screaming," and "cruel" to describe the woman's behavior toward the boy. Am I missing something? As I understand it, the woman's exchange with the boy went like this:

Boy: You're a midget.
Woman: That's insulting.

I think I read all the responses -- did I miss a significant one?

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#86 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 08:53 PM
 
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I'm reading words like "rage," "screaming," and "cruel" to describe the woman's behavior toward the boy. Am I missing something? As I understand it, the woman's exchange with the boy went like this:

Boy: You're a midget.
Woman: That's insulting.

I think I read all the responses -- did I miss a significant one?
Thank you, Limabean. I was thinking the same thing. I went back and reread the OP just to make sure I hadn't missed something. She was hardly "screaming", "raging" and "cruel".
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#87 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 08:54 PM
 
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And, just because you live in a small town doesn't make phrases like "jew them down" acceptable. I grew up in upstate NY, too, in a much smaller town than Oneota, and I really don't think location makes it acceptable to continue to spout offensive statements. The 'just because everyone else here says it" excuse is pretty lame.
You are wrong to assume that I am from upstate NY. I am not from Oneota, NY. You are also wrong to assume that I'm saying it's acceptable to say "jew them down."

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#88 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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Honestly, I still probably use that phrase b/c I don't associate it w/Jewish people.

Wow, doesn't this mean you think it's acceptable to use this phrase? Just because you don't associate it with Jewish people does not mean that is not what the phrase means. It's an offensive phrase no matter how you slice it.

My mistake on Oneota - I just assumed on that one. It's such a unique name, I thought there was only one.
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#89 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 09:06 PM
 
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Yes sports have midget teams, but it has nothing to do with little people. I don't see how he could make that connection.
It refers to "small" - small players or small cars. He's five - he may have played with a friend's midget cars (small cars), and he's generalizing the term midget to simply mean small. In the dictionary, midget includes small as definitional. My point is that he could have heard this term in an entirely different, and innocent, context (unlike the compared term n*****, which arguably would never be innocent). I think we're getting sidetracked by the term used and assuming that it was a slur, rather than that he was simply making a five year old observation about something new to him.

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#90 of 102 Old 07-25-2007, 09:13 PM
 
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Just a friendly mod reminder to keep the thread on topic and within the UA Please don't give me extra work to do tonight, I have tons of school work to do

"Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." Ralph Marston

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