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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Little people

Another group with a big image problem turns to the government for help:

Little People of America, at its annual conference in Brooklyn this week, has called for the Federal Communications Commission to ban the use of the word "midget" on broadcast TV.

"The word 'midget' objectifies you," said Clinton Brown, 27, of Hicksville, who co-chaired this year's conference at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott in Downtown Brooklyn. "Growing up as a little person, because you're different, you experience the ups and downs of some cruelties and prejudices. How many times have people I don't know come up to me and wanted to pick me up?"

If I were one of those cruel, prejudiced people who wanted to pick up Clinton, I don't know that thinking of him as a "little person" rather than a "midget" would make much difference. We seldom change the thinking patterns of those inclined to demeaning objectifying by trying to limit the words they use. The cruelties, intentional or otherwise, will merely migrate from the old phrase to the new one. Yesterday's "handicapped" are today's "differently abled" and the world still turns in the same, old indifferent way.

But that's an old debate we've engaged in many times. The pertinent question today is: What does any of that have to do with the apotheosis of Michael Jackson, which is falling waya behind schedule? It's already nearly two weeks since his death and the best anybody's come up with so far is "the greatest entertainer that ever lived." Come on, we can do better than that!