Friday, May 1, 2009

Matt is Ok with the word midget - Interesting article

There is a very interesting which is actually dated December 2008. As this blog noted, in the Celebrity Apprentice article, in the last year it has been noticeable that the Roloffs have been changing their stance about being offended by language and the word "midget".

In this article, Matt goes a step further and states the disability movement is hyper-sensitive about language. He states that he doesn't care if someone uses the word midget as long as they aren't doing it ridicule.

"Roloff noted that the entire disability movement "has a hypersensitivity about language. I don't care much whether someone uses the term dwarf, midget or little person. It's the attitude of the person that's important. Now if someone uses 'midget' like Jimmy Kimmel did, I really take exception."


In 2003, Kimmel ended his Fox News show by saying: "Aren't midgets fun? Everyone should own one." That crass crack is seared in the memory of many people with dwarfism.

While it's sometimes good not to get too upset, especially that some people - such as Robert Ebert in the excellent article Jen Montzingo discussed, honestly don't know that "midget" was offensive, this is really such a different stance on the issue for Matt and the Roloffs. One of the first things the Roloffs did on their show was teach society that the word midget should not be used. Amy and Matt discussed the subject when they were on the Oprah show. They informed Oprah and the audience that the word midget is out and should not be used to describe them. Amy suggested 'little person' or 'short-stature'.

In the book, Little Family, Big Values, Jeremy is quoted as saying he always corrects people when he hears somebody say the word midget.

As we noted, the Roloffs have in the last 8 or 9 months been changing their stance on the issue of language and being offended by it, but it really did catch me off guard to see Matt actually say that it does not matter if someone calls him a midget as long as they aren't doing it in the 'ownership, you aren't a real person' sense. In my opinion, it's such departure from their previous message.

It's an interesting article that is worth the read.


http://www.itodaynews.com/december2008/dwarfism.htm

17 comments:

Brandon said...

I'm so confused.

If I go to the farm next October, I can go up to Matt and Amy and say "Where's your midget son? I want to meet your midget kid."

Matt is cool with that?

I'm calling their bluff. I don't think Matt or Amy would be cool with that.

This is how they're trying to get out of being called hypocrites because of Jeremy's racist language.

They aren't hypocrites if they aren't offende by midget. It's so transparent.

Brokenwing said...

I agree it's a change, but maybe it took for Matt and Amy to see how unfairly criticized Jeremy was to realize that intent matters. Jeremy did not have a malicious intent. That's what Matt said in the article. It's the attitude of the person that matters.

Alice said...

Whoa. Matt is tossing away his own morals to save Jeremy. Getting rid of the word midget from everyday language was one of the greatest accomplishments of Matt and the show. He's tossing that away in an attempt to smooth over what Jeremy said. I'm disappointed.

Greg said...

If I call the guy yelling in that picture one pissed off midget, that's not going to piss him off even more? I'm not buying.

What are they doing in the name of Jeremy? Is it worth it. Is it so hard to say Jeremy was a stupid kid that was wrong to use those words instead of all of this back tracking.

Rap541 said...

I think the game being played here is with "offensive use". I really doubt Matt would be ok with, for example, an interview that started with "Is it difficult to do things when you're a midget?" - even though thats not an *offensive* question if "dwarf" or "little person" is subbed in.

Greg - I am not buying it either - not after the scene with Zach at the conference crossing the street getting upset over what some guy was shouting at them.

Red Baron said...

There are two possibilities here. The first is that Matt is being sincere and, having watched Jeremy's racism become detrimental to their livelihood, has rethought his own position on words. I don't hold this to be a very likely option, but anything is possible.

The second possibility is that they've been reading and paying attention (despite their claims that they don't read fan/message boards). Jeremy's behavior wasn't just wrong because he asked people not to use the word dwarf while using a few slurs of his own. It wasn't even the hypocrisy of it. It was the DEFENSE of it by his parents. It became Matt and Amy's problem when they decided to excuse it rather than publicly deal with it and that is, in my opinion, why this article strikes a nerve. It's another excuse. Another attempt to pass it off with a shrug and a "words will never hurt me...unless it's said this way." Well, guess what, Matt. Jeremy's words weren't said with good intentions and conveyed every bit as much (if not more) bad jo-jo as Kimmel's. Jeremy's words were meant to demean and stereotype, every bit as much as using the word midget in Kimmel's fashion.

What is so hard about saying, "We had to rethink our position on this and now we feel that we may have over-reacted."? What is so bloody difficult about having some humility? There's just no evident self-evaluation going on and that's disappointing.

Dana said...

No Red Baron, no.

Jeremy telling his friends "Hey whats up, N*****?" was not meant to demean.

Jeremy telling Mueller "Talk to you later, fa**** hole" is not said with a bad attitude.

Amy has said she doesn't read message boards. A blog or website looks more professional than message boards. I know lots of people who don't read forums, but read blogs because they are the same as a normal website.

"What is so hard about saying, "We had to rethink our position on this and now we feel that we may have over-reacted."? "What are you meaning? Why would they say that? How did the Roloffs over-react? They know some people like yourself over-reacted to Jeremy. The Roloffs didn't over-react. They saw what Jeremy said for what it was. Words said by a teenager to his friends in a different context. They weren't said hatefully to and about people in those groups.

Dana said...

"I am not buying it either - not after the scene with Zach at the conference crossing the street getting upset over what some guy was shouting at them."Rap what is wrong with you? Try reading what Matt said.

The scene crossing the street in Milwaukee was not okay because the guy was laughing at them because they were small. That ignorant black man crossing the street said (laughing) "Hey look at the little midgets! (Laugh Laugh)" and put his hand over their heads.

That's the same type of thing as Jimmy Kimmel said.

Rap541 said...

Try reading what I said - I think the game being played here is that any use of midget will be deemed "offensive".

Do you think - based on this interview AND on Matt's previous comments about "midget" - that Matt would be fine with people saying "There's a mdiget convention going on at that hotel" or "oh look, midgets!" or "Matt, is it difficult being a midget?"

Being fine with it means deeming it socially acceptable. That means not correcting people for calling him a midget.

That means Matt *should not* have a problem with "The Roloffs are midgets. Matt is a midget. They're a midget family."

I just don't believe it. Sorry. I've seen too many of Matt's interviews that contradict previous statements by Matt to be on the "Matt Roloff never lies" bandwagon.

Roloffsrule said...

Matt is pure genius. He called your bluff. Way to go Matt!!

Rap541 said...

Btw Dana - when you're excusing Jeremy, do you also excuse his comment:

"Not to be a gay bragging f*****t but I raped their defenses" as Jeremy using a *good* attitude?

How about Mike Detjen being "Pretty sweet, just a n-word" for doing as Jeremy asked. Do you like your kids to say "Mom was pretty, just a n-word, to pick up after us"?

How about when Jeremy referred to Mexico as "That beaner place"?

I wonder if Matt would be fine with his home being referred to as "that midget place"?

Can those of you who defend Jeremy's right to say "wassup n-word" acknowledge that some of Jeremy's racist hatefilled comments were NOT "wassup n-word"? Because really - you're not helping your arguement with " well, wassup n-word is just how kids talk" - because there were *other* things said. Like Jeremy referring to Mexico as that *beaner place*. Jeremy referring to Mike Detjen as being just like a n-word. No one ever seems willing to say " Yes, my kid calls adults who take them on trips their n-words. Its just how kids talk now so I don't correct them and neither should you. My kid can't possible know the historical ramifications of the words he's using, and as a parent, I'm not bothering to try to educate him so just plug your ears and don't you dare be offended".

Come on people. Get off the "all Jeremy said was wassup n-word". It's not true. You know its not true. Look at Jeremy's words above. Would you praise him if he said them in front of you? Or would you correct him?

Red Baron said...

Dana said...
No Red Baron, no.
What? Am I a dog?

Jeremy telling his friends "Hey whats up, N*****?" was not meant to demean. Let's go with that. What was it meant to convey, then? "Hey, brother! What's up?" If so, then why not just say, "Hey brother! What's up?" Why use the N word at all? To be cool? If to be cool, then that's pretty sad.

I'm being sincere when I ask you "Why?". Why would any child need to use that word talking to their friends? If not to demean or impress, then why? Furthermore, you (I'm assuming) are not Jeremy Roloff. How is it that you may speak towards his intent or purpose, but no one else may do the same?

Jeremy telling Mueller "Talk to you later, fa**** hole" is not said with a bad attitude. What attitude is it said with then? I really hope you're being intentionally obtuse because rationalizing this behavior is pathetic. If I say to you, "Hey Fa*** hole, let's discuss this later.", would you be cool with that? I mean no harm to you,...I don't even know you. Does my friendly manner excuse the verbage? The saddest part of this is that Jeremy, as the alleged "Christian example" that he is, couldn't think of a better way to communicate. With all the words in the English language, he chose (on MULTIPLE OCCASIONS) to go with alternatives that are at best uncouthe and at worst ugly and racist.

Amy has said she doesn't read message boards. A blog or website looks more professional than message boards. ?

I know lots of people who don't read forums, but read blogs because they are the same as a normal website. This makes absolutely no sense. One is no better than another.

"What is so hard about saying, "We had to rethink our position on this and now we feel that we may have over-reacted."? "What are you meaning? I thought that was pretty clear. Rather than use the opportunity to have Jeremy show some character and issue an apology for his language, they down-play it's potential nastiness (much as you are) and start backtracking on their stand against prejudicial speech.

Why would they say that? How did the Roloffs over-react?They over-react by swinging 180 degrees from their, alleged, principles to defend something they know isn't right (their son's attitude). In the same vein, they possibly over-reacted by taking exception to the use of the word midget by their own admission. Matt now says it's possible to use the word without malice...he wasn't saying that two years ago and, thus, he was maybe over-reacting at that time.

They know some people like yourself over-reacted to Jeremy. I don't think suggesting this speech is wrong is an over-reaction. Don't confuse reacting to the language and words as reacting to Jeremy. Additionally, don't confuse disappointment as over-reaction. There are people holding Jeremy up as Christianity itself! Is that not an over-reaction?

The Roloffs didn't over-react. They saw what Jeremy said for what it was. Words said by a teenager to his friends in a different context. They weren't said hatefully to and about people in those groups.
So says you. Many people feel differently and will not buy your rationale. Popular usage doesn't make it less inflammatory.

Red Baron said...

Also, let's say Jeremy was using the words in a congenial, friendly, non-offensive manner. Would it then be groovy for TLC to show him using such language on the show or would you object? Would it be "Family friendly" or benign? Would you consider him a true representative of Christ? Because, you should...if you truly believe your statement that he meant them without malice and the words can be said with casual indifference, then you should have no objection to their usage on the show.

Brandon said...

Red Baron, I agree with everything you said, great job! Except for one thing.

I think blogs are read by more people than message boards. Blogs in their style are more like online newspaper columns. People google something. An article comes up and they read it.

There are comments attached, but it's mainly in the article format like a regular website.

Some people don't get the whole message board thing. They don't want to click on a hundred posts. They don't like the school-yard mentality (look at the example of "spit-wad" on Matt's forum.). Also the off topic nature of message boards is something some people can't get a hold of. They want to read about a topic on a tv program and see two people talking about their cats.

I would say blogs are different in a way than message boards and that there are people who read blogs but not forums.

Red Baron said...

Point taken, Brandon. ;)

Anonymous said...

Amy and Matt are a big failer when come to parent.Sad to say,i am use to it by being A proud black female. racist is alive and doing really well.

beverleejb said...

I have heard the word midget but that was used years ago when these folks were called.
But I am so happy that they are not ridiculed for their stature
I would say tall or short as that is what us humans have been called.
I am tall so that is what I hear often.
But that is okay.
It is not necessary to be cruel.
If you know their name say so but not the other name calling!
Have a heart!