For decades, this comical character has adorned the hallowed halls of Freeburg Community High School. He is a symbol of strength and drive. The true embodiment of the community’s spirit. Yet, some are demanding that he be banished forever.
The Little People of America claim this character to be offensive. He is viewed as a derogatory depiction of people with short stature. This is not the first time that the group has tried to change the mascot.
Four years ago, the LPA brought this case to the Freeburg School Board. Representatives explained the story of how the mascot came to be. In the 1930’s, a journalist coined the phrase “Mighty Midgets” after witnessing the passion and tenacity of a basketball team that was made up of very short members. The LPA came to the decision that the mascot was not meant to be offensive, but inspirational.
Nothing about the mascot has changed. So, why now? How can this mascot suddenly become offensive again after just four years?
What I find offensive is the idea of people who do not even live in the community breezing into town and demanding a change. Have they ever come to a Midget’s football game? If they had, they would see the crowd going crazy in the stands. They would hear the cheering and applause from the Midget’s adoring fans.
The Midget inspires all sports teams to play their hearts out Even if the opposing team is larger, we face them head on with no fear. When in the midst of defeat, we never give up. That is the spirit of the Mighty Midget.
I also find the reasoning behind wanting the change to be lacking. In the clip that is circulating on TV, a spokesperson for the LPA states that: “If you ever have a family with dwarfism, you are going to create an uncomfortable situation for them.” He also went on to say that bullying would ensue.
I fail to see how a cartoon mascot would make someone uncomfortable. The community would treat such a family the exact same way it treats all of the town’s residents, with respect. I also feel that the bullying comment is a complete stretch. Why is our community and its residents being judged based upon our mascot?
This mascot does not affect the livelihood of the Little People. He does not prevent anyone from living a happy and fulfilled life. So why is he the target of such hatred?
As I mentioned before, the Midget is a CARTOON character. He is completely fictional. Is the LPA planning on attacking other fictional characters as well? How about going after Disney for those scandalous dwarfs in Snow White? And they most certainly will want to go after the producers of The Wizard of Oz for the demeaning munchkins, right? We won’t even mention the despicable Oompa Loompas from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I feel that the LPA is quick to get offended. You do not hear of people with speech impediments petitioning Warner Brothers over Porky Pig. They realize that he is just a character created to bring laughter and joy to others. No one is laughing at people with speech impediments when they enjoy a Porky Pig cartoon. Much in the same way that no one is making fun of Little People by maintaining our mascot.
I believe that the Midget represents our community’s heritage. A heritage that we are proud of. Why would anyone seek to take that away?