NOT YOUR OOMPA LOOMPA
In the last few days many folks have been posting the Oompa Loompa meme that jokes that you’d like to see the Oompa Loompa’s come and escort out each member of the Trump administration on the event of t their departure.
At first I ignored it, as I tend to do initially at things that poke fun at little people. (Stop, I don’t want to hear you start with how this mocks Trump folks instead. This is a time for YOU to learn. So learn.) But within a day or so it was everywhere. Activists who work on issues tied to LGBTQIA equality, immigrant rights, police/state violence, environmental justice, it was pretty much showing up across the social justice space. Even other folks in the disability rights space were sharing it.
The Oompa Loompa imagery is offensive to a large percentage of the dwarfism community. They lack agency, they lack an individual identity, they happily work their days away for free for an Average Height man. When Average Height people want to demean Little People, it’s one of the “go to” insults. (And please, don’t think about saying “not all average height people.”)
I did not see one Little Person post it.
I find myself actively wondering now how I inhabit the same space as you — the fact you think a dated stereotype of little people is funny. You work alongside me, I may have done targeted outreach to your community while I worked at the White House, I march with you at the injustice your community faces. We work together every day fighting for all of our collective freedom. But after all this time, you don’t see me. Not really.
When you choose to respond with well “I don’t see you that way (as a little person)” it also tells me how little you actually see me. You may feel like you see me as a person but you don’t see the day-to-day oppression I face. Although I tell you about the people who take photos and or videos of me against my will, you don’t hear me. You don’t listen to me when I tell you about the the person who follows me down the street and physically manhandles me so they can pray for their God to heal me. You’re almost worst than those people, because at least they see me. When you don’t see my dwarfism, you do not see how hard I work, you do not see what I bring to the table, as it is just as big of a part of me as your gender, your immigrant status, your race, your religion, your preferred pronoun is to you. You might share the articles about ADAPT protesting on the hill to save YOUR healthcare, but you don’t see their disabilities and think about what it means for them to put their LIVES on the line for you, to not see them.
Most of you are also big fans of Game of Thrones. You’re the “hey Becca, how about that Tyrion? He’s amazing! Best thing on tv!” You cannot rep Tyrion Lannister AND Oompa Loompas and when you try, it gives me a crystal clear picture of your hypocrisy. I kinda feel like since Trump is one of YOURS, perhaps YOU need to get the Kardashians or some other train wreck average height folks to walk him off.
The ADA turns 27 in 4 days. 27 years and we still have to remind you to show us some damn respect. Before it turns 28, I challenge you to take some time to see, and listen to your disabled colleagues. #notyourpunchline