Monday, March 24, 2008

picking your battles

About a year ago, I was biking home through some heavy traffic. Cars weren't moving much faster than I was peddling. As one car approached me, it blew its horn. The horn didn't sound like a regular car horn. It sounded more like the horn of a cartoon car, or a clown car. The car blew the horn again when it was just a few yards behind me. That's when I knew the horn was meant for me. A few moments later, as the car pulled up alongside my bike, the driver leaned across the passenger seat and took a picture of me with his cell phone. The car then turned onto a side street and drove away. I've seen what kind of videos are posted on YouTube. I didn't want to see myself on YouTube. I followed the car, eventually caught up with it at a stop light, then demanded that the driver give me his cell phone. Of course, I had little hope of getting that phone. As soon as the light turned, the driver sped away.

Later that day, as I thought about what happened, I thought a lot about midget wrestling. I used to protest outside of bars that hosted midget wrestling. I have no problem with wrestling. But when an African American wrestles, it is not called Black Wrestling; when an Islamic person wrestles, it's not called Muslim wrestling. If a little person choses to wrestle, it should be called wrestling. Otherwise, it's no different than when little people were objectified for entertainment value.

I still think midget wrestling is wrong, and when reporters ask questions about it, I will tell them what I think. But that night, I decided that I shouldn't spend any more time on little people who I believe make bad decisions. Instead, I wanted to spend time on little people who make what I believe are good decisions. I wanted to spend time sending positive messages about the community of which I am a part. It's the positive images that will cut down the number of ridiculing YouTube Videos. It's the positive images that will force a bar owner to question his or her decision to host midget wrestling.