Sunday, February 27, 2011

What would you do?

"What would you do?" is a prime time program on the ABC Network. The program creates situations in order to put average people into controversial situations in which they are forced to make a decision. Usually the decision involves either turning the other way, in so doing enabling a perpetrator to get away with questionable actions, or standing up to the perpetrator. The episode last week involved scenarios submitted by the public. Casey Hubelbank, a member of Little People of America, pitched a scenario that was chosen by the program. The scenario involved what many little people are familiar with and what has been written about on this blog a few times -- little people as the subject of uninvited photos.

Casey's pitch was successful and ABC taped a scene that involved the picture taking scenario. The scene ran in last week's episode.

The scenario was much more extreme than most I have experienced. Usually, strangers try to sneak a picture from a car or behind your back. In the scenario shared on television, the perpetrators made no secret about their intentions. For purposes of television, ABC probably needed to go with an extreme situation.

I applaud Casey for approaching ABC with the idea and I applaud ABC for pursuing the idea. On the day of the program and immediately following the program, many Facebook friends of mine who are little people posted comments about the program on their wall. They thanked Casey for bringing attention to an issue faced by many, many little people. Many who posted remarked that they, at some point in their lives, had been forced to deal with a similar situation. Though we all know the experience is common to little people, watching as the issue was addressed on television was empowering. In a way, validated our frustrations and identified the scenario on prime time television, not as the unfortunate collateral damage of curiosity, but as harassment. Also, just as shows like "Little People Big World" have removed ignorance as an excuse for using the word 'midget,' this episode of "What would you do?" will help deny the perpetrators of harassment against little people any justification.


  1. Hi Gary

    It is not only dwarfs that get that stares in
    supermarkets. Tall people regularly get stares
    too, especially if they act "strangely".

    I am 34 years old chronologically, but chronological age doesn't mean much in my case,
    because I have high functioning Autism / Severe
    Asperger's Syndrome. Emotionally and socially,
    I am like a 4 1/2 to 5 year old. That doesn't
    mean that I have low intelligence. I sometimes
    will act like a 5 year old without even knowing
    that I am acting like one. Because I am 5
    feet 11 inches tall, if I behave like a little
    kid, then I get stares. Have I been stared at
    in the supermarket? Yes. Have I been stared at
    in restaurants? Yes. Have I been stared at in
    the toy store? Yes. I hear people who are
    4 feet 10 inches tall who have mild Autism
    and act like 16 year olds and they are annoyed
    that they get thrown children's menus at
    restaurants. Well, how about the other way
    around? How about severely mentally handicapped
    people who have low IQs? Just because they
    look "normal" on the outside, does that mean
    automatically they should act like a "mature
    Adult". How in the heck does this make any
    sense?? Why should I be expected to act like
    an adult just because of my size, when I am
    like a 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 something year old???

    (contiinued on in next message)..

  2. If I was a proportionate dwarf, and maybe if
    I actually looked like a 4 1/2 year old (There
    are a few proportionate dwarfs that actually
    do look like children), do you think that I
    would be getting those stares? Do you think
    people would be judgemental of me?? Don't
    you think other people would just look at me
    and think "well, what a cute 4 year old" and
    leave me alone like any good decent human
    being would upon seeing a 4 year old playing
    with toys at the market?? I can't hold a job
    because of my Autism, but I volunteer
    working with preschool aged children at
    Preschooler Storytime at one of my local
    libraries. My friend who is a children's librarian there mentioned this when I told her
    about how people expect me to behave like
    an adult just because I'm big. She said that
    even with children it's like that. If you have
    a big 1 year old that looks more like a 3
    year old, if they act like a 1 year old they
    will get weird looks too, like why does he
    sound like a baby. Whereas he is supposed to
    behave like a baby because he IS a baby that
    is 12 months old, versus a child who is 36
    months. Same thing goes for children who are
    36 months old and are small - the other way
    around. And then how about developmentally
    disabled children - eg. a 6 year old with
    Autism or Down Syndrome that acts like a 2
    year old.

    I am tall, and I'm the tallest person in my
    whole extended family (in 20 people); my
    family is Chinese heritage. Being this tall
    has been a real disadvantage for me. The only
    advantage I can see is that I sometimes
    reach high shelves to get things for my Mom
    (although sometimes I even have to use a ladder,
    so big deal). Other than that...honestly, I'd
    rather be 3 feet 4 inches and 38 lbs and have
    the degree of Autism that I have, rather than
    be 5 feet 11 inches and 172 lbs like I am and
    have Autism, like I am in my present shape.
    I still watch Barney, watched Teletubbies until
    they stopped showing it on PBS, watch Arthur
    sometimes. I love Maurice Sendak's Little Bear
    and the Care Bears (both 1985 version and
    2003 rebirth). When I go to amusement parks,
    I can't even ride on any rides, because I
    am too big to get on kiddie rides (usually their
    height limitation is 54 inches, although they
    probably don't pay attention if you are a little
    over - I have friends with Asperger's who are
    21 years old and 5 feet tall, and they can get
    on them. But not me). I am too terrified to go
    on roller coasters (I tried to ride them when
    I was younger, but I never liked it, been on
    several), and I can't ride on kiddie rides,
    so in parks like Six Flags or at Cedar Fair
    parks, I end up riding on nothing. I hate that
    and the only amusement park I can actually
    enjoy is Disneyland - because there are no
    height restrictions for Dumbo The Flying Elephant or for The Mad Hatter's Tea Cups.
    But I live quite aways from Disneyland, so
    I get to go there once in maybe a decade, or

    I'm just telling you there are 2 sides to
    everything. I have heard of people with
    Autism who had it so severe they stopped
    growing at age 5 and look like 5 year olds at
    age 18 or 25. I would not mind that at all,
    in my case. I hate being tall!!

    Thanks so much

    Best regards
    Codi Preston from California