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Democratic Congressman Delivers Lengthy Apology For Using The Word ‘Midget’ On House Floor

Dem. Congressman Delivers Lengthy Apology For Using 'Midget' On House Floor

Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson is really sorry for using the word “midget” yesterday when describing the Michigan labor union situation.

In a somewhat verbose apology speech on the House floor this afternoon, the Georgia-based congressman apologized for rhetorically asking yesterday: “What happens when you put a giant with a midget in a cage fight?” He was using the “m-word” to describe how unfair a fight he felt the Michigan unions faced against the forces in favor of a “right-to-work” state.

“Last night I used an analogy that some find offensive. And I certainly was not meaning to be offensive or use a derogatory term,” the congressman began, before likening the word “midget” to another pejorative word: “You know, everybody knows what the ‘n-word’ is … We don’t say the ‘n-word,’ we refer to that word as the ‘n-word.’ I had never heard of the ‘m-word.'”

Johnson went on to explain how he recently learned about the hurtful past behind the m-word: “It was at one time socially acceptable. But to my discovery, just within the last 12 hours or so, I have found that the use of the of the ‘m-word is no longer socially acceptable. Now, the ‘m-word’ refers to a group of people, the little people.”

What does he mean by “little people”? Well, he explained in sort of rambly fashion:

“When we say little people, I’m not talking about the Helmsley little people; I’m not talking about the 47%; I’m not talking about the takers instead of the makers as some would describe them; I’m not talking about the middle class, working people, poor people, working poor people — that’s not what is meant by the little people term. It really refers to a medical condition, dwarfism is the name of that medical condition, and sometimes I guess one can even say abnormally small people, abnormally small people which to me is — I like that term better than dwarfism.”

He then delivered the actual apology: “I wanted to say to all of those who may have been offended by my use of the term the ‘m-word,’ I want you to know that it was out of ignorance and not spite or hatred that I used that term and please know that I will never use that term again.”

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) agreed, adding that “we should all learn what to say so as not to offend people.”

“It’s a learning moment for me and perhaps many others out there,” Johnson concurred, before adding that he has “been awakened to the sensitivities involved and so anyone who I offended has my deepest apology.”

“But,” he concluded, “the analogy that I used — even though it used the wrong wording, it was a great analogy in my personal opinion.”

Watch below, via CSPAN:

[h/t Washington Post]
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