Why No One Tosses Dwarves
I don’t mean to make light of a serious issue. What happened to Martin Henderson and others like him is reprehensible. I also recognize that someone has already googled all of the dwarf tossing stories on the web and is prepared to flame me in the comments section. But wait. I said, we don’t toss DWARVES, not DWARFS. That’s an important distinction I think because Dwarves are treated differently and viewed differently in our collective cultural consciousness than Dwarfs, who are sometimes referred to as Little People, or the worst name of all, midgets.
Dwarves are heroes, they feature prominently in literature as craftsmen, explorers and fierce warriors who even if they may not be pleasant company are NEVER looked at with contempt.
disclaimer: I do realize that dwarves is actually bad grammar according to Tolkien, who coined the phrase. BUT since nobody ever says or hears the word dwarrows (unless you’re a Dennis McKiernan fan who can’t spell) I’m sticking with dwarves.
Back to my point. We look up to Dwarves and go out of our way to play as them in RPGs and movies.
Dwarfs on the other hand, are arguably the last demographic that it is safe to ridicule. As a member of a culture group that has endured its share of discrimination over the past four hundred years, I feel the rage and frustration that my brothers and sisters of less than average height feel.
How can someone see you and automatically assume based upon your physical characteristics that it’s okay to say and do hateful things to you? That it’s okay because since you’re laughing, you get the joke and you’re not uptight about it?
Perception I guess.
The divide between the Dwarf peoples of mythology and the dwarf we may actually encounter on the street is so great that Peter Jackson digitally shrank tall actors rather than put real dwarfs in the hobbit and dwarf costumes! I suppose it’s a step forward that they used the bodies of Little People and just digitally imposed the faces of A -list actors on them for “Snow White and the Huntsman” but really? Again, perception.
Read the dictionary definition of Dwarves: In Germanic mythology, a dwarf is a being that dwells in mountains and in the earth, and is variously associated with wisdom, smithing, mining, and crafting.
Now contrast that with Wikipedia’s definition for Dwarfs or Little People, “Dwarfism /ˈdwɔrfɪzəm/ occurs when an individual person or animal is short in stature resulting from a medical condition caused by abnormal (slow or delayed) growth.”
So we begin by stating that people with dwarfism are abnormal. Abnormal. Hmm.
When was the last time that a description of basketball star Lebron James began by discussing the health risks that his height entails or how abnormal the Houston Rockets’ Jeremy Lin’s 6’3″ height is when his parents are 5’6″?
Before you say that doesn’t apply, consider that every member of the Baka people in Africa would probably be astounded to discover that they are all afflicted with a medical condition caused by abnormal or delayed growth. So would any of the other short stature people groups in Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Andaman Islands, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, Brazil for that matter. But here, they would all be able to apply for membership in Little People of America as would 4’10″ bodybuilder Flavio Baccianini seen to the right posing against Lou Ferrigno.
Geez people. How about we change perception and start by looking at people as people?
Want to read about a dwarf hero that’s not in a fantasy book? Check out Pit Stop on Amazon Kindle as Zac Matthews and Mya Rodriguez take on thugs in Alabama while riding a custom motorcycle!