Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) wants everyone to know he’s sincerely sorry for using the word “midget” on the House floor this week.
He didn’t know that the term could be offensive. So when he went on the House floor Wednesday and used a “giants” vs. “midgets” analogy to decry Michigan’s new right-to-work law, Johnson had no clue the outrage he would spur.
“I was thinking to myself earlier today, what happens when you put in a cage fight a giant with a midget?” Johnson said then. “Well, the midget will not win the fight. I'm going to tell you that. Why? He just doesn't carry enough weight to do so. But if you put 30 midgets in with that giant, then the midgets have a chance.”
Not even 24 hours later, Johnson took to the House floor again to express his contrition.
“I had never heard of the m word … it's a word also that describes a group of people and it, at one time, has been commonly used as a descriptive term,” Johnson said Thursday afternoon. “But to my discovery, just within the last 12 hours or so, I have found that the use of the ‘midget’ — oh, excuse me, the use of the m word — is no longer socially acceptable.”
He likened his use of the “m word” to the once-common use of the “n word,” which Johnson noted used to be “socially acceptable” but is no longer.
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