Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson — notable for saying he feared that Guam might capsize if it became too populated during a 2010 House Armed Services Committee hearing — apologized Thursday in a rambling floor speech for using the “m-word.”
According to Johnson, the “m-word,” which he will never say again (though accidentally slipped in the middle of his apology), is “midget.”
“Last night I used an analogy that some find offensive, and I certainly was not meaning to be offensive or use a derogatory term,” he said.
Johnson was apologizing for a metaphor he used Wednesday when talking about the labor situation in Michigan, asking the time-tested question, “What happens when you put in a cage fight a giant with a midget?”
“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,” Johnson said, according to CQ Roll Call. “But if you put 30 midgets in with that giant, then the midgets have a chance.”
Johnson explained that to his “discovery, just within the last 12 hours or so, I have found that the us of the midget — um, excuse me — the use of the ‘m-word’ is no longer socially acceptable. Now the ‘m-word’ refers to a group of people — the ‘little people,'” he said clarifying that by “little people” he was referring to dwarfism or “abnormally small people.”
He explained that his use of the “m-word” was “out of ignorance and not spite or hatred.”
Johnson directed people to find out more about “unusually small people” at the website lpaonline.org — the Little People of America.