Hank Johnson’s mea culpa on the ‘m-word’

DeKalb County Democratic U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson sought to register his indignation on the new right-to-work law in Michigan, so he strode to the floor of the House on Wednesday to make a grand metaphor about labor unions in a half-hour speech.

“What happens when you put in a cage fight a giant in with a midget? Well, the midget will not win the fight, I’m going to tell you that. Why? It 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.”

That’s why America needs organized labor, see? Because the midgets need to team up and collectively bargain, or fight the giant.

But Johnson realized today that he might have insulted some people, so he returned to the floor for an apology. The video is not embeddable yet but can be found here. Johnson compared the formally common use of the “n-word” to that of the “m-word:”

“Just within the last 12 hours or so, I have found that the use of the midget, excuse me, the use of the m-word is no longer socially acceptable. The m-word refers to a group of people, the little people, but when I say little people I’m not talking about the Leona Helmsley little people. I’m not talking about the 47 percent. I’m not talking about the takers and the makers as some would describe them. … 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 I like that term better than dwarfism. So 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 use that term and please know that I will never use that term again.”

Johnson spokesman Andy Phelan explained the reason for the apology thusly: “No group or groups reached out. He realized this morning that he used what some people feel is a prejudicial term, and he was determined to apologize and set the record straight. He used it as a teachable moment.”

Johnson advised C-SPAN viewers to go to lpaonline.org to learn more about “little people,” which is the preferred nomenclature.

- By Daniel Malloy, Political Insider

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125 comments Add your comment

History Will Teach Us if we Will Learn

December 13th, 2012
4:30 pm

Mental Midget comes to mind…

Cephas

December 13th, 2012
4:32 pm

I guess that means the Japanese used “Little People” submarines @ Pearl Harbor; or is that an anti-Asian racist stereotype?

Weetamoe

December 13th, 2012
4:39 pm

Which to me (to use the Hank’s felicitous way with words) raises the question of how many little people does it take to capsize the island of Guam–or how many little people could Obama sell to an eastern european circus to pay off he US debts?

Ric

December 13th, 2012
4:40 pm

The highlight was when he accidentally used the word “midget” while explaining that he’ll “never use that term again.”

True Representation

December 13th, 2012
4:45 pm

I must say that congressperson Johnson truly reflects the intelligence and ability of those who continue to elect him to office.

OTP

December 13th, 2012
4:46 pm

Is Johnson the guy that won the seat over that crazy woman-cannot remember her name? He seems a little cuckoo himself.

why not

December 13th, 2012
4:54 pm

Dekalb County! Nuff said.

Ben

December 13th, 2012
4:57 pm

Hank Johnson is a complete moron. Not surprising since he’s a Democrat supported by Democrats. At least he’s not a bigot like Cynthia McKinney.

Taxi Smith

December 13th, 2012
5:04 pm

When you adhere to the politically correct mantra you can only mumble meaningless platitudes. Hank just points the way to utter linguistic nonsense.

NoMoreRawDeal

December 13th, 2012
5:06 pm

It could be worse. He could be Cynthia McKinney.

PTC DAWG

December 13th, 2012
5:11 pm

LMAO, Dekalb county should be proud. The land of Mental Midgets.

td

December 13th, 2012
5:15 pm

And our regular libs want to talk about our Republican representatives in the state. Should not be throwing rocks from those glass houses.

Tony

December 13th, 2012
5:22 pm

Johnson is no better than the GOP idiots who are also in the House of Representatives. They all prove the ignorance of the GA electorate.

Mark

December 13th, 2012
5:25 pm

@td

You’ve been non existent since the election. Feeling salty because the Messiah won and your lying ass candidate bit the dust? LOL

RGB

December 13th, 2012
5:29 pm

So does that mean if we had to deploy additional Marines to Guam, we should deploy 50,000 midget Marines (or as the Hankometer would say “50,000 abnormally small people Marines”) so that the island would not tip over?

Announcer: “Growing the economy from the abnormally small people on up. Our reduced standard of living is brought to you by Today’s Democrat Party.”

td

December 13th, 2012
5:32 pm

Mark

December 13th, 2012
5:25 pm

I have been around it appears you have not been reading. Had to do a little more work to plan for the upcoming tax increases so that Obama gets less of my money.

Yes, the moochers out voted the producers so Obama won. Now let us see how Obama is going to pay for all these free give away programs he promised.

Rick in Grayson

December 13th, 2012
5:33 pm

It will take a lot of those midgets to tip Guam over!

DeKalb should be proud of Cynthia McKinney and Hank Johnson… he certainly represents their values.

justin Case

December 13th, 2012
5:40 pm

That’s Uncle Hank he’s moving kind of slow at the junction!

steverino

December 13th, 2012
5:42 pm

The term “midget: has served it’s purpose just fine for many years. Someone decided it was offensive, but couldn’t offer a good reason why. Just keep it.

South GA Food Taxer

December 13th, 2012
5:51 pm

It could have been worse…. he could have called them Ooompah Looomphas.

Ned Puddlman

December 13th, 2012
6:00 pm

Is Guam still upright?

Georgia Jimbob

December 13th, 2012
6:04 pm

Shouldn’t he be voicing the concerns of his constituents? I guess we should hope Michigan representatives have our backs…

Eric

December 13th, 2012
6:09 pm

Rep. Johnson is an honorable man who represents the people of Georgia well. Without someone demanding an apology, he realized he was insensitive and proactively reached out to those who may have been hurt by his comments. Wow. What a concept. Being sensitive to your felllow man. Perhaps some of you could learn something here.

Eric

December 13th, 2012
6:10 pm

Nah. Ain’t gonna happen.

Eric

December 13th, 2012
6:12 pm

Buck. Your very thinly veiled racist post should be removed and you should be banned. Be proud of yourself.

Georgia Jimbob

December 13th, 2012
6:13 pm

That’s great that he’s apologizing for making a fool out of himself and his constituents. My point is that he should worry more about the needs of his constituents, rather than sticking his nose in Michigan labor issues. That’s not why I voted for him. And, if you’re honest with yourself, Eric, I’m sure you’ll admit the same.

RGB

December 13th, 2012
6:14 pm

Eric,

You’re one of those medical marijuana libs–I just know it.

DBCOOPER

December 13th, 2012
6:15 pm

The M’s fell off Guam when it tipped over. HJ is living proof this country sends idiots to office to represent them. What does that say about the voters? God help us!

Wrecker

December 13th, 2012
6:15 pm

I am embarrassed that this guy represents my district. Definitely the Peter Principle in action. Maybe he can run for president next.

just sayin'

December 13th, 2012
6:16 pm

Who really cares?

Unfortunate to be represented by Handk

December 13th, 2012
6:19 pm

Why this moron continues to be elected is beyond me. Even if you’re a democrat, aren’t you embarrassed? To borrow a formulation, every time this man opens his mouth he subtracts from the sum total of all human knowledge.

Unfortunate to be represented by Handk

December 13th, 2012
6:28 pm

@Eric, while I agree with your comment about Buck, your comment about Hank representing our district well is certainly not true. He’s an embarrassment to each resident. His blatantly partisan, and often stupid, comments make him the laughingstock of Congress. When you consider the many morons that are embedded in those halls, to be the dumbest of the lot is hard to believe. It’s time for him to go.

[...] Go to this article [...]

Kris

December 13th, 2012
6:37 pm

Prime example of what happens when a Democrat drinks re puke coffee. Massive brain farts and such…

Oh well its GA…Let the stupid games begin.

Nobama

December 13th, 2012
6:38 pm

You just can’t fix stupid, another fine example….

td

December 13th, 2012
6:44 pm

I am wondering how Eric Johnson taking to the house floor supporting the unions in MI is helping his constituents in Dekalb county?

td

December 13th, 2012
6:44 pm

Should be Hank and not Eric.

Vashtai

December 13th, 2012
6:50 pm

Hank used to be my rep before I bought a place in John Lewis’ district. Like others have said up thread, at least he isn’t Cynthia McKinney. I just wish there was a viable democratic candidate to go up against the vile Saxby.

Get Real

December 13th, 2012
6:57 pm

It is amazing what type of individual an entitlement ladened district will elect

BobRobert

December 13th, 2012
7:14 pm

Unfortunately, I have been rezoned into this jackass’ district. Now I have no representation in Washington. At least I have the right to picket outside his office (which is on Lawrenceville Hwy in Tucker, near the big green egg store.)

My2cents

December 13th, 2012
7:15 pm

Here we go again! Some congressional districts have ‘em. The shame, the shame.

An observer

December 13th, 2012
7:16 pm

Midget comes from midge. Can we still use the word midge? Lesson here is that Hank Johnson should keep out of Michigan politics. If you do not have anything of value to say, better to say nothing. Guess he was bored and felt he needed some time on c-span.

It is not what you call me, but what I answer to, that matters most

December 13th, 2012
7:18 pm

@ralph

December 13th, 2012
6:47 pm
Can we now use the N word since the M word is now off limits? I will be the first to call hank that

=====================================

You can if we can USE the “R” word, the “C” word, the “P” word, the TPT” word.

The term Midget does not have the same CONTEMPT as the “N” word.

BOTTOM LINE:

It is not what you call a person, but what they answer to, that matters most.

It is not what you call me, but what I answer to, that matters most

December 13th, 2012
7:21 pm

It is very HYPOCRITICAL to say that no one should use the

term Midget when people still are USING the “N” word.

Even Little People use the “N” word.

hmmmmmm

It is not what you call me, but what I answer to, that matters most

December 13th, 2012
7:25 pm

@Get Real

December 13th, 2012
6:57 pm
It is amazing what type of individual an entitlement ladened district will elect

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I bet SOME of “YOU” will use the “N” in the same breath as the word

MIDGET.

no surprise, he represents the 4th

December 13th, 2012
7:31 pm

What a freakin idiot this guy is……no surprise, I would think, however, if you were to put 30 midgets in the cage, it would , again, cause the cage to “tip” over”…..similar to the island of Guam.,

canman

December 13th, 2012
7:39 pm

He can say any thing he likes and it will be forgiven by his liberal friends in the media.

Steve Martin

December 13th, 2012
7:40 pm

That frickin idiot thought an island would sink if too much buildings were built on it. But he’s not the biggest idiot, the voters who kept this moron in office are.

Kris

December 13th, 2012
7:40 pm

You can put 30 Little People in a GOP clown car.

BigAintheBigA

December 13th, 2012
7:42 pm

Just when you were having a good evening you’re reminded that morons like Johnson represent entire districts that are incapable of producing any better. I wouldn’t say we’re doomed necessarily but for the life of me I can’t see a solution.