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View Full Version : Dwarfism-- for caucasians only?


Reyemile
04-08-2004, 10:14 PM
After watching an HBO special on 'Little People', it occured to me that I have never seen, or even heard of, an Asian or Black person with dwarfism.

Is dwarfism a race-linked mutation, like sickle-cell and lactose intolerance? Or is it just that being a midget AND a minority means one will never be in the mainstream media?

And it just occured to me: to the best of my knowledge the Pygmies don't actually have dwarfism, they're just short. But, I've been known to be completely ignorant in the past, so if I'm wrong please feel free to correct me.

Reyemile

DrFidelius
04-08-2004, 10:22 PM
No.

I have known a few African-American achrondroplastic dwarfs; I believe that there are at least two working in Ringling Brothers Barnum Bailey at this time.

Give me a minute to check...

astro
04-08-2004, 10:30 PM
After watching an HBO special on 'Little People', it occured to me that I have never seen, or even heard of, an Asian or Black person with dwarfism.

Is dwarfism a race-linked mutation, like sickle-cell and lactose intolerance? Or is it just that being a midget AND a minority means one will never be in the mainstream media?

And it just occured to me: to the best of my knowledge the Pygmies don't actually have dwarfism, they're just short. But, I've been known to be completely ignorant in the past, so if I'm wrong please feel free to correct me.

Reyemile

?

You didn't see any of the the trailers for the movie "Bad Santa" that were everywhere a little while ago?

Here (http://www.imdb.com/gallery/ss/0307987/Ss/0307987/DF-0233.jpg?path=gallery&path_key=0307987)

and here (http://www.imdb.com/gallery/ss/0307987/DF-0088.jpg)

DrFidelius
04-08-2004, 10:33 PM
(Note to self:

Make sure that "SafeSearch" is turned ON before doing searches involving "African Americans" and "dwarfs." There are some people with interesting hobbies out there.)

I am still doing research. This may take longer than I thought. I have not yet found an appropriate link...

Mississippienne
04-08-2004, 10:34 PM
A few years ago, while attending a ballet performance, I strolled into the ladies' bathroom and discovered a black lady who barely went past my knee. She thanked me for holding the door for her and went about her way.

There also used to be a black man with dwarfism and some sort of hand deformity that worked at my local movie theater, as well.

Exapno Mapcase
04-08-2004, 10:36 PM
First, lactose intolerance is not race-linked, it's culture-linked. It happens that peoples from northern Europe have spread their ability to tolerate dairy widely, but a number of African tribal peoples have also developed lactose tolerance through a similar process of natural selection.

As for the question: because of the somewhat unfortunately predilection for using dwarfs as elves at Christmas time, I've seen numerous dark-skinned dwarfs on television and in movies. Even in some better parts. Though I haven't yet seen Bad Santa.

Lissla Lissar
04-08-2004, 11:07 PM
One of the LOTR short-body-doubles was East Indian. He used to order Viggo Mortenson around. That must have been fun to watch. I think he was Sean Astin's double. It's in the FOTR extras.

SCSimmons
04-08-2004, 11:10 PM
There was a black dwarf in Me, Myself, and Irene as well. I think it's just a case of double-minority; there aren't that many dwarfs, and there aren't that many blacks (in the US), so there are many fewer black dwarfs ...

whiterabbit
04-08-2004, 11:13 PM
Dwarfism occurs in all racial groups. The TV documentaries I've seen are generally centered around LPA, which is understandable. LPA is pretty heavily white, so not too many folks of other hues are visible. But they're there.

As to why you don't see very many in RL, well, dwarfs are thinly scattered to begin with. Then when you're part of some minority that is (pulling this number out of thin air) 10% of the population and you have this condition that only happens in maybe one out of 20,000 births...you're not going to see very many such people.

Sublight
04-08-2004, 11:21 PM
Just as a data point, I've seen quite a few asian (presumably Japanese) dwarfs in Tokyo.

Olentzero
04-08-2004, 11:33 PM
Have seen Black little people of both sexes here in DC - one fellow who also appears to have additional handicaps, and a woman who seems otherwise unaffected by handicaps (I hesitate to use the word "normal" since I don't want to imply anything negative about her physical appearance). I see them pretty regularly, too.

All anecdotal, I know, but still proof positive.

gooti
04-09-2004, 12:36 AM
As mentioned earlier, there is an actor roaming around Hollywood that is a balck achondroplasic dwarf who was in Bad Santa and I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

The first person who came to my mind, though, was Bushwick Bill (http://gdfdfg.free.fr/bushwick_bill_little_big_man_back.jpg) of the Geto Boys.

I was also "friends" with a black little person when I worked in a pharmacy in Macon, GA. *





*actually, he wanted to go out with me but I always kindly declined.

Tentacle Monster
04-09-2004, 01:13 AM
There was a black midget in Friday, too.


The More You Know --------------*

xash
04-09-2004, 01:30 AM
I can confirm that dwarfism exists in Indians.

Ranchoth
04-09-2004, 02:46 AM
For what it's worth, the only people I've ever seen who had the ability to bulge their eyeballs out of their sockets were all African-Americans.

Starguard
04-09-2004, 06:13 AM
You guys never heard of Pygmies ?(if that was spelled right). I think they were (or still are) a tribe in Africa somewhere that were very small :)

Sublight
04-09-2004, 08:04 AM
As mentioned earlier, there is an actor roaming around Hollywood that is a black achondroplasic dwarf who was in Bad Santa and I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

There was a black midget in Friday, too.

There was a black dwarf in Me, Myself, and Irene as well.

Tony Cox (http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0185272/)

And I'm not sure if Pygmies count as dwarfs, as dwarfs usually have different arm:leg:torso proportions from non-dwarfs, while Pygmies just look like full-sized people, only smaller.

OM Waterfall
04-09-2004, 08:49 AM
Does Gary Coleman qualify?

Lsura
04-09-2004, 09:22 AM
Does Gary Coleman qualify?


No - Gary Coleman isn't a dwarf/little person - his growth was stunted by either kidney disease or treatment for the disease. From here: (http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Gary-Coleman)

Coleman had a congenital kidney defect known as nephritis that has halted his growth leading to his notably small stature (4' 8"), which has become his visual and acting trademark.

China Guy
04-09-2004, 09:23 AM
when in Tibet, I went on a horse riding trip to the nomad lands with a dwarf monk. So there are tibetan dwarfs...

Lsura
04-09-2004, 09:25 AM
Ooh - I should have changed my wording. I typed my original reply while looking for a cite. I should have just taken:


his growth was stunted by either kidney disease or treatment for the disease

out, but I neglected to proofread my post well.

Oregon sunshine
04-09-2004, 09:46 AM
FWIW, achondroplasia is not the only form of dwarfism. There are other forms of dwarfism, the pituitary types are what I'm thinking of, which cause people to be smaller sized without changing their torso/limb proportions.

Exapno Mapcase
04-09-2004, 12:30 PM
You guys never heard of Pygmies ?(if that was spelled right). I think they were (or still are) a tribe in Africa somewhere that were very small :)
Not only have we heard of pygmies, but they were mentioned right there in the OP:And it just occured to me: to the best of my knowledge the Pygmies don't actually have dwarfism, they're just short.

Sheesh.

Tapioca Dextrin
04-09-2004, 01:30 PM
LPA is pretty heavily white, so not too many folks of other hues are visible. But they're there.
In fact LPA's website (http://www.lpaonline.org/) has an African American on the front page. Plus pretty well all you could ever want to know about dwarfism.

The straightdope (http://www.straightdope.com/columns/040220.html) on pygmies. The comments (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=240859) were actually more informative than the original coloumn.

And can I ask people to not use the word "midget". Most little people find the word offensive (it's kinda their equivalent of the "n" word).

tremorviolet
04-09-2004, 02:20 PM
For what it's worth, the only people I've ever seen who had the ability to bulge their eyeballs out of their sockets were all African-Americans.

What about Marty Feldman (http://www.cmgww.com/stars/feldman/photo2.html)?

Ranchoth
04-09-2004, 03:50 PM
What about Marty Feldman (http://www.cmgww.com/stars/feldman/photo2.html)?

Not even close. (http://www.weirdpicturearchive.com/img/popthoseeyes.jpg) (WARNING, creepy photo!)

aruvqan
04-09-2004, 06:49 PM
For what it's worth, the only people I've ever seen who had the ability to bulge their eyeballs out of their sockets were all African-Americans.

Eddie Cantor could do the eye thing, as could Marty Feldman, though Buster Keaton could do some funky eyes=)

whiterabbit
04-09-2004, 06:55 PM
In fact LPA's website (http://www.lpaonline.org/) has an African American on the front page. Plus pretty well all you could ever want to know about dwarfism.[quote]

Yeah, they do, but speaking as a former member (I have SMD, if you're curious check out http://www.ksginfo.org) who's been to a couple of their national conferences, I am only stating a fact when I say LPA is pretty white. I suspect there are understandable historical and sociological reasons for this. Do check out their list of links to info about different conditions that cause dwarfism, there's far more than most people are aware of. Achondroplasia's the most common, but then you get to people like me, who are maybe one in a million. You don't see many people with hormonal problems these days, they get treated early on.

[quote]And can I ask people to not use the word "midget". Most little people find the word offensive (it's kinda their equivalent of the "n" word).

The problem for most, in my experience, is that none of the words are all that great. Midget is best avoided, though, unless you know somebody's okay with it. I don't freak out if it's not being used derogatorily, though. I have problems with "little person" since it sounds like you're talking about a kid. "Short statured" is popular in some places, but is too general sounding to me. My dad was 5'5" and could reasonably have been described that way. Dwarf is okay, but sort of clinical. Ignore the people who blow their fuse concerning fantastical sorts of dwarfs, please. :rolleyes: I would advise the use of names, and find out how said person would describe themselves.

whiterabbit
04-09-2004, 06:57 PM
Ack, I totally screwed up my coding there! Oops.