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Wednesday 7 February 2024

Pub name slammed for being offensive...but

The MG Midget was a famous car brand made in the town of Abingdon in Oxfordshire.

So it made total sense that local pub owned by Greene King Breweries, was called The Midget, in honour of the local product.

The MG Midget was a small two-seater lightweight sports car produced by MG from 1961 to 1979.

Except...midget is also apparently seen as a derogatory term for small people.

Enter the name police.

A petition has been launched by Dr Erin Pritchard, a senior lecturer in Disability Studies at Liverpool Hope University who suffers from dwarfism, to change the name of the pub.

On the Disability Research Forum, Pritchard highlighted in her petition how the term midget is a derogatory word used towards people with dwarfism and is a term derived from the word ‘midge’ meaning Gnat or Sand-fly, which she says is dehumanising.

It was noted that “the term was popularised during the Victorian freak show era, "but unfortunately continues to be used as a form of hate speech towards people with dwarfism”, respected website The Drinks Business reports.

The disability research forum stated that Pritchard had pointed out how “people with dwarfism, including children with the condition, experience name calling on a daily basis. Furthermore, children with dwarfism experience high levels of bullying. As a result, people with dwarfism experience are nearly three times more likely to experience mental health issues than the general population. Thus, it is important to remove a term that is part of this problem”.

Speaking to db, spokesperson for Greene King said: “The pub was named after the MG Midget Car, which is from the iconic motoring brand in Abingdon, MG.

"As an inclusive business we want everyone to feel welcome in our pubs. With this in mind, and given the negative connotations of the word, we are assessing the current name.”

The pub opened as Magic Midget opened in 1974, when the car was still being manufactured, with its name shortened in 2000. 

The Miriam-Webster Dictionary says midget can describe "a front-engine, single-seat, open-wheel racing car smaller and of less engine displacement than standard cars of the type".  

My Collins Dictionary tells me that the word midget is offensive if used to describe a person. But midget is also used to describe an object which is small: like midget submarines, for instance, or junior ice hockey players.

There just might be a whole lot of name changing going on.

Image: Greene King    

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