The Campus Conversation: Little People Wrestling
As juniors and seniors remember, two years ago ASCMC threw party centered around a jello wrestling tournament. To those who don't remember, I'm sure this sounds a like pretty standard CMC debauchery. However, at this particular party there was an unexpected surprise... Little people wrestling. ASCMC paid an agency representing an assortment of little people to come to our fine campus and wrestle for the entertainment of all. Their brawl introduced a new debate to campus over ethics, economics, and morality, a debate we're happy to revisit as we approach its two year anniversary.
Editor's Note: This piece is the first in a recurring series of discussions of controversial campus issues. For the sake of argument, the authors were asked to creatively defend a position that they may not fully endorse.
Our opponents will argue that the right of contracts between individuals is sufficient grounds to justify our student government paying two little people to wrestle in jello for the pleasure of a crowd of inebriated college students. They misinterpret entirely the general problem represented by this event. The issue at hand is not at all whether the right of contract is generally valid, there is no disagreement there; it is whether we are right to make this contract in particular. It is our intention to demonstrate that our opponents’ argument is not consistent and that for this student body to condone and participate in such an exhibition is degrading to our own public image and sense of social responsibility. While our opponents treat these wrestlers as individuals in order to defend their right to contract, they neglect the fact that they have been hired by virtue of their membership in a certain minority group. If this were nothing more than a transaction between individuals why did we seek members of this group in specific? It is undeniable that it is the specific physical characteristics of little people that provide the entertainment that we look to derive from their wrestling in jello. This is a contract between individuals, but it is also much more. This is the subjugation of a minority group defined by its particular physical attributes by the majority for the express reason of those characteristics.
For such a large segment of our student body to so actively and so publicly participate in this oppression is despicable and disgusting. What if instead of little people in the ring instead we had hired two African-Americans to battle it out with spears and shields. The crowd surrounds them amused by their simulated savagery and tribalism. This is how the majority has always oppressed the minority. The specifics have been different but the result has always been the same; the majority exerts and expands its power over the minority by humiliating them and reasserting their inferiority. What this student body and our opponents are explicitly saying is that these people are nothing more than an amusement, not individuals at all. To assert the individual rights of people who you treat as less than human in other circumstances is inconsistent to the point of hypocrisy.
It is not wrong for us to hire others to perform for the sake of our personal entertainment, and it is not wrong for anyone to voluntarily humiliate themselves for the sake of others’ entertainment. What is wrong, egregiously and sickeningly wrong, is for us to voluntarily participate in the continued subjugation of a group of people for nothing more than some set of physical traits that they possess by chance.
Even if you find yourself unable to accept the fact that you are a heightist bastard there is at least one thing that is clear. The majority of society does consider "midget jello wrestling" to be hedonistic and discriminatory, and it has become a stereotype of idiotic college students to objectify women and dwarfs in this manner. It is not in our best interest as a college community to degrade ourselves by becoming the perfect example of what society finds wrong with frat-boy culture. I will not deny that there is a monetary benefit to the individual dwarfs who jello-wrestled, and I suppose some of us students took pleasure in the debasement of those wrestlers, but the costs to our image as a community, and the general costs to a society that still keeps short people from achieving on the same level as tall people are much greater.
For more arguments from these writers, see http://www.duelingdiatribes.com/