“How’s the weather down there?” or “You’re too short to do that” are two degrading comments that are heard by many shorter-than-average people everyday, such as Jada Lassiter.
Comments such as “midget” are unacceptable to the little people community. Stereotypes about little people are that they cannot perform the everyday activities that an average person could do, such as opening a cupboard to grab a glass. A little person can grab the glass as well; they simply will do it in a different way. Perhaps they will use a stool or chair to reach the cupboard. Another stereotype is that little people have brain damage and that they are all mentally incapacitated. This is, in fact, not true. Dwarfism has no effect on the human brain; someone with this syndrome can be just as intelligent as someone without it.
Lassiter being one of these “shorter-than-average” people was born at 4 lbs. From the ages of 3-11 she was 3 feet 5 inches, and now at the age of 14, Lassiter is 4 feet 3 inches. At first Lassiter was shy and avoided contact with others, but as she grew up she learned how to become as outgoing as possible.
“In Elementary it was hard because I was the shortest kid, until I built my confidence up,” said Lassiter.
Dwarfism is the physical condition exhibited by little people. In order to be registered as a little person, WebMD states that the person must be no taller than 4 feet 10 inches. Dwarfism can be related to 200 different causes, one of them being Achondroplasia. In Lassiters’ case, it’s unknown as to why it occurred. Lassiters’ parents are both above average height for the average African-American family. Her mother at 5 feet 9 inches and her father at a solid 6 feet tall. Lassiters states that she doesn’t mind being short and it really isn’t all that bad.
“I like to be different,” said Lassiter.
Many little people face problems such as discrimination and stereotypes, and that’s where Little People of America (LPA) comes in. They inform friends, family, and others about Dwarfism. Lassiter lives with her mother, father, brother and nieces. She enjoys hobbies that are similar to those any other teenager, such as watching TV, Instagraming, Snapchating, or playing laser-tag.
Although in some sports, being tall can be an advantage, Lassiter feels that she is not wholly compromised.
“When it comes to sports, I feel limited to some stuff, but not all,” she said, “Overall, I don’t feel that my condition hinders me from everyday activities.”