Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Parents complain about disabled host on tv show for children

I am very surprised and saddened to read that some parents have complained to the BBC about a presenter with a disability on the programme, CBeebies: How do you explain a missing hand to a child? Parents have complained that a children's TV presenter with one hand is prompting awkward questions from young children. (link via BBC News Magazine) I seriously doubt any children are frightened or bothered at all by the sight of the presenter's disability. I bet most children don't even notice her disability! And if they did, they might be curious and ask about it which would be a perfect opportunity to talk about how some people have disabilities and about how everyone is different. I think that the parents who complained are only showing their own insecurities and ignorance about disabled people. And sadly they are probably passing on their biased attitudes to their children which perpetuates the same insecurities and negative attitudes toward disabled people. What do you think? If you have young children, do you think they would be disturbed or scared by the sight of a presenter with a disability?

11 comments:

  1. I was discussing this on my allotment forum last night and we all felt as you do.
    I also read this Guardian article this morning

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/tvandradioblog/2009/feb/24/cerrie-burnell-tv-disability-cbeebies

    It's another sad reflection of the crazy world we now live in! xx

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  2. Thanks for the link, Flighty. That's an excellent article on the subject.

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  3. I think you're totally spot on. How sad.

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  4. My two year old hasn't noticed a thing. . . =)

    It's nice to find another ex-pat Mommy blog. . .

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  5. Siobhan, it is very sad indeed.

    Hello Erin, it's nice to "meet" you! And thanks for confirming my view - that children probably don't even notice the presenter has a disability. It just goes to show that it's the parents who have a problem accepting anyone with disabilities, not the children.

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  6. My friends recently adopted a child with one arm. I think people should be teaching their children to accept this person; sure they have one hand but aren't they doing a great job as a TV host?
    Not every parent is as perfect as I am though, I suppose ;)

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  7. It's very sad and it makes me very angry to hear this. I do wonder exactly how many people complained and also what kind of people they were...I seriously doubt that any normal, rational parent would have made a complaint such as this.

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  8. Daniel, I just read that a BBC spokesman said it had received only nine formal complaints. Although no complaints would have been better, it was only nine. However, I think what has made this story become the big news item that it has is that a lot of complaints have appeared on parenting message boards on the CBeebies website, and other parenting forums.

    And I totally agree with your view Daniel - I also doubt that any normal, rational parent would have made a complaint.

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  9. CanCan, I agree. It's an opportunity to teach children about disabilities and to encourage a positive attitude about disabled people.

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  10. Kids don't see things that adults do. They don't see colour in people, they don't hold prejudices, they just accept it. Its adults which teach children to 'see' and its nearly always the wrong way - because we were 'taught' that way. Then we spend a lifetime trying to ditch those things we learned were 'different' as a child.

    mrs k

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  11. Mrs K: Very wise words, and very true.

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