Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Disabled presenter ‘scares children’

From today's Independent:

Disparaging comments by adults about a children’s presenter have led to an angry backlash in support of Cerrie Burnell, the 29-year-old CBeebies host who was born missing the lower section of her right arm. One man said that he would stop his daughter from watching the BBC children’s channel because Burnell would give his child nightmares.

(See hyperlink for full story.)

This story makes me really sad. It's parents, not children who are making complaints about this presenter being given air time. Never mind the fact that she's a fantastic role model for disabled kids, she's also a bloody good children's TV presenter.

My 5-year-old friend Luca is completely comfortable watching Cerrie Burnell on CBeebies, and it's good for him to see that she's just as much a human being as anyone else and is a skilled presenter for children on one of the few channels to still offer decent children's TV.

Parents like the one who commented “I didn’t want to let my children watch the filler bits on The Bedtime Hour last night because I know it would have played on my eldest daughter’s mind and possibly caused sleep problems,” are symptomatic of society's rejection of anything that can be perceived as 'other' or 'different'.

Why can't they just simply explain to their children the nature of Ms Burnell's disability and that it is not something frightening? These children are being poisoned by their parent's prejudices.

Some days I wish people would just wake up and live in the real world.