I really can’t believe this. American news source CNN reports that there have been complaints about a CBeebies presenter who has a disability. The presenter, Cerrie Burnell, was born without the lower part of her arm (below the elbow). Some parents are complaining! Seriously!!
Here’s what one parent is reported to have said:
In one chat room, a father lamented that Burnell being on the show forced him to have conversations with his child about disabilities.
I could be really cynical and ask if he was complaining about having to talk to his kids at all. Likely, this father is bothered by the subject. But, I see having to TALK to your kids about things as a GOOD THING – especially disabilities. So far, there have been 25 official complaints, but that does not count the dozens lodged in chat rooms like the one quoted above.
Cynicism aside, this is quite serious. I do question, what is the fear behind this? What are these parents trying to shield their kids from?
As a father whose daughter loves CBeebies, I have appreciated that the BBC on it’s children’s programmes have been intentional about the programmes they air and the high profile of people of all kinds (from who presents, to Penny Pocket in a wheelchair on Balamory, to the ‘special needs’ kids on Something Special). The message I hope Savannah receives is that people come in all types and all people are different.
The BBC can count this as a letter of appreciation for them, and in support of Ms. Burnell.