Friday, February 27, 2009

Cbeebies Controversy

A British children's show is bringing out the worst in some parents.

Its star,Cerrie Burnell, happens to have been born with part of one arm missing. Apparently, that frightens some children.

The reaction of these knuckleheaded parents is to call for the show to be cancelled. I wonder if these same parents will demand that a person with disabilities be removed from whatever municipal bus they happen to be riding, whatever store in which they happen to be shopping., etc., lest the child be frightened there as well.

It is human nature to be frightened or at least feel a little uncomfortable when we encounter something or someone different. Does that mean we should give in to such fears? Should we teach our children that the solution to being frightened by something that is different, is to get rid of it?

"Cerrie is the new host of the BBC’s popular kids show Cbeebies. She’s your average working mother, balancing her hosting duties and her 4-month-old daughter. Most parents would want their children to see a good example like Cerrie, and these are the parents who have been supportive of Cerrie. But the station that airs the show has received a handful of letters from parents not wanting to let their children watch for fear that Cerrie will frighten them and give them nightmares. The BBC has also been accused of going overboard in their bid for diversity. Others are afraid that seeing the host with one arm will pique their child’s curiosity and do not want to have that conversation yet.

Though she is the center of the whole controversy, Cerrie is not really affected by it. In an interview with BBC magazine, she explained that children aren’t all that fazed by her disability. “Children come up to me in the street every day and say 'What's that?' I wouldn't say they're frightened but certainly they're inquisitive. I would always take the time to explain to a child. All they want is an explanation. And then they will move on."


Chase March said...

Wow, I just don't understand some people.

Janice said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think the parents who are not supportive have their own fears that they are not ready to deal with. Truthfully, all of us are a split second away from being "different". Accidents, disease... anything can happen in this thing we call life.

The point is... is Cerrie a good role model, loving, caring. Kids respond to that. Period.

Janice Thomson said...

Prejudice comes in many forms doesn't it though most cannot see it.