Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Keep Hoping That We're Becoming A Better Society

But then society goes out of its way to prove me wrong.

Anyone recognise this rather attractive young lady ? She's called Cerrie Burnell, she is an actress and television presenter and has recently been appointed to be one of the presenters of BBC television's CBeebies.

Her appointment has brought a number (possibly only a small amount) of written complaints to the BBC. Why, has she some terrible dark secret hanging over her past, has she been involved in a sex or drugs scandal, or been seen on camera campaigning on behalf of the BNP or taking a large to a poodle in a public park ? No, the reason for the official complaints to the BBC are revealed in this next photograph.

Cerrie Burnell was born with only one arm.

That's it I am afraid, a few parents have written to the BBC to complain that a girl missing an arm is presenting children's television.

"One father said he feared it would give his daughter nightmares and a mother said her two-year-old girl could not watch because she thought the presenter had been hurt." - From a BBC news article. Apparently some comments posted on the BBc Cbeebies message board were much worse than this and had to be removed by BBC moderators.

The problem here seems to be with narrow minded parents rather than their children, children are very open minded and inquisitive, on meeting Cerrie smaller children would most likely just ask why she only has one arm (she was born that way, no accidents involved). Adults, and rather shamefully I might act in a similar manner, wouldn't be as honest and open.

If I met Cerrie I might act like a lot of other adults would, by pointedly not mentioning her missing arm and taking great pain not to accidentally make any reference to missing limbs in the conversation, it's the great British "Don't mention the war" thing that we do. Probably it would just be better to say right out "Hi Cerrie, can I ask why you only have one arm ?".

Young Cerrie obviously has a great sense of humour, when asked on the BBC site what her favourite game was she replied "Twister", nice reply.

I wonder when the day will come that people just accept other people no matter what their colour, religion, sexual preference or body shape, not anytime in the near future it would seem.

It is also possible that the rise in internet access makes stories like this one more likely, and allows what may be fairly minor stories to assume larger significance than they are due, it is very easy to log on to a website and leave an anonymous complaint, but much more effort to make a phone call and actually have to speak to someone or write and post a physical letter.

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't heard about this story. How narrow minded can people be? Would the same parents take their children out of school if there was a child in their class with a similar disability? It makes you think!