We all know disabled people. Some of us are disabled ourselves. However, folks still hold many steretypes about the disabled. Weid, different, stupid, unworthy…those are just a few words that come to mind.
For the most part disabled people are invisible on TV. Oh, you might catch someone in a wheel chair every now and then or a blind performer might appear on a show. But, for the most part, they are in the background, kept where they won’t offend.
The BBC is trying to change that. They’ve added a disabled woman named Cerrie Burnell to their children’s show “Bedtime Hour”. Burnell was born with only half a right arm.
While Burnell has brought on lots of praise, the show has earned some negative comments from parents. Some parents fear that their children are too young to see a person who is disable–a person who doesn’t look like them. They are afraid that their children will ask questions they can’t answer or that Burnell might scare them.
Others find Burnell a welcome addition to television programming. They hope that by showing children a capable, likable disabled person on a children’s shows, they’ll grow up to accept disabled people.
My feeling is that the more children are exposed to disabled folks, the more they will find that they are just like everyone else. Of course, they will ask questions. But only through asking questions will they learn that it’s disabilities make people different physically, but they are people none the less.
MSNBC did a story on Burnell. Watch the video and decide for yourself: