Saturday, 18 February 2012

"Ultimately, I don't care if you're offended."

Yesterday I was trawling through a few articles and videos and came across quite a shocking article about a children’s TV presenter Cerrie Burnell.
How do you explain a missing hand to a child?

I was not aware of a small uproar by parents in early 2009, when the BBC had hired Cerrie, now 32, to present CBeebies. The fuss from parents came because Cerrie’s right arm stops below the elbow. I find it fairly disgusting that so many parents complained because it was apparently ‘scaring children’ and parents were finding it hard to explain.
‘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.’ 
BBC, 24th Feb 2009

It is very simple; she was born like that. It is a disability [if that is the politically correct term] that the actress, singer and playwright Cerrie has dealt with all her life and has done very well for herself despite prejudices such as these from parents. She was advised to wear a prosthetic arm to help further her career by drama tutors, despite her rejection of ever using the aid when she was only 9 years old.

And look how well she is doing now despite this disability and having to put up with such prejudices. A report in 2006 suggested that 6% of children are born with defects worldwide, some a lot more serious than Cerries, which means that parents should really be telling their children the truth so that their child will be more aware of these circumstances.  Obviously parents need to be comfortable talking to their child about such a sensitive subject, and the child also needs to be at the right age to understand the situation. But at the end of the day, children are inquisitive and always wanting to know more. As Cerrie told the BBC, her presence on children’s TV presents the ideal opportunity for parents to explain and to “show what they can achieve on merit.”

"I'm not going to restrict my own physicality because someone is uncomfortable with it – they're just going to have to deal with it.” – Cerrie Burnell to Emine Saner at the Guardian.

We are all different. And no matter what shape, colour, gender, or disability we are, we are all capable of achieving whatever we want.

Links
Cerrie Burnell Interview with the Guardian
Birth Defect Report by March of Dimes

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