Monday, February 23, 2009

Disability Prejudice: You Have to be Carefully Taught

This actor, Cerrie Burnell, is on a children's show in the UK called CBeebies and parents are protesting that her lack of an arm is "scaring the children."

My usual inclination would be to educate: my son went through all his life of Sunday school with a girl who has one hand and I grew up with a guy who had had one leg amputated when we were three and neither my son nor I have suffered any ill effect.

But this week I read this post at Chewing the Fat about and elderly woman's views about ignorance vs. meanness (and its ill effects--he is such a good writer, read it if you have a chance!) and I know the truth. These folks are not overcome by their lack of experience and information, they are overcome by their lack of tolerance/acceptance.

Rodgers and Hammerstein says it best:

We see you, we know what you're doing--you can do better than this!


terena said...

I am speechless. Really. People are incredibly ridiculous and ignorant. And really, I suspect children could care less (at least every toddler I've ever known and worked with). They may ask, "Why doesn't she have an arm?" Once you tell them that's how she was born, most kids I know, especially toddlers, would just shrug, maybe stare a bit more, and then move on to something more interesting, like what the puppets are doing. It's the parents who are scared.

Wheelie Catholic said...

Terri- Dave has a great post this morning about one of his workshops on teaching how to handle bullies. Worth reading (I love his writing too)

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