24
Feb
09

Would you mind your children watching this TV host?

_45506368_cerrie2_bbc226_3002Cerrie Burnell is a BBC children’s TV presenter whose shows are aimed at the children from one year’s old. She was born with one hand and some parents are complaining that it is scaring their children. It’s started a debate around this one story, but also about whether young children should be sheltered from some disabilities. Are we scared of disability?


36 Responses to “Would you mind your children watching this TV host?”


  1. 1 Jenny Duthie
    February 24, 2009 at 13:48

    This is very sad. How narrow-minded!! I think if children learn about such disabilities at a very young age they will grow up to be more accepting of such things and understand that not everyone is “perfect”? This presenter is a postive role model, the reaction of these parents reveals their bigotry and, frankly, their stupidity. How can anyone be “sheltered” from disabilities? Perhaps disabled people are offended by seeing able-bodied people on TV!!!

  2. 2 Jerry Cordaro Cleveland OH
    February 24, 2009 at 13:58

    Now this is just ridiculous. Children are going to meet people who look different than they’re used to – skin color, hair, etc. – and some of those differences are going to involve people who are missing limbs or in this case, a hand. Kids are curious at first, but they learn to be afraid from the people around them. This sounds more like parents projecting their own problems onto their kids than anything else.

  3. February 24, 2009 at 14:00

    James from Kenya

    When I was young I got scared of a man who was a family friend but walked on crutches. I dont blame him for scaring him, I blame the fact that nobody enlightened me that disabled people are not to be feared. I feared an egg when young and my mother taught me not to fear it maybe she should have put the same effort to inform me not to be scared of an egg.

    Mind you I am not downplaying disability with the egg example.

  4. 4 Jennifer
    February 24, 2009 at 14:02

    I would not mind my children watching Ms.Burnell. I think it would be a good learning experience for them to know that people with disabilities exist and that they deserve to be treated with the same respect people without disabilities. If your children are scared try explaining the unknown to them. Its your job as a parent. What’s next? Hiding away children who have disabilities. Be a parent!

  5. 5 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 24, 2009 at 14:05

    Of course I wouldn’t mind watching, or having my children watch, this TV show host. If society hides people with birth defects, other deformities and handicaps, people shy away from those whom they perceive as “different,” and stigma and xenophobia set in.

    My eldest brother lost a leg and various other less noticeable small parts in a war. Many of his former military comrades were missing arms, legs, or both. His adopted daughter was severely physically handicapped by cerebral palsy, but that had no effect on her intellect or her spirit.

    Bravo for Cerrie Burnell, and two thumbs down for those well-meaning but very misguided people who would have us shun her and other spirited people like her.

  6. 6 Steve
    February 24, 2009 at 14:16

    People have a problem with her because she has one hand? Yet it’s okay to sell thong underwear for 5 year old girls? Something is VERY wrong with society.

  7. 7 Mohammed Ali
    February 24, 2009 at 14:26

    Her condition is natural and I see no reason why parents should not allow their children to a show presented by her. Stopping children from watching shows presenting Carrie Burnell is a form of discrimination against people with disabilities. What I think parents should do is to educate their children about disabilities and learn how to accept them as equal human like anyone else.

  8. 8 SULEIMAN MBATIAH
    February 24, 2009 at 14:39

    FROM NAIROBI, KENYA.
    No I wouldn’t. this is a opportunity to the budding professionals to know that disability is not inability.
    Here in Kenya, many people are in the streets with begging bowls and claim that they are disabled. Only that they have lost a finger or mono-eyed.
    The parents ought to teach their children that these people- disabled are acceptable in the society and be given the work that suits them best.
    Seeing her-Cerrie is not a wrong. The movies that parents buy for their children is what is making their children have nightmares.

  9. 9 Luz Ma from Mexico
    February 24, 2009 at 15:01

    No, I wouldn´t mind. I think is a good way to teach children tolerance and acceptance. To see everyone as equal, regardless of the color of their skin, gender and in this case, physical appearance.

    In my experience (I am a mother of two children and I have taught children under the age of 6) children fears and intolerance come from what they pick up from their parents or adults around them. So probably, those children who are afraid of this TV host got that idea from their parents.

  10. 10 Venessa
    February 24, 2009 at 15:12

    You’ve got to be kidding me. How about parents teach their children about the real world and if they are scared maybe telling the truth that sometimes people are born with birth defects. It also might be a great opportunity to teach tolerance.

    I’d also like to know how a 1 year old is able to be scared of something like a missing hand so young. Perhaps parents are exagerating because it bothers them more than their children.

  11. 11 Fred Dove
    February 24, 2009 at 15:18

    Hi, Ros. As you know, I, too, have a very obvious physical disability. Before joining the BBC, I originally trained as a teacher and never encountered any difficulties with school-age children. Very young children, when meeting me for the first time, tend quite naturally to be curious about my short arms and unusually-shaped hands, but very few seem wary or even frightened. And in such cases, I normally find that a smile from me or a simple explanation of why I look the way I do sorts things out very quickly.
    Given the smiley, cheeerful nature of children’s TV, I would therefore imagine that the vast majority of young TV viewers would have absolutely no problem watching Cerrie Burnell.
    Of course there will be a few kids who ask their parents why that “lady on the TV has a funny arm”. But if my own experience is anything to go by, then all it needs is a simple explanation from the parents that she was born that way and it doesn’t hurt.
    BBC TV has made big strides forward in addressing on-screen race and gender imbalances; but as yet there are very few physically disabled presenters on BBC TV. Cerrie Burnell’s appointment is therefore a big step in the right direction.

  12. 12 Daniel
    February 24, 2009 at 15:29

    If parents are complaining that watching a host with one hand is scaring their kids, perhaps it is time for these parents to actually do a little parenting. What’s next? Bad hair day and kids vote you out? Striped pants, “Sorry, our audience is going to have to let you go.”
    Lunacy.

  13. 13 Dennis Junior
    February 24, 2009 at 15:49

    No, I would not mind watching this host, Cerrie Burnell……

    Why, don’t the parents who are complaining about this presenter, teach there children that persons are not all the same, some have 1 arm, 1 leg and other types of disabilities…..

    Dennis Junior

  14. 14 Andrew
    February 24, 2009 at 16:05

    Oh good God! You have to be kidding me?

    I can’t conceal my amazement at this one. Do people live in a fantasy land where everything is perfect? Or do they just want to continue to delude themselves they do?

    Let’s see, no one from these families has any physical disabilities, or if they do they hide them so well they appear ‘normal’? What on Earth goes through these people’s minds. As a child of the seventies in my school we looked at one child with asthma as somehow unwordly. That was it, one boy with asthma so in those days all of this ‘abnormality’ that exists in the world would have spooked us maybe. We have come a long way in the past 3 decades.

    We see everwhere people in wheelchairs, people with cancer proudly sporting their battle scars (jade Goody has been splashed all over the news of late), cerebral palsy sufferers, the list goes on. If it afflicts mankind then you will see a representation of it somewhere first hand. So what is the problem with an amputee on a kids show. After all, Australia as an example they strive to depict so-called diverse ethnics, homosexuals, etc, etc as presenters. Exactly what defines the world around children and which they will encounter daily.

    Oh if you think that is terrible, here is news for those parents, kids watch all kinds of TV you don’t know about, with ghouls and demons, monsters and murderers. So how would this terrify children. Heaven help a parent with an amputated limb who chaperones their child at school. How about that? What a lot of nonsense – and to think these same people whinge about the ‘nanny state.’

  15. 15 Steve
    February 24, 2009 at 16:10

    This question is like “should you avoid telling your children they might die one day?” I remember when parents or teachers would go bezerk when other kids, older, would say “you’re going to die one day!” and the kids would start crying, and then the parents would say “he’s just lying to you” even though it is true, and that everyone IS going to die one day.

  16. 16 archibald in oregon
    February 24, 2009 at 16:12

    Think of how scared those children will be when one day they realize that their parents do not have a brain!!!!!!
    Ridiculous, that people still focus on such handicaps as a negative, atrocious that they would pass it on to their children……..

  17. 17 Sarah Phillips
    February 24, 2009 at 16:40

    Firstly, I believe young children do not have prejudices, particularly pre-school age, as prejudice is something that is learnt from others. Therefore parents saying their children are fightened by Cerrie Burnell, are perhaps vocallising their own thoughts not that of their children.

    As many of the comments have already said, it is much better to understand and recognise disability and to show people from a very young age that there is nothing wrong or frightening about people with disability. How better than to have a popular TV figure as an ambassador

    I have an older brother who was born with Spina bifida, and as children growing up I was often asked by other children ‘what’s wrong with him?’ My reply was always simple, there is nothing wrong with him he was just born this way. There was no (or at least very little) ‘out-casting’ by others, and he was and still is a very popular and social person.

    Parents who think their children should exist in a ‘perfect -world’ should take a closer look at themselves to start with – no-one is perfect!

  18. 18 Justin Mann
    February 24, 2009 at 17:05

    People are scared of disibility. As a blind person with a guide dog I see it out on the street, when i’ve gone to job interviews, or even ordering in a restraunt. Sometimes people will talk to my girlfriend as opposed to talking to me. So yes, people are definitely scared of disibilities.

  19. 19 Morf
    February 24, 2009 at 17:07

    I would think that the opposite would be true – not would most children not be traumatized by such a sight – they may even draw inspiration. Check out this story – http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/23/eveningnews/main4822620.shtml.

    Morf

  20. 20 Justin Mann
    February 24, 2009 at 17:08

    I thnk the more apropiate question should be is how do you deal with some one with a disibility? I’m watching some of the posts for this entry and viewsing some one with a disibility from afar, seems to bring out the typical “it’s wrong to treat a person with a disibility different”, but how would some of you treat some one with a disibility if you met them on the street?

  21. February 24, 2009 at 17:24

    It’s important for children to understand deformities because some of them will even laugh at people with deformities because they find it odd.

  22. 22 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 24, 2009 at 17:31

    @ Fred Dove:

    How nice to learn you are still around, short arms and all. “Normal” is just what one is used to. Normal for me was amputees and spastics. When my one-legged brother would get surly, we’d stash ice in his prosthesis just before he put it on to cut him down a notch. He’d roar at the shock of the cold, dump the ice out, strap the leg on and case us round the garden until we were all laughing too hard to run anymore. The essence of tolerance is taking people of good-will as they are, warts, no thumbs and all.

  23. 23 Tom D Ford
    February 24, 2009 at 17:58

    “She was born with one hand and some parents are complaining that it is scaring their children.”

    Everybody has some “defect”, hers is visible, but the parents who are complaining have their “defects” internally and are failing their children by not teaching them about real people, about the realities of mankind and about empathy and compassion for others.

    “I am human, nothing human is foreign to me”. Quote somebody very wise.

  24. 24 Ogola Benard
    February 24, 2009 at 18:16

    I don’t see anything wrong with being a disable presenter. If children like her program then what the hell!
    Cerrie Burnell should only remember things like who cares? so what? What does it mean? How man children are disabled anyway?

  25. 25 Rob (UK)
    February 24, 2009 at 18:47

    I hadn’t heard of Cerrie, but I would certainly allow any children I were to have to watch her shows. Having said that, children are easily frightened and their fears persist, so the younger they learn about disability the better – otherwise they might refuse to watch the show.

  26. 26 Tom D Ford
    February 24, 2009 at 19:25

    Perhaps have Cerrie Burnells’ parents come on and do a show with her about her lack of a hand and how they accept and love her and how proud they are about what she does as her contribution to the BBC, children, and thus the world anyway. And brothers and sisters? Her friends? Life partner?

    This is a teachable moment for sure!

  27. 27 Bob in Queensland
    February 25, 2009 at 08:19

    If any children are “scared” by a disability like this, it’s because they’ve been taught to react this way by their parents. Very sad.

    As many others have said, this is a learning opportunity for any children who watch this presenter and ask about her missing hand. Such questions should be answered simply but factually.

  28. 28 Alireza Hojati
    February 25, 2009 at 08:58

    I firmly believe that parents should never try to conceal some rather unpleasant realities from their offspring.Rather,they should make their childern aware of matters such as death,disabilities,AIDS,sexual intercourse and so forth in a calculated and logical way.Otherwise,children will be muddled and confused in their adult years and will face enormous difficulties accepting unpalatable things of life.

  29. 29 Fwanshishak
    February 25, 2009 at 09:45

    I am not yet a parent but i know that there are certain realities that parents find difficult to explain to kids. I think parents should not shy away from their responsibilities by drumming up flimsy excuses like this. Kids should be lovingly expose to as much of life as soon as they old enough to inquire or react to such issues.
    By the way, are there certain realities of life that one year olds should be shield from? I doubt, so what’s the fuse all about.

  30. 30 VictorK
    February 25, 2009 at 13:03

    This is all a bit hypocritical.

    Most of the female news readers and weather forecasters I see on BBC, CNN, Sky etc are deliciously nubile, sometimes to the point of distraction. I don’t recall ever seeing one who had deformities of any kind, let alone in the class of, say, ‘The Elephant Man.’

    There are degrees of physical disability, or even just deformation that doesn’t involve disability. And some of these make some, perhaps most, people very uncomfortable indeed. That being so, is there anything wrong with trying to avoid upsetting a sizeable chunk of your audience when it comes to the kind of physical extreme that you can reliably expect to affect them? Or is it just good manners?

    I doubt if many children would have much of a problem with Ms Burnell’s disability. And if they do, their parents should just change the channel. No need to send anybody to re-education camps.

  31. 31 Jennifer
    February 25, 2009 at 22:46

    Re: I thnk the more apropiate question should be is how do you deal with some one with a disibility? I’m watching some of the posts for this entry and viewsing some one with a disibility from afar, seems to bring out the typical “it’s wrong to treat a person with a disibility different”, but how would some of you treat some one with a disibility if you met them on the street?

    This really is a good point, in how would someone REALLY treat someone who had a disability when interacting with them. When my younger brother was little most kids were curious. Seldom where they afraid unless their parents reacted that way and they mirrored that reaction. However, we had some situations where people did not treat him the nicest, from people who should have.

  32. 32 susan
    February 26, 2009 at 07:53

    my children , have been brought up , with knowing that some people have disabilitys . when they watch the telly they dont notice carrie burnell with hers , i think this young lady is very educated , and loves her job . its a changing world and i feel children should have an understanding , there are children with disabilitys that watch the show aswel . i think in genral its the adults that dont like it , as they cant take time out to explain to their children why , and thats why people with disabilitys are never noticed with that sort of behaviour , give this lovely woman a chance , she is made of the same as us, has a love for kids ,

  33. 33 Thomas Murray
    February 27, 2009 at 16:00

    Depends on the child.

    I reviewed “Slumdog Millionaire” for a website I write for (under Joe Murray at helium.com), and after finishing the review I was astonished to learn that it got an R-rating, restricted to those under 17 without accompanyment of an adult. It no doubt got that rating because of adult language, disturbing imagery and some drug use.

    But I found it suitable suitible for children 8 and above — that is, if they’re not given to moods, nightmares, or morbid fixations. As such, “Slumdog” was a well-told cautionary tale about the plight of unprotected children in a world of adult predators. It deserved a lesser PG-13, but here the ratings board are cracking down on film even for excessive cigarette smoking. “Whale Rider” was another R-rated movie suitable for some children, but got its “adult” rating because there was a baggie of marijuana in the corner of the frame, a prop I didn’t even see the first time I saw it.

    Ms. Burnell is a lovely looking young woman. If the kids like her, they’ll do well to learn from her experience. It’s up to the parents to exercise parental control from their side of the tube.

    Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  34. 34 A
    February 28, 2009 at 20:22

    Actually I can see how some kids could be scared of this woman.

    Everyone else has written how narrow minded that is to say this truth, but I get the impression that they are just being PC because of the fear of being regarded as xenophobic.

    Most kids won’t be too bothered and its good to see a disabled person portrayed in a positive light on TV, BUT she shouldn’t be on a TV show for very small kids- older kids yes, but little kids no.

  35. 35 ms_cellaneous
    March 6, 2009 at 12:33

    Re: A

    Many children are often afraid of things that are “foreign” to them. When I was a child I was very afraid of the school environment. These days very few children are afraid of the school environment because they have access to pre-school groups and their parents can provide opportunities for them to learn about and understand that they need not be fearful.

    I commend the BBC as I believe they are providing very small children (and parents, it seems) with an opportunity to re-addressand dispel their unreasonable fears of people with disabilities.

    It’s not just about being PC. It’s about seeing the person, not the disability. Cerrie Burnell seems like a very nice person who is very good at her job.

  36. 36 properson_vip
    April 27, 2009 at 14:37

    Many children are often afraid of things that are “foreign” to them. When I was a child I was very afraid of the school environment. These days very few children are afraid of the school environment because they have access to pre-school groups and their parents can provide opportunities for them to learn about and understand that they need not be fearful.

    I commend the BBC as I believe they are providing very small children (and parents, it seems) with an opportunity to re-addressand dispel their unreasonable fears of people with disabilities.

    It’s not just about being PC. It’s about seeing the person, not the disability. Cerrie Burnell seems like a very nice person who is very good at her job.


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