It's been a good week (well, in my world - perhaps not so much if you follow politics)
First of all, you may remember that recently I was appealing for votes for The Specials - a terrific online docu-soap about five young adults with learning difficulties. It’s as entertaining as it is touching and if you haven’t watched it yet you’re missing out.
Well, a big thank you to everyone who voted. And guess what - they bagged two Webbys and are off to the awards show in New York!
Here they are finding out the good news:
Then, just when I thought that would be the best thing I’d see all week, a few days later, I received an email from Isla's mum Emma, attaching pictures of the new Kinder packaging:
How adorable is that? (The answer to that rhetorical question is ‘very’)
Again, a massive thank you to everyone who voted for Isla to be the face of Kinder.
It’s so refreshing to see a disabled person in a prominent position and a positive light, but also, crucially in a non-tokenistic or patronising way.
When people see that picture, the fact that Isla has Down’s Syndrome will be secondary to the fact that she is a beautiful, photogenic, happy child.
At the same time, her Down’s Syndrome is not brushed over, but clearly mentioned; it’s concurrently massively important and not important at all.
For instance. Back when women starting presenting sport I had a friend who complained about it, saying it was political correctness, just box ticking and quota filling.
But the ultimate aim of placing people who were heretofore not included in that area of life - when there is no real reason why they shouldn’t be, except for tired old prejudices - is to get to a point where people don’t even notice that it’s a woman presenting the sport, or a disabled child on a sweet box.
The end game is for it to be as much of a non-event as seeing a white male presenting the news.
Isla and The Specials both get disability into the mainstream, and show that disabled people are fundamentally no different to the rest of us. They are not this ‘other’ who are to be pitied, looked down upon, mocked, or hidden away. And this message is conferred in a fun, non preachy, entirely positive way. Win – Win.
So here’s to more Isla’s and more shows like The Specials. Then perhaps we’ll have a society that is more accepting, and much richer.