With the nursery closed and sickly kids stuck at home, I would’ve been lost without CBeebies.
I call it ‘passive parenting’ and I soon became a heavy user.
There’s much to celebrate about CBeebies’ enthusiastic army of technicolour-clad entertainers and their friends, (not to mention Tom Hardy’s recent guest appearance and the resulting Twitter-storm).
That’s partly because CBeebies champions visibly disabled people on television. In its programming, it presents and gives voice to persons from different cultures, genders, abilities, experiences and generations. It manages to do this in a way that feels natural, welcoming and fun, even in the face of public backlash.
This doesn’t come from nowhere. It follows over two decades of momentum in government policy on inclusive education in a multi-cultural society.
But despite a long time marinating in these values, inclusion hasn’t quite settled in everywhere.
Discrimination is a very real problem which I see regularly in the world of work and at all levels within the education sector. Under-representation of marginalised or affected groups is widespread, though less publicised by its nature. (Just think of the number of EU nationals or ethnic minority individuals you heard from during the Brexit referendum debate, for example).
It’s both inspiring and sad to acknowledge that very few organisations are as visibly progressive as on of the BBC’s children’s channels. Of course, CBeebies isn’t perfect. But it would be wrong to abandon the pursuit of equality because of that. It’s possible to do much more than we are at present, and have fun doing so.
SO WHAT 6 THINGS CAN YOUR ORGANISATION LEARN FROM THIS?
- There’s more to equality than the absence of discrimination. Remember that discrimination can be conscious and unconscious, subtle or obvious;
- Under-representation is both a symptom and a cause of discrimination;
- Think carefully about who you invite to the table, who you listen to / empower / celebrate and promote and how these decisions can affect the diversity of your organisation. There’s no point congratulating ourselves on rising numbers of women at boardroom level in FTSE 100 companies if those women are statistical outliers who are not actually treated as equals;
- Take active steps to broaden the range of people included in your organisation and your work. Don’t wait for disabled persons to use your services before taking reasonable steps to make your organisation accessible;
- Consider how your work interacts with vulnerable and/or marginalised persons. Seek out and listen to their feedback;
- We are not all the same – and that’s fine. Acknowledge, respect and celebrate difference. That’s how we enrich society, even if the process of challenging assumptions can be difficult, uncomfortable and requires continual learning.
If you’d like to discuss how I can help you with your policies and practices on diversity and inclusion, or if you have been affected by discrimination and require advice, please call 0207 421 8000 or contact me using the form below to book a free initial consultation and get a fixed-fee quotation.