KI’s co-founder, Gary Pope on why diversity and inclusion will always be one of the company’s six immovable pillars for childhood.
Diversity and Inclusion is one of our Six Immovable Pillars for Childhood in the 21st Century here at Ki – we call them The Super Six. Each is as important as the other but, as we end Pride Month, I started reflecting on this particular pillar because something happened that really made me proper mad.
And it wasn’t all that ridiculousness about the same sex kiss in Lightyear either…
A couple of weeks ago, one of the preschool brands that we look after the social for aired an episode where two anthropomorphic dads wanted to adopt an anthropomorphic baby – cue uproar. Angry, nasty, vitriol spewed forth assuring a closed feedback loop of bigotry that determined beyond any doubt that this episode was written on the orders of Satan himself.
And as the writer was clearly on such intimate terms with beelzebub the only sanction possible should be Mediaeval-slash-Inquisitorial and the author should be burned at the stake post haste. Along of course, with the producers, animators, marketers, licensing folk, broadcasters, toy manufacturers, retailers and any parent that allowed their doomed offspring to watch this society breaking anathema. We were well into Qanon territory.
You see, it didn’t matter to these people that being a decent parent has absolutely nothing to do with sex or gender. It has everything to do with modelling being a good human. Attachment Theory John Bowlby called it.
Of course, further evidence of societal apocalypse would be clear by the fact that 14% of all adoptions are by loving, caring parents that happen to be members of the LGBQT+ community.
This whole thing really made me struggle.
So let’s take the emotion out of it and use some actual logic. I know, let’s do some maths…
At the last count in 2019 there were 212,000 LGBQT+ families with children in the UK. And, according to the ONS the average number of children per family is 1.89 so that means that 400,680 children aged 0-18 in the UK have parents from that community.
If we assume that most children over one year old visit a nursery or playgroup, then there are around 378,420 children that have parents that are members of the community.
Or approximately one in 25 of all children.
That means that there are children in every class that don’t fit the bigot’s mould of what a parent has to be.
I hate to break it to them, but these kids are among us. And they’ll even be in their kids’ class, too. FFS.
It is truly beyond my comprehension to understand why these people want the world as they do. To censor stories that reflect the actuality of modern humanity, when told with care and grace, seems to herald the worst of humanity and harken to a darker time.
There’s a bazillion reasons why our stories must embrace this honest reflection of society, but as we’re short on space here’s two:
- Every child needs to see themselves reflected in the stories they experience
- Stories scaffold a child’s understanding of the world and their place in it.
End of as far as I am concerned.
But here’s the thing that is really worrying me. The repeal of Roe v Wade is bad enough; no one but the individual has the right to choose what happens to their body. But in his ruling Justice Thomas Clarence of the US Supreme Court, alluded to many more fundamental aspects of law that are now in his sights and that will have a direct and draconian impact on the very nature of families. Google it. I kid you not, it is time to act.
The stories the world of children’s entertainment tells reflect their audience’s lives and through the play these shows inspire the children learn and grow. If we don’t give children the honesty they deserve and enable them to enjoy the progress of the last 50 years, then the stories that they themselves might one day come to make will be narrower in diversity and thinner on inclusion.
If there’s a kid with two dads or two mums in their class – and statistically there is going to be – I reckon it’s important that children don’t see that as anything other than what it is. A kid with two dads or a kid with two mums.
And that’s why diversity and inclusion is one of The Super Six.