Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver celebrates LEGO’s new, inclusive character line, pushes back against those who deride it
The following is an excerpt from an op-ed written by Special Olympics Chairman Dr. Timothy Shriver titled “Is LEGO’s toy diversity ‘woke’? There’s nothing wrong with visibility for disabilities.,” published in USA Today.
“Who doesn’t love LEGO? I sure do, unless I step on them, which doesn’t happen often, although I expect the risk will grow with each new grandchild.
“That’s why I was perplexed to hear that these beloved plastic bricks have been snarled in an international media controversy. Last fall, the LEGO Group announced a new line of LEGO figures meant to celebrate human diversity.
“These ‘re-imagined’ characters are meant to display a wide array of traits you don’t often see in mass-produced toys, including vitiligo, Down syndrome, anxiety disorder and limb differences. The move has put LEGO smack in the middle of a fierce battlefront in our overheated culture wars. Commentators on both sides of the Atlantic have blasted the company for going ‘woke.’
“I don’t think I need to take up too much of this space or your time explaining why diversity in toys is nothing to get upset about and is actually a good thing. Children learn through play. As they explore the vast world and their place in it, they come to understand who they are and where they belong.”