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Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver celebrates LEGO’s new, inclusive character line, pushes back against those who deride it

Eunice Kennedy Shriver standing with and talking to Special Olympics athletes.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver with Special Olympics athletes at the first ever Special Olympics World Games in 1968.

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.”

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