LEGO has a long tradition of getting things right, which makes it all the more glaring when the Danish purveyors of the world’s favorite foot traps make a misstep. But that’s exactly what they did in December when they responded to a Change.org petition requesting LEGO figures with disabilities by saying, essentially, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
That makes LEGO’s announcement this week that a new set will feature a kid in a wheelchair a bonafide victory for the disabled kid advocates at Toy Like Me, which launched the petition with a call to “help generations of kids (both with and without disabilities) grow up with a more positive attitude toward human difference.” In retrospect, that seems like a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s not the first time LEGO has reversed course on a decision that many people found odd. In October, the company politely declined to help Chinese art activist Ai Weiwei with a LEGO-dependent art instillation — before deciding a few weeks ago, Ai, why not?
The new collection featuring the kid in the wheelchair is called “Fun In The Park” and is a 15-figure set that will go on sale this summer for about $40. And the set’s progressive cultural signifiers don’t end with the kid — there’s also a lawn-mowing mom and stroller-pushing guy with a beard and a flannel who … wait … is that you?
Even if LEGO nailed your lumbersexual style, it’s too little, too late. After all, if you’ve been waiting to see yourself in LEGO, you probably already jumped on last week’s news that $30 can buy you a custom 3D-printed LEGO version of your own head.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iU40xSaJ9rM expand=1]