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Minority Characters

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by Hays, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. Hays

    Hays Well-Known Member

    I was just watching the episode about Rositas' grandma, and I just realized that Sesame Street isn't as diverse as it used to be.

    Things are pretty much the same on the Street as when I was a little girl; they haven't removed any characters - but this is what I mean: between the 70s and now, the US has become more diverse, and the characters on Sesame Street are much the same.

    When I was a little girl, I was one of two or three hispanics living in my town in the midwest - it helped a lot to see someone, Maria, who looked like my mother on Sesame Street every day, as part of a normal family (not latin stereotypes) These days, hispanics are rapidly becoming the country's largest minority. Nowadays, most children's shows incorporate Spanish and latin characters, and most kids know somebody who speaks Spanish - everybody who's eaten at Taco Bell knows what a fajhita is.

    What we're losing is the understanding of smaller cultures or groups in the US that latins used to be part of; Arabs, Eastern Europeans, Italians, Asians (I'd like to see a gay family, but I think the time has not yet come) It doesn't matter specifically which one, just that whoever it is represents a true minority. Kids need to learn about differences even when they're not right out there every day.

    SS does a good job with Global Grover, but this segment doesn't do what a set of characters will: show us the ways we are the same. Right now, we seem to be focusing on differences.

    Considering today's climate, I'd like to see an Arab family on SS - it could either be Muppet characters or people. What do you think?
  2. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    They have had Asian characters on the show. Remember Celina who ran the dance studio? Also, there is Alan who I think is Filipino.
  3. Kimp the Shrimp

    Kimp the Shrimp Well-Known Member

    roosevelt was black
  4. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    So was Hiroshy and I think Molly.

    roosevelt was black

    So Was Kingston.
  5. Hays

    Hays Well-Known Member

    But that's my point - African-americans aren't a minority in the sense that Arab-americans or Asian-americans are; similar to hispanics, African-Americans form a very large minority. Almost everyone in the US knows African-Americans or Hispanics outside of the TV.

    Although Alan looks Asian, he's never presented as speaking another language, nor does he show any evidence of another culture. It used to be that Sesame Street was more conscious of this issue; in the past, there WERE more characters who showed evidence of other cultures. What I'm saying is that I'd like to see more - and of groups that you might not run into outside of a large city like New York.
  6. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    People (Latin, Hispanic, Asian, Cacasion, African American, Native American, Jewish, Scottish, children, teanagers, adults), Monsters of every color, Grouches, Honkers, Dingers, animals of every kind of species, Snuffleupaguses, death people (Linda), disabled people (Tara), Muppet People(red, rellow, green, ect.). If I'm missing how Sesame Street is not diverse, please feel correct me, or if there there is someone or something I'm left out, feel free to let me know, thank you.
  7. Kimp the Shrimp

    Kimp the Shrimp Well-Known Member

    I Know Lots Of Arabics And Asians

    But Then Again I Am Arabic
  8. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind that one of the reasons Sesame Street at the time (a little bit similar to today) There was a huge gap in education between the middle class (rich to but mostly middle) and the poor and working class (inner city, minority youth, particularly African America, and a little bit like the computer gap thing going on now).

    Joan Ganz Cooney (creator of Sesame Street) was a documentary filmmaker at that time that had made many films about the social and economic gap, and how some children had a head start in education, with child services like preschool and things like that while other children could not afford them, and some might get their education from television or even worse, the street. So when those children started school, they would lack behind their pries by the time they started school.

    Well, Mrs. Cooney figured that she could do documentary after documentary and get nowhere, so she decided to do something about this problem and Long story short, Sesame Street was born.

    One of the reasons for the corrector of Gordon was to have a Strong Male African Presence where one might be absent, even though he can’t replace anyone’s father, he was a good role model for children who might not have a father present. Another thing I should mention is the reason for commercials with letter and number sponsors, as well as educational concepts such as empathy, is because children (mainly inner children) picked up a lot of their information from television commercials (What kid doesn’t know what to do in Nikes Or what not to do with the Charmin) Plus It’s education information and not just trying to sell kids the new doll or something. That’s also the reason why the commercials on the show are played in repetition, so children who watched the show would pick the catchy like jingles and things. This is also part of the reason for things like fuscous groups and things like that.

    As a result of Sesame Street, research proved that children of every economic latter who had watched Sesame Street vs. those who did not preformed better in school despite things like class, or weather the could afford preschool or not. Research even showed that children who watched the show vs. children who didn’t watch television at all preformed better in school.

    Joan Ganz Cooney said that her goal was to see children march into their classroom confident and ready to learn to the point where the only complaint that the children would have was that the work isn’t challenging enough, and that they would demand harder work from their teachers, and thus raise the school curriculum which is something the Sesame Street has accomplished.
  9. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    When I was a little girl, I was one of two or three hispanics living in my town in the midwest - it helped a lot to see someone, Maria, who looked like my mother on Sesame Street every day, as part of a normal family (not latin stereotypes)

    Thats interesting that you shonld say that because Sonia Manzano once mentioned in an interview that she first saw Sesame Street when she was in collage and ont of the first things that she noticed about the show was that there were people who looked like her on on the show and in those days you didn't see people of color on television.

    Of corse there were some, but especially no Latin or Asian people were being repersented on television in those days and like the cartoon on SS, Native Americans were being heavily sterotyped.

    I just thought is was cool how she was Influenced by what she saw on television and was able to have as well as be an influence for others by being on television.

    Gotta go.
    "I'm telling you that with all those ugh's and me-wan-ums, that thats not the way an Indian Talks. Oh-yeah, well how would you know. I'm an Indian. Oh.:)
  10. Censored

    Censored Well-Known Member

    It seems like there isn't even as much emphasis on inner city children and culture that there used to be on Sesame Street. I think that part of the reason is that the political climate has changed. In the early years, Jessie Jackson was a special guest on the show, these days it's a Republican First Lady. Another reason may be that the emphasis on a culture gets misconstrued as a stereotype today; a case in point is Roosevelt Franklin.

    I do understand what Hays was saying. Why not more representation of minorities today? Why there are no Arab Americans on Sesame Street is a very good question. In 1969, Sesame Street was banned in parts of the deep south in the U.S. because it promoted integration between African Americans and Caucasians. Yet, CTW never backed down and now Sesame Street is just as mainstream in the south as the north. I would hope that Sesame Workshop would take just as strong a stand on inclusion of any groups of people who are discriminated against today.
  11. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    You Know, I know It's been mention before here I Spy was banned by some southern affilites when it first came on, also, Peanuts kind of suffered the same fate. They had the leader of the UN on Recently, and I think you could not have a better repersentation of diversity than that and to be fair, Sesame Street also had Hillary Clinton on there show too.
  12. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    Might want to replace your label for Linda with the word "deaf". Wouldn't want to confuse things. ;)
  13. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    Even Sesame Street's South African show has a Muppet character with HIV.
  14. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    I frogot to mention that Lexine was also Asian.
  15. superfan

    superfan Well-Known Member

    I agree that it would be a very good thing to have human characters that represent the East Indian culture. Why not! In Israel and the Palestinian Territories, SS strives to promote tolerance and respect for the two cultures, do they not? So why not the same here? Put religious and political differences aside and teach our children that we can be peaceful and respectful towards people who come from different countries. It sounds so idealistic, but then again, Sesame Street was the result of idealism.
    (gosh, I read this and reread it. I hope it makes sense!! :o )
  16. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    There is or was a traveling Sesame Street exibit where they tell how event's that happen in the world had an affect on the swow the show, like the cold war, and also how in 1992, 92% of all minority children were waching the show. It's kind of like the reason for the intorduction of Mr. Snuffleupagus to all the adults. In countries all over the world where women have been treated as second class citizens for many years, Seame Street has been working to change that by teaching girls at a young age that they can grow up to be and do anything that a man can do. A similar thing happened on the American show. Sonia Manzano Mentioned that when feminism was in the news, she became a construction worker, and as we know, she did a better job then her boss, BIff.
  17. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    I've noticed that Sesame Street has probably had more children from middle eastern countries on the show than cast members.
  18. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict Well-Known Member

    it's probably hard to include everyone of all kinds on the show meaning a human cast of every kind of race but over the years they have tried there best through films, cartoons etc. so I think they're trying their best. Mr. Rogers used to include Fench with the Make Believe charater Grampare.
  19. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    I see what you mean Mike, that would be a pretty dfficult task to try to take on. I guess no matter how much effort you put fourth to try to get something right, not trying to criticize anybody here, but there will always be those who are always somewhat sceptical about it. I could be wrong here, but I guess that's just how the crumbles cookie.
  20. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member


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