I’ve been on Tumblr for about a year now and I’m surprised I haven’t seen anything regarding Sesame Street.
So, I figured I would shed a little light on it for all of you.
I watched this show religiously as a kid, and I’ve been looking into it again recently (a lot) just out of the sake of curiosity. There’s a lot of great stuff going on with this show.
To start, eight of its ten regular human cast members are people of color.
There’s Susan and Gordon, played by Dr. Loretta Long and Roscoe Orman…
Maria and Luis, played by Sonia Manzano and Emilio Delgado…
Alan, played by Alan Muraoka…
Chris played by Christopher Knowings…
Leela, played by Nitya Vidyasagar…
Finally, Mando, played by Ismael Cruz Cordova.
The show also has a single mom named Gina (played by Allison Bartlett-O’Reilly) who adopted a child named Marco from Guatemala and is raising him on her own.
There’s also a bilingual Muppet named Rosita, played by Mexican-born puppeteer Carmen Osbahr.
The diversity on the show has allowed storylines like Leela celebrating the Indian holiday of Rakhi…
and Rosita having to deal with Mexican stereotypes in one of her story books.
The show also introduced a Muppet named Segi (named after the adopted daughter of the show’s head writer) who was introduced to sing a song about loving her natural hair.
Segi also had to deal with a story book saying that a teddy bear in a toy store is “too brown,” and therefore not good enough. This leads to a great song sung to her by Leela, Chris, and Mando.
The show also touches on subjects normally not covered on children’s television, like when Big Bird was being bullied for being too big and too yellow…
and Rosita having to deal with her father becoming wheelchair-bound after getting wounded in battle.
So, in short, this is a show that does more than any other children’s show I know, so I figured I would draw your attention to it so it can be properly appreciated.
>tfw sesame street has more racial representation than 90% of the multi-million dollar movies being made today
I didn’t know about the episodes addressing hurtful stereotypes in media! Sesame Street, you’re the best.
The really awesome thing about Sesame Street is that it’s been around since 1969 and it’s constantly evolving. No Latino representation at all at first, so within the first two years of the show they hired actors and researchers and Sonia Manzano has been a huge developmental voice on the show ever since – she’s only just retiring this year. They hired more female Muppeteers and tried to create stronger female characters over time – the Muppets otherwise are still sadly sort of a boy’s club – and they consult with educators all the time on how to handle special topics: veterans returning to their families, natural disasters, death of a loved one, they even had this really awesome special episode about economic downturn back when the economy was at its worst.
CTW does incredible work, I hope they never stop.
sesamestreet has a Tumblr….
I adore the fact that I could sit down and talk to kids today about Susan & Gordon or Maria & Luis, who where on the show when I was a kid, in the 80′s. Like besides having Muppets that we can bond over, the human actors are like family too.
I might have very strong Sesame Street feelings.
I was a kid when Sesame Street started. Pretty cool to see how much it had changed from the start to when my kids were watching in the 90s and 00s.