Sesame Street debuted their first Asian American Muppet
Updated: Dec 10, 2021
Sesame Street debuted their first Asian American Muppets, on Thanksgiving this year! The Muppet is called Ji-Young. At only 7 years old, Ji-Young is making history as the first Asian American Muppet in the “Sesame Street” canon. She is Korean American and has two passions: rocking out on her electric guitar and skateboarding.
This isn't the first time Sesame Street has pushed the envelope for diversity and inclusion. Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, Elmer, Cookie Monster and Grover Leads teach children numbers, colors, how to deal with certain emotions and the alphabet. Sesame shows diversity and they are proud of it. They talk about different races, sexuality, and talk about different incomes in a household.
For example, The show once delivered an ode to natural hair with help from one of its writers and his daughter. The song “I Love My Hair” appeared in a 2010 episode. In the song, the character sings, “Wear a clippie or in a bow, or let it sit in an afro, my hair looks good in a cornrow. It does so many things, you know, that’s why I let it grow. I love my hair.”
Another example is Tarah Schaeffer, a girl with osteogenesis imperfecta who uses a wheelchair, who first appeared on the show in the ‘90s. She sang a song to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus” to explain the different parts of her wheelchair. The creator of the show says, “We include kids with disabilities just as part of the gang. Children in the audience get validation when they see others like themselves. Their siblings receive gratifying reinforcement seeing kids like those in their own families. We take the strangeness out of it. Why should difference be equated with fear?” Everyone deserves to have fun!
Ji -Young will be teaching children how to be a good “upstander”. Which means you point out things that are wrong or something that someone does or says that is based on their negative attitude towards the person because of the color of their skin or the language they speak or where they’re from.
Sesame Street is known for their diversity and equality and with a lot of things happening in the world today, it is a good reminder and lesson to teach children at a young age to be an upstander like Ji-Young.