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Liberal Woke Culture run amok: Can we all just go back to Sesame Street?

Written By | Feb 24, 2021
Woke, Culture, Sesame Street, Disney, Cancel Culture, Woke

Sesame Street cast – Ernie, Bert, Betty Lou, Roosevelt Franklin, Gordon and Susan.

Disney has decided it is necessary to slap warnings that episodes of the Muppet Show “…includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.”  Which is evidence that America is moving backward, instead of forward when it comes to race relations.  We have moved back to the turbulent ’60s where every day the divide between Americans by color, religion, and economic status was prevalent.  A divide that a young, emerging America fought against.

Now, liberal woke culture is decimating 60 years of hard-fought-for racial reconciliation, labeling all people and Muppets, not of color, as racist. (Disney Brands The Muppets Racist, Adds ‘Offensive Content’ Warning to Shows – ‘Woke’ streaming service restricts popular kids show to ‘adults only’)

The new liberal woke culture has reached boundaryless heights toward a fully totalitarian state under Democrat’s tyrannical rule.  Liberal policies including the lockdowns destroying blue-collar workers and small businesses are decimating everything we have fought for. They are literally fighting against American culture and exceptionalism.

From the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and countless other military campaigns patriots have fought to protect America and hold our founding documents sacrosanct. (Former Clinton Adviser Warns US Becoming ‘Totalitarian’ Under Lockdown Orders).

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We are now being challenged like never before. Only our wars are now local. Within our communities and fought on Main Street.

For those over the age of 50, it is not hard to remember when a white and black person could not marry.  (Interracial Marriage Became Legal In The US 50 Years Ago Today – 6/12/2017)

The Supreme Court heard the case of Loving vs. Virginia in 1963.  Already views between blacks and whites, particularly under the guidance of U.S. AG Robert F. Kennedy and his brother, John F. Kennedy, and the Rev. Martin Luther King, were evolving.  It was slow, not perfect, not always genuine.  But it was forward moving.

For example, in the 1960s people with a same-sex partner were shunned. Same-sex marriage was not even considered. But that changed. It took too long.  Stupidity is hard to fight, but it can be fought and it was.

And a big reason for that change was the normalization of people of color, sexual orientation, disability, and other religions in our pop-culture – music, TV, and movies.

But most importantly, in children’s programming.

Why does BLM and ANTIFA want Biden to cancel Black History Month?

Children’s programming brought the multi-colored and multi-cultured world into our living rooms

Captain Kangaroo (1955-1984), starring Bob Keesham, was the first racially integrated children’s show. James Wall became Captain Kangaroo’s neighbor, Mr. Baxter from 1968 to 1978.  Wall, a stage manager, advocated for the show to include a black child because “this is America.” Instead of bringing on a child, Wall was invited onto the show.

Shows like the Muppets introduced white children in the suburbs to Gordon.  Gordon gave black children a puppet on a popular TV show to identify with.  It was a small but important step.

Gordon first appeared in 1969 and is regarded as the first “black” muppet character, though he was more raspberry in color.  See children don’t see color among their toys, or puppets. Or people. They just saw Gordon.  One of the most beautiful aspects of children is that they live in a truly color-blind world.

Gordon was voiced by Matt Robinson

Robinson was a member of the Omega Phi Psi Fraternity, Inc,  the first international fraternal organization founded on the campus of a historically black college. The group was founded in 1911 at Howard University in Washington, DC.  Their name comes from the initials of the Greek phrase “friendship is essential to the soul.”  

Robinson also voiced the Mupplet Roosevelt Franklin who brought a bigger picture of African-American culture to Sesame street.  The following video shows Roosevelt Franklin breaking the stereotypes about Africa by teaching students at the Roosevelt Franklin Elementary School that Africa is more than just a jungle and what they see on the show Tarzan.

Watching the video one might imagine why the liberal woke would be up in arms over the students of Roosevelt Franklin school.  They do present some of the stereotypes of a third-grade class – of any color.  Paper airplanes flying, teasing, and the little Miss Knows It All.

While Sesame Street did champion the acceptance of diversity, it did miss the mark now and then. But they always made steps to improve the program and the show grew and changed. Often well ahead of the “times.” Just as many Americans were growing and changing.

One of the show’s most endearing and beloved “people” was Maria played by Sonia Manzano, and Luis the repairman, played by Emilio Delgado, in 1971. The show also invited Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Native American singer, and activist to appear on the show.  (1975) Through Sesame Street children were introduced to people of color, disability and various jobs, from the blue-collar worker to the celebrity to the politician.

Identity politics replacing the goal of a color blind society in schools

Friendship among a varied community was the hallmark of Sesame Street.

The theme song’s refrain, “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street” was a call for the children not to go to a place, but to create a place where they could learn to live with all “peoples.”  Even if their home was a gigantic nest or dented garbage can. Whether they were a six-foot bird or a homeless grouch.

We met multi-lingual Rosita, who was Spanish-English. Or Mahboub, an Arab Israeli Muppit who spoke Arabic – Hebrew. Both characters showing that differences in language and culture shouldn’t keep people from being friends. In the article Sesame Street: 50 Years of Representing Viewers Like You writer Victoria Gonzalez writes:

“It’s around 1999 in Tijuana, and I’m lying down with my tummy to the rug and my face in my hands as I try to remember what I just heard from my brother’s stuffed singing little red monster. It goes A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H … is the next one J?
I’m just four years old, and this little red monster already occupies a very important part in my heart. Kind and gentle, Elmo is my favorite Muppet on Sesame Street, which I watch with an almost religious fervor as I eat my morning cereal. I give up trying to remember how the song goes and press Elmo’s tummy again. Even though the sound quality is a bit scratchy, the familiar tune swaddles my young brain like a blanket as soft as Elmo himself, and I sing along to the alphabet song.
Twenty years later, that song still swirls around in my head. That stuffed Elmo’s mechanical heart has become worn, and the sound quality is poor at best, but that little red monster is still significant. Had it not been for Elmo and Sesame Street, learning my ABCs in English would have felt akin to downing castor oil rather than honey.”
“If our ‘message’ is anything, it’s a positive approach to life. That life is basically good. People are basically good.” — Jim Henson

Sesame Street offered children the chance to experience and understand disabilities through its guests as well by featuring characters with disabilities including blindness, deafness, wheelchair users, Down Syndrome, Autism, HIV positive, amputee, and kidney disease or rickets to the street. (Muppet Fandom) Not everyone with a message with a puppet.

Linda the Librarian taught sign language exposing a generation of children to the language of the deaf.  In 1993, Tara, a girl with osteogenesis imperfect rolled down the street in her wheelchair.  Tara taught children why accessibility ramps were important and showed that despite her circumstances, she could dance, and find joy.

Sesame Street showed children it was ok to be “different” and that they could make a new friend, the show also encouraged young people to accept themselves.

In the song “I love my hair” performed by Segi, a young African American girl celebrates the uniqueness of her hair.  (Black Women Speak Up About Their Struggles Wearing Natural Hair In the Workplace)

The song was written by head writer and puppeteer, Joey Mazzarino, after noticing his daughter’s frustration with Barbie dolls’ long, blonde hair.   The song made and continues to make, a positive impact on young African American girls as well as girls around the world whose hair is different.

Sesame Street was often very subtle in its messaging.  Children learned that you should love someone like Oscar the Grouch, who lived on the street in a garbage can because people who are a bit scary need love too.

They taught that the friendship between Bert and Ernie, roommates and constant companions was ok.  Without ever discussing their sexuality (this is a children’s show).

“The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.” — Jim Henson
Sesame Street, while a children’s show, impacts more than the child.

That child grows, with a positive message of forgiveness, acceptance, joy, and the ability to see the beauty in others. Those children of the 1970s grew up to become the parents of the 1990s and the grandparents of 2010.  And with each generation, the message of Sesame Street should have grown wider. That growth coming to a full stop in 2020-2021 and the woke Democrat Liberal tyranny that is anything but aware, or woke.  That seeks to destroy, not build.

According to Disney, the adventures of the Muppets, the lessons of inclusivity, joy, friendship, and learning to count will have a “harmful impact” that we must “learn from.” Viewers in France are greeted with the disclaimer: “This programme includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now.”

The network is warning paying customers of their responsibility “to create a more inclusive future.”

It is not enough that we have to pay for the service, now we have to become woke social warriors parroting the message of hate and tyranny espoused by the Democrats, from Joe Biden to the BLM/ANTIFA marches in our streets.

Now Disney, playing to those that are “woke,” seeks to define Sesame Street as “offensive.”  Disney has decided that the Muppets contains “offensive content” and can now be seen only on an adult account.

Disney is also blocking children from watching Peter Pan, Dumbo, and The Aristocats due to concerns over racial stereotypes, stating that “We can’t change the past, but we can acknowledge it, learn from it and move forward together to create a tomorrow that today can only dream of.”

A tomorrow of violence, riots, hate, forced segregation of whites from blacks, and the teaching in our schools that white children are inherently racist, evil, and privileged.  I am sure if you asked the late Muppets creator Jim Henson what he thought, he would just shake his head and cry a little.

How has this happened?

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But the Muppets was not the only, or first, children’s show to address racism

Mr. Rogers Neighborhood (1968-2001) taught children that being kind and gentle in life was good. Every show he invited a cast of characters to join him in teaching a message of good with the simple words “won’t you be my neighbor.”

In 1969 amongst strong civil rights unrest, Fred Rogers invited Officer Clemmons to join him in soaking their tired feet in a wading pool together. Mr. Rogers then helping the policeman dry his feet with his towel.

Officer Clemmons, played by actor François Clemmons, was black.  That same year, 1969, the Supreme Court rules that pools could not be segregated by race.

“I grew up in the ghetto, and I did not have a positive opinion of police officers,” Clemmons said. “Policemen were siccing dogs and water hoses on people, and I really had a hard time putting myself in that role. I was not excited about being Officer Clemmons at all.”
But Clemmons believes the pool scene made “a very strong statement” by showing his “brown skin in the tub with [Rogers’] white skin as two friends,” he said.
“I still was not convinced that Officer Clemmons could have a positive influence in the neighborhood and the real-world neighborhood,” he added. “But I think I was proven wrong.”

A “woke” message to those at Disney, and the Democrat snowflake culture taking a giant eraser to the equality gains of the last 50 years, comes from Twitter:

Disney is wrong to censor Sesame Street and the animated movies of yesteryear. Their misguided actions remove the opportunity for parents and children to watch episodes from these turbulent times and discuss them.   Those yesteryear episodes hold important messages of unity and overcoming adversity.

Yes, television and movies from the 1960s and ’70s missed the mark.  But we have grown as a community.  We have changed, we are more inclusive and will work to be more inclusive every day. It is human nature to be better.  If you just leave us alone.  If you just stop the preaching.  The cancel culture.  Hysteria and riots.  Burning, looting, and destruction of neighborhoods and family businesses. None of that is helping.

Stop demanding division between people, because the people not on Twitter are not listening.

The people in America outside of political centers are busy living their lives with their spouses, their multi-racial children, and families that more often than not accept the people their people love.

We can only be as good as a nation as we are as individuals.  And the message from Disney, ANTIFA, BLM, and the cancel culture does not reflect the best that we can be.

Lead Image: Sesame Street cast – Ernie, Bert, Betty Lou, Roosevelt Franklin, Gordon and Susan.

Jacquie Kubin

Jacquie Kubin is an award-winning writer and wanderer. She turns her thoughts to an eclectic mix of stories - from politics to sports. Restless by nature and anxious to experience new things, both in the real world and online, Jacquie mostly shares travel and culinary highlights, introduces readers to the chefs and creative people she meets and shares the tips, life and travel information people want to read.