Meet Ji-Young, Sesame Street's first Asian American muppet

Originally published at: Meet Ji-Young, Sesame Street's first Asian American muppet | Boing Boing


anxiously awaiting Ted Cruz’ pearl-clutching, “diversity is bad for white kids” reaction to the news.


No doubt. For the moment I’m just glad to focus on how great Sesame Street is and has always been at fostering diversity and inclusion.


Ted Cruz Snl GIF by Saturday Night Live


Papasan approves of this message.


Ted’s going to loose his shit.


That’s good. Sesame Street was always about making kids feel normal. Though I guess in my day I don’t know if I remember the muppets being specific races, but certainly the live action actors and guests were always eclectic and inclusive. But a lot has changed for the better since I was a kid, or even since my kiddo watched it.


Blimey, I’m surprised that it has taken Sesame Street this long. I’d have thought that they would be covering all the diversity bases by now; still, well done!


like with the simpsons being yellow, having theoretically no race winds up being the race or culture of the majority unless you specifically work to counter that

being (presumably) of the majority it’s hard to see that, especially when we are kids. but we all - everyone of every background - absorb it just the same


They intentionally chose multi-color monsters and generic “whatnot” muppet bodies in part so that they’d have a certain amount of ambiguity and diversity allowing children of all backgrounds to identify with the characters more or less equally well, but even in the early days they did plenty of sketches where the race of muppets was strongly implied through their voices, hair, etc. check out this one from 1973:


I’m fairly certain they’ve long had Asians and Asian American actors on the show…

In fact, here’s who runs Hooper’s Store now…



I just thought with the non specific colours one could interpret or not interpret race.

I suppose that is not enough.


Yeah, Alan is my dude!


The whole goal of Sesame Street from the start was to reflect the world kids experienced, to promote diversity and inclusion, and to educate children not only about letters and numbers to prepare them for school, but about the world around them. Having actors and puppets that kids who are not white (or able bodied, or neurotypical, etc) can relate to directly is a part of that mission. Just having a random puppet that’s “neutral” and could be interpreted as any race or ethnicity isn’t really helping to do that, it’s just assuming that “we’re all the same” and that our experiences are all the same, when that’s not true.


Agreed 100%… for a supporting example, see:

/tell me you have a preschooler without telling me you have a preschooler


Yeah, I remember Alan.

It was crazy watching with my kid characters like Gordon and Maria were still on the show!

I’m old enough to remember when Mr. Hooper died :frowning: And how Big Bird couldn’t get his name right.

I think in some cases it does, but in other cases having an even “more like me” muppet or character to identify with is a good thing. This includes people with various challenges that make them different who may feel they are left out. I know they have a new character who is autistic. And I grew up with Linda, who was deaf.

I mean the show is 51 years old, so ideas on how to best communicate with kids has obviously changed and adapted over the years.


Meanwhile in certain corners of the internet…

“Ugh, now {Sesame Street} is getting political too?! Why can’t the the far-left woke agenda leave our children alone?! I grew up on {Sesame Street}, and I’ve always been a huge fan, but now I’m worried what they’re going to teach to my kids!”

{franchise} is basically anything topical at the moment, so the poster can build social capital by riding the latest Twitter trend, even without knowing a damn thing about the franchise in question.

If you do something which makes Cancun Ted lose his shit, you’re probably doing the right thing.


I haven’t heard anything from Cruz (not like I follow him on Twitter), but the head of CPAC felt the need to jump in. What a weird worldview to have that response.

From what I can tell Sesame Street only gets 4% of its funding from the government. About $5 million per year.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.