The Sesame Street incident is proof that racism can pop up anywhere.
As I was livestreaming on Instagram earlier I kept getting comments about Sesame Street drama, which made me confused because I haven’t recall this franchise having any major issues with much of anything. I just assumed it was people on the internet bickering about the show’s special episodes or something like that. So when I finished the stream, I went to Google and the first thing that popped up was ‘Sesame Street racism’ when I typed in the name of the show. My heart sank. One of my favorite things as a child now has some racism tied to it. And this, this is just ugly.
Sesame Street is a franchise that provides educational entertainment to children, especially those of color. At Sesame Place, the theme park for Sesame Street, there was an incident where a performer in the Rosita costume was greeting all the white parents and their children, but ignored the two black girls who were trying to say hi. The performer waved their hands in a no gesture and walked away. This is the video that started it all. After this was released to the public, more videos came out from other people about how this same performer was being rude towards other black children. As of right now, it has not been revealed who the person in the Rosita costume is.
Something as fun and wholesome as Sesame Street has now been tainted with racism. Disappointed but not surprised. Why am I not surprised? Because racism sneaks up anywhere. People tend to forget that America was built off of racism. For those who are trying to say it isn’t, go do your research. Europeans came to the land known as America today with numerous Africans they kidnapped and brutalized the Indigeious people who were there first. Because of America’s racist origins, racism is everywhere to the point where plenty see it as a casual way of life and do not care. People are trying to justify the Rosita performer’s awful behavior towards the black children, and that is not ok at all.
I have been pretty open about my experiences with racism in places that people never thought it would occur at. From working on film sets, engaging in fandoms online, to fan and anime conventions; it’s ridiculous how this is everywhere. But, the issue going on with Sesame Street is a different kind of hurt. This is happening to children, people who are new to the world and do not know much of anything. Harmless black children have had their first encounter with racism at a place they are supposed to be happy at.
Black people are often prepared at a very young age to know that the world is not kind to them. When I was in Elementary school, I had teachers straight up tell us, “White people will dislike you for no reason. Do not act up because that will make you look worse.” The fact that black children are told this before they even know how to do long division is painful. It’s not that black teachers and parents want to tell their children this, but they feel like they do not have a choice because it’s the truth. Black people are seen as burdens on the world as soon as they are born. It doesn’t matter how nice and talented you are, how big your vocabulary is, wearing your hair straight or shaved off, racism is so normalized within our society that people will be nasty toward black people, simply because they are black.
The franchise has spoken up about the situation, but it just made matters more frustrating because they vindicated for the terrible actions. Sesame Street is a program I loved growing up, and part of that was because they wanted to help children of all races feel accepted. What is going on at Sesame Place is going against everything this brand stands for. The company has made up excuses for what is going on with their black patrons, and it has only made them look worse. Sesame Street, your legacy is way too special for you to try and brush something as nasty as this under the rug.
Thank you guys so much for reading. If you would like to support me, all my social media handles are @harriyanna. If you would like to donate, here’s my ko-fi link and pateron.