Sunday, December 5, 2021

The first Asian-American character on Sesame Street was warmly welcomed: “Representation counts”

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Sesame Streetis first asian american Character will make her first appearance on the legendary show later this month.

Ji-Young, 7, is a Korean-American puppet with two main passions – playing the electric guitar and skateboarding.

She will make her debut during the show Thanksgiving Special next Thursday next to a number of celebrity guests, including actor Simu Liu, Top chef Host Padma Lakshmi and tennis player Naomi Osaka.

The doll was created in 2020 after several discussions such as: George Floyd dies and the Increase in anti-Asian hate incidents.

The show also featured Tamir last October. While he wasn’t the first black doll in the series, he was the first to speak on topics like race.

Kay Wilson Stallings, Executive Vice President of Creative and Production at Sesame Workshop, said that AP that they want Ji-Young to teach children to be upstanders.

Stallings said, “To be an upstander is to point out things that are wrong, or that someone does or says, based on their negative attitudes towards the person based on their skin color or language or origin. We want our audience to understand that they can be upstander. “

Since the news broke this morning, people have been visiting Twitter to warmly welcome the show’s newcomer.

Entrepreneur Dave Lu said, “It might just be a puppet, but Asian kids who see themselves in Ji-Young will not feel that different. And others who don’t know Asians will get to know a character who will help them. “

Part of the punk doll’s personality comes from her puppeteer Kathleen Kim.

Kim, 41, who is also Korean-American, said it was important that the doll not be “generally Pan-Asian.”

Kim said, “Because that’s what all Asian Americans have seen. They somehow want to stick us in these monolithic “Asians”. So it was very important that she was specifically Korean-American, not just generally Korean, but that she was born here. “

In the Thanksgiving special, Ji-Young gets upset after a child tells him off-screen to “go home.” However, she is supported by the rest of the cast.

Kim said, “My only hope, of course, is to actually help teach racism, teach children to recognize it, and then speak out against it. But my other hope for Ji-Young is that she will just normalize seeing different-looking children on TV. “

Although Ji-Young has an important educational role to play, we can assume that she will continue to engage in silly antics and carefree mischief in the future.

Ji-Young joins the show as the TV program celebrates its 52nd anniversary this month.

This is not the first time in the last few weeks Sesame Street made headlines.

In perhaps the most bizarre Twitter beef we’ve seen in a while, Republican politicians and anti-Vaxxers rowed Big Bird after tweeting about receiving his Covid vaccine.

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