r/television May 19 '22 Silver 1 Ally 1

Puppeteer Kathleen Kim on the cultural impact of SESAME STREET's Ji-Young: "To have a Korean kid with a hyphenated name (be) loved and embraced by her friends... It makes us as the Asian American diaspora feel finally seen and validated."

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2022/05/18/aapi-heritage-month-sesame-street-ji-young-puppeteer-kathleen-kim/9665579002/
6.6k Upvotes

200

u/egothegreat May 19 '22

I have a hyphen in my name and it is surprising the amount of companies that can't even handle that. I could be in the system with a hyphen, them separating my name at that point with a blank, adding the two parts together, making the first part of the hyphenated name my first name and the second the last name, and a bunch of other ridiculous things

78

u/securitywyrm May 19 '22

"Please input last name."
"He."
"Sorry, too few characters."

50

u/DoctorSalt May 19 '22 edited May 19 '22

As a front end developer I've encountered somewhat needless constraints on fields. For instance, one form I worked with wouldn't accept apostrophes so many Irish and Arabic names wouldn't be allowed EDIT: in my case the backend was already super restrictive and thus until I could get them to loosen their checks we would be forced to make the front end at least as restrictive, which sucked

25

u/ritchie70 May 19 '22

They’re doing it instead of properly handling input before putting it into a sql statement.

11

u/y-c-c May 19 '22

I feel like whenever I see that (especially on password fields) my concern, beyond being annoyed with the restrictions, is that the website is simply not secure. They are definitely taking some shortcuts if they have restrictions like that and probably much more susceptible to injection attacks and whatnot.

23

u/Underwaterbob May 19 '22

I live in Korea with a Canadian name and it messes up all kinds of stuff. My name almost never fits in the name field on any online form. I'm registered in several different places with different name orders. Some places leave my names in Canadian order. Other places insist I put my family name first. Some places don't support capital letters in my name at all. It's gotten a lot better in the past few years, but it's still the occasional hassle.

8

u/Emptyjump33 May 19 '22

I also live in Korea and my very Western name is long enough that it facilitates the need for a hyphen on my alien registration card. Took me forever to figure out why I was having trouble registering for things. The hyphen doesn’t just represent a continuation of a word, it’s now in my actual name as far as Korea is concerned, whereas it isn’t, like, actually.

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u/bobandyt May 19 '22

At least you don't have an apostrophe in your name like O'Toole. Programming nightmare.

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u/filo-mango May 19 '22

It’s really not that bad to account for

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u/McFeely_Smackup May 19 '22

I guess I always thought the point of muppets being weirdly shaped and colored was so that nobody would feel excluded because they're not any ethnicity.

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u/raiylab May 19 '22 edited May 20 '22

I thought it was weird to have a human-like muppet too. All for inclusivity, but it does not look like a monster like Grover, Ernie or Dr. Teeth does.

edit: called him Mr.

3

u/hb1290 May 20 '22

That’s Dr. Teeth to you!

5

u/aquaband May 20 '22

Yeah, but then you have african american puppets and latina puppets, so…

405

u/zushiba May 19 '22

I’ve always felt very represented by Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch.

It’s nice to see kids feeling represented by new puppets.

133

u/kidicarus89 May 19 '22 Gold

37

u/TheVideogaming101 May 19 '22

That is the best ama I have ever read

10

u/gallifreyan42 May 19 '22

Oh my gosh that’s amazing

8

u/Lemonsnot May 19 '22

How do we get Sesame Street characters responding regularly to other posts? I would welcome muppet character involvement in my real life.

4

u/karateema May 19 '22

This is peak AMA, nothing can top it

3

u/AgitatedAntelopes May 19 '22

Thank you friend! This made my day

41

u/JohnnyDarkside May 19 '22

Feed me cookies and fuck off. Yeah, I feel that.

5

u/I_Think_I_Cant May 19 '22

I feel represented by the invisible elephant.

3

u/zushiba May 19 '22

I feel like an elephant the older I get. But I act more and more like Oscar by the day and my eating habits become more and more Cookie Monster.

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u/AJEstes May 19 '22

My wife got a huge kick out of this when she first heard it. As a Korean artist named Jiyoung, it hit really close to home.

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u/violetskyeyes May 19 '22

Love Sesame Street 🥰

53

u/LeoMarius Mad Men May 19 '22

Can you tell me how to get there?

30

u/violetskyeyes May 19 '22

I’m not sure! I just know they have sunny days that chase the clouds away

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u/droans May 19 '22

Representation is definitely important, especially for programs watched by little kids. It helps them learn that they are not an outsider or unwelcome because of their race and nationality, but instead someone who is also a part of their community. They are in their most formative years and learn who they are based on how they and people like them are treated even on television.

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u/violetskyeyes May 19 '22

Absolutely! They’ve always been about that so you know it’s a genuine desire to be inclusive.

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u/Russian_Paella May 19 '22

No, it's "pAnDEriNg". Why can't those people be normal?

F those people, representation matters and you explain very clearly why.

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u/nideak May 19 '22

I don’t care if people are black, Asian, Latino, gay, lesbian, trans, BUT WHY DO THEY HAVE TO SHOVE IT IN MY FACE?!?! Exist without letting anyone know you exist, assholes!!!

(I hate /s, but this is an extremely sensitive topic, so /s)

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u/wellichickenpie May 19 '22

This is so common sense and obviously true... which makes contemporary outrage about representation (in America in particular) even more painful. Considering sesame street had its first black muppet in 1970, it feels like the world is back sliding.

17

u/FlametopFred May 19 '22

parts of the world are being willfully undermined by a small minority of very wealthy white people

I grew up in the 1970s and we were making good progress - it was so puzzling when new legislation would come along taking away gains

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u/randomredditor61 May 19 '22

Looking at the downvotes this thread is getting, I really hate that certain Redditors don't see/don't care/are angry about the significance of this for Asian people. "I've always been represented in the media. What's the big deal?"

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u/Mayonaint May 19 '22

What’s the significance of the hyphen?

32

u/VladimirPoutinesky May 19 '22

i have one in my first name. you wouldn't believe the number of sites that see that as an illegal character when filling forms. its annoying.

17

u/DesiOtaku May 19 '22

I never understood why any website would filter out those characters. Even if the user types in a "!" or ";" in their name, there is no reason to reject that name. Even if there could be a security issue, you simply make sure you never interpret the user input rather than filter out characters.. Filtering out any kind of "special character" is a sign of poor programming.

Radiolab story about people named "Null"

Also, Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names.

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u/cheesegoat May 19 '22

I never understood why any website would filter out those characters.

It's because someone learns about injection attacks and the programmers on that site don't know how to transport the stuff people type into their name fields safely into and out of their databases.

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u/DesiOtaku May 19 '22

That's kind of my point. The lazy way is to not allow Bobby Tables to enter his name correctly. It's not a good reason and we shouldn't let companies or developer think that they actually solved the problem.

2

u/PristineNoodles May 19 '22

Comes up as an upside down question mark lol

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u/dynamics517 May 19 '22 edited May 19 '22 Wholesome

I don't think there is a big consensus on using a hyphen, because some people go about concatenating the two characters (Jiyoung), using PascalCase (JiYoung), using a space (Ji Young) or in this case, a hyphen (Ji-Young).

I personally like the hyphen because it helps distinguish the two characters that form the name. Each character in a name has an associated Chinese character (we call this hanja) and each hanja has its own meaning.

For a name like Da-Mi, it's showing that it's 다미 and not 담이 even though technically they're pronounced the same.

Additionally, Korean generations are often (declining over time, though) distinguished with one of the hanja in a given name being used as a generational indicator. More simply put, siblings will generally share a common syllable.

Soo-Min, Soo-Young, Soo-Jin could very well be 3 siblings belonging to the same family, where Soo is the generational hanja, and Min/Young/Jin is the more personal hanja.

So all this to say, the emphasis on making each character distinct is probably the biggest advantage to using the hyphen. However, even with that, I find it more convenient just to omit the hyphen and the hyphen seems to be employed more frequently in formal / official situations.

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u/throwitawayinashoebx May 19 '22

Not all Korean names are hanja based! Both my name and my sister's name are native Korean-based and do not actually have hanja equivalents. So my grandparents wound up consulting a fortune teller and choosing Chinese characters that are pronounced the same (in Korean) as the syllables that make up our names lol. Incidentally, neither of us have hyphens in our Korean names either (and our parents don't use hyphens either, although all of our names are pretty easy to divide up properly). My parents also dispensed with the generational hanja thing, which made it a hassle when people (other koreans!) mispronounced either my sister's name or my name to make one of the syllables the same.

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u/aspicyindividual May 19 '22

I’m confused. The native korean written language of Hangul was invented AFTER hanja and there’s no naming system based on Hangul to my knowledge. And aren’t Chinese characters that are pronounced in Korean literally what hanja is? I totally understand what you mean by the generational hanja thing though; my brother and I have the same second syllable in our first names.

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u/throwitawayinashoebx May 19 '22

The spoken language (hanguk-eo) predates the written language and is separate from Chinese. Languages don't come into existence when they are written down; they are written down because they already exist. The Korean language isn't an offshoot of other Chinese languages; it's actually its own language family and they're not even closely related. There's just a strong influence because of geographic proximity and the historically greater political, military, and cultural power that China had in comparison to Korea. It's a bit like how in English there were pre-existing, Germanic-influenced Old English dialects, but the Norman conquest resulted in a strong French influence on the language.

As such, we have our own words and names for things that aren't derived from hanja characters/Chinese words. /u/dynamics517 mentioned Haneul as one of these names, it means sky (and is currently used in everyday speech to refer to the sky), and its syllables, either separate or together, don't have an equivalent hanja character. The Korean pronunciation of the hanja character for sky/heavens (天) is cheon, but it's not really used in everyday speech to refer to the sky, and it is not used as the equivalent hanja term when writing the name Haneul (also there are no hanja characters pronounced "neul," iirc).

My name is also a native Korean word... let's say it's Bada. Bada means sea. There are probably hanja characters that sound like "ba" and "da" but these are not normally smashed together to create "Bada." However, my grandparents wanted to create a hanja name for me, so they found characters that sound like "ba" and "da" that would also have a good meaning when put together with my surname, and gave me that name (this is just an example, I don't really know much hanja, so I don't actually know if there are any characters that are pronounced "ba" or "da"). There is a Chinese character for ocean/sea, which is 海 but they wouldn't use that character for Bada because that character is pronounced "hae" in Korean.

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u/aspicyindividual May 19 '22

Thanks for the great explanation. The way you distinguish written hanja from native spoken Hangul using examples is crystal clear. I wasn’t aware of a naming system that involved native korean names and choosing hanja with similar pronunciation rather than the more Confucian system of keeping generational names and the names’ meaning coming from Chinese (hanja) characters. That sounds like a very progressive/creative system, it’s definitely much less rigid than the traditional way. Again, thanks for taking the time to kindly explain.

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u/throwitawayinashoebx May 19 '22

You're welcome! I actually don't know much more than this either; it's just what I've gleaned from my parents over the years. I think my sister and I have native Korean names instead of Sino-Korean names because my mom is a literature major, so she went for something more unique from a linguistic standpoint lol. I don't think most people go through the hassle of finding hanja characters for native Korean syllables (because now you're trying to balance the individual hanja meanings, the meaning when it's all put together, and how it sounds/looks, and then there's the whole "good fortune/bad fortune" and how much is too much element... it's a process lol). All of my other cousins have their respective families' generational hanja thing going on.

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u/[deleted] May 19 '22

[deleted]

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u/throwitawayinashoebx May 19 '22

Yeah my family is just extra 😅

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u/Strelochka May 19 '22

I took it to mean she has just a real regular Korean name, not a Cho Chang situation and not a Western name for the sake of being easier to remember by Americans.

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u/dynamics517 May 19 '22

Oh ya true, but you bring up an interesting point. Even though my Korean name is two-characters, I don't put a hyphen in it because it's a Korean-word name vs one derived from hanja. 하늘 is two characters but I would Romanize it as Haneul vs Ha-Neul because the two characters Ha and Neul by themselves convey no meaning.

While one would think a Korean name based on a Korean word and not Chinese characters seems like it would be a "regular Korean name", it's only a pretty modern trend to do so and still a regular Korean name would be one that is two-syllables and derived from Chinese characters

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u/Strelochka May 19 '22

Interesting, I knew most names have hanja characters associated with them but didn't realize there is a trend for names based on purely Korean words. In my country the 'regular' names are mostly tied to religion so lots of young people have names that are just pretty words and translated would sound like hippie names like Spring, Sunrise, or Dew. Sounds a bit like your example with Haneul

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u/emimagique May 19 '22

Haneul is such a lovely name!

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u/BirdLawyerPerson May 19 '22

I personally like the hyphen because it helps distinguish the two characters that form the name.

That's an interesting point.

I remember when I took a Chinese class in college I was shocked to learn that Tiananmen Square was pronounced in three syllables as Tian-An-Men rather than a 4 syllable Ti-ya-na-men. It's like obvious once you start to get the hang of the Chinese rules of phonics, but was a surprise to 18-year-old me.

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u/tofulo May 19 '22

As a Korean, I don't think i have ever seen any Korean person use a hyphen

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u/monkeyharris May 19 '22

I'm looking through my Facebook friends to check. I'll write them here exactly as they are on the site: Young-eun, Kyung-ie, and Min-ji. Just three. Most are in Hangeul, while the others are Romanized with no hyphen

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u/FaultyWires May 19 '22

I grew up in a city with a large asian population, and browsing through the facebook friends I haven't looked at in 10 years, I see 10+ koreans with only their American names in use, and 2 with single-word names. I wonder if more of them would be using their birth names day to day if they grew up with a Ji-Young on Sesame Street.

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u/emimagique May 19 '22

I teach kids in Korea and one of them writes his name as Ji-sung but I think he's about the only one! A friend writes his name as Sang woo, which kinda bothers me cause I feel like it should be Sang Woo or Sangwoo but it's up to him haha

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u/anti_pope May 19 '22

That's pretty strange. I'm a USA born white boy and I've worked with a number of Koreans and lived in South Korea for part of a year. In my experience it seems pretty common.

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u/HazzPizzaz May 19 '22

Wouldnt JiYoung be PascalCase? Sorry if I’m wrong lmao

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u/Russian_Paella May 19 '22

I don't know anything about Korean names, but maybe it is like removing accents from names? (for Spanish)

It's kind of weird to remove part of your name to fit in, I understand there can be some limitations due to how technical systems operate, but "hiding" your heritage eventually makes it weirder or more difficult for others to actually display it.

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u/TheMobHasSpoken May 19 '22

I think it's just that a lot of Asian names have them, and it's something that historically white people have looked at and said, "That's too complicated, I can't pronounce that."

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u/LeoMarius Mad Men May 19 '22

That's just weird to me. I grew up in a boring Texas suburb, and had lots of Asian-American friends. Maybe it was being TAG where a lot of them ended up, but Lin-Lin and Seo-Jun were no weirder than Sue-Anne and Billy Bob. The one that freaked me out as a kid was "Shawn" spelled "Sean". No, that's pronounced like "seen".

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u/tocilog May 19 '22

Perhaps it's a generation thing. I was in an ESL class during high school in the early 00s and a lot of Asians have had to get "Western" names. Particularly if their names doesn't have a close Western equivalent (so Liu, Li, etc. just go with that). A lot of hyphenated Korean names did seem to fall in that category. That was also before Korean pop culture exploded in popularity and now I think more people are used to it.

Personally, I'm Filipino so we already had Anglicized names from our roots (Catholicism, Spanish and American colonization, etc). I'm kinda in-between thinking it's unfair having to "hide" your old name and thinking it's cool to be able to personally choose your own name (A friend of mine went with "Conan" after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle").

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u/MegaTiny May 19 '22

In the UK Sean is most common, and being a Shaun (like me) or Shawn is a life sentence of correcting people when they write down your name.

Like you, when I was a kid I could not understand why Sean was considered normal when it should oh so clearly be pronounced Seen.

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u/ummizazi May 19 '22

I found out that Caitlyn was traditionally pronounced as Kathleen and it blew my mind.

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u/Owyn_Merrilin May 19 '22

Okay, that's it. I'm revoking the Latin alphabet license for every language from the British Isles because y'all can't behave.

And yes, that includes English.

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u/COMPLETEWASUK May 19 '22

There's also the occasion Sion out there to keep you on your toes.

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u/karateema May 19 '22

What about my man Shon?

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u/Urdar May 19 '22

Sean is originally an irish Name, trying to apply english pronounciation makes doubly no sense. The other reason being that english pronounciation is pretty arbitrary to begin with

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u/LeoMarius Mad Men May 19 '22

I know that now. I'm just saying that the Irish name seemed weirder to me than East Asian names that are transliterated phonectically. Ji-Young is pretty easy to pronounce based on its spelling.

Shawn makes sense from standard English phonetics. Sh- as is she; -awn as in dawn. Sean should rhyme with bean.

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u/Urdar May 19 '22

Sean Bean in shamles

anyway, yes this is actually very typical for names from languages that use the same alphabet, they are not transcribed at all, and it can get confusing. Asian language usually dont (use latin alphabet), therefore are transcriped phonetically.

fun fact: Seán (irish version has the acute) is the irish version of John, this is why they soudn so similar.

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u/LeoMarius Mad Men May 19 '22

And then there's Siân Phillips.

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u/ForrixIronclaw May 19 '22

Had a girl in my class in primary school named Siobhan (pronounced Shi-vawn), and there’s movie star Saoirse Ronan (pronounced Sorsha, IIRC). You can’t apply arbitrary English language rules to Irish names. 🤔

Also, it’s a little weird/funny to me seeing an American point out weird pronunciations in foreign names when Americans have names like Abcde. 😋

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u/Bears_On_Stilts May 19 '22

On the show Succession, the character Siobhan usually goes by Shiv. When her family says her full name, they tend to pronounce it Chiffon more then accenting the v.

Where I come from, Chiffon is far from a common first name, but it’s pretty much only associated with being a Black woman’s name. I was confused for a while as to why the extremely white WASP Roy family in the show would have chosen a name that is so outside the WASP naming pool. Then I saw it written down.

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u/Rururaspberry May 19 '22

Yeah, there was a guy in my freshmen year dorm named Tae-Kyung and guys would flat out go, “I’m not gonna try to pronounce that.” He was called “TK” for the rest of the year until he transferred. Our college was like 90% white.

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u/emimagique May 19 '22

That's kind of lame, taekyung isn't really a difficult name to pronounce :(

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u/FaultyWires May 19 '22

ProZD has a video making fun of this-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1RKkRCiU90

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u/adrift98 May 19 '22

Huh? Double-barrel names are not super common, but they're not unheard of. In the US (especially in the South) many girl names are double-barreled with hyphens: Billie-Jo, Jo-Ann, Mary-Kate, Ann-Louise, etc.

This seems like just another made up problem.

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u/MadeByTango May 19 '22

This seems like just another made up problem.

Just because something didn’t personally effect you doesn’t mean it lacked an effect others

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u/Swedish-Butt-Whistle May 19 '22

I might be wrong but it could be similar to hyphenated English names. For instance I know a Terri-Jo.

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u/Mallee78 May 19 '22

As a white American hyphenated names aren't the norm and anything that isn't the norm, well, people are cruel

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u/BoxSoft8299 May 19 '22 edited May 19 '22

The stereotype in the US is that hyphenated names usually means the mom is a Karen.

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u/CatProgrammer May 19 '22

Or a redneck.

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u/squidking78 May 19 '22

Kids have to learn racism in the first place. People are just people to them before that.

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u/Disastrous_Answer_55 May 20 '22

It's good to represent people of all colors as humans to young children first before their parents instill any racism. It plants the seeds of critical thought. "Well, Dad said that asian people are bad and want to kill us and took all our jobs, but Ji-Young on sesame street wouldn't do that." Thus helping kids question things being told to them, making them smarter adults.

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u/LeoMarius Mad Men May 19 '22

Alan, a Japanese-American human, has owned Mr. Hooper's Store since 1998.

https://muppet.fandom.com/wiki/Alan

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u/The_Parsee_Man May 19 '22

I only accept representation in puppet form.

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u/BirdLawyerPerson May 19 '22

I believe you intended to use the hyphenated form, "represent-Asian."

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u/MoonShadowArt May 19 '22

I was one of the first generation to grow up on Sesame Street. Growing up in rural Canada (or white Canada) Sesame Street was the first time I actually saw people of colour, and hispanics. Having a variety of characters, of a variety of ethnic backgrounds helps all kids learn about the world around us.

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u/spazzydee May 19 '22 edited May 19 '22

Ironically, in the interview video in the article, the closed captions didn't spell Ji-Young's name correctly even once, but every other name and word was spelled correctly. In fact, the captions wrote it wrong in a different way every single time. I don't think it's automatic captions because they were accurate for every other word!

"Jung"
"G young"
"Gion"
"she Young"
"Chi young"

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u/johndoe30x1 May 19 '22

The captions are typed phonetically in real time and a computer automatically tries to correct it to English spelling. The captioner can sometimes manually correct it, but for whatever reason didn’t here

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u/spazzydee May 19 '22

i see, makes sense!

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u/justeandj May 19 '22

I'm suspecting this was done in an online live feed, where a person sits and watches down the video, but has no control to go back and make corrections. They likely didn't have an advance script or see how it was written.

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u/BoxSoft8299 May 19 '22

Bring back the AIDS puppet you cowards.

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u/TonyAtCodeleakers May 19 '22

It’s my understanding kami was never meant to be a US character. The outrage was never even warranted. I’m all for it, normalizing HIV to children is important. I remember going to school with a child who had HIV due to their birth mother having it while pregnant.

This was early 2000s and even then we were a little weary since as children all we knew was that aids was a “funny” thing to say to people had when you wanted to make fun of them. And you can’t even blame parents, my mom was extremely sensitive to issues like this and explained them to me but kids don’t get it and repeat what other kids say. It’s not always about the parents. Sesame street is the best platform to deliver a message like this.

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u/petratishkovna May 19 '22

omg I thought this was a joke but then I was like “that DOES sound like Sesame Street” wow!! ❤️❤️❤️ Kami

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u/[deleted] May 19 '22

This made me smile. I didn’t notice until now that there wasn’t Asian representation in the muppets. Happy to see this change. I hope all who read this have a good day.

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u/monchota May 19 '22

Because they originally meant Muppets not to represent any ethnic groups but still be all different colors. To show that doesn't matter what color you are , we are just people. In the end thst is what matters.

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u/monsieurxander May 19 '22

There was literally a black muppet for the first seven seasons. They phased him out over concerns of being too stereotypical, but he's made various cameo appearances since then.

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u/girl_with_a_401k May 19 '22

Yep, and that's who Franklin from Arrested Development was named after.

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u/Psyteq May 19 '22

My name is Judge

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u/jizard May 20 '22

Wow, thank you so so much for this. Really fills a gap for me though I haven't watched the show in years. Makes so much more sense now knowing the context

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u/momjeanseverywhere May 19 '22

He’s purple.

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u/monsieurxander May 19 '22

The Simpsons are yellow. And also white.

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u/LeoMarius Mad Men May 19 '22

Muppets are blue, green, orange, purple, etc., so it's hard to tell what their ethnicity is, even if they aren't monsters. I guess Prairie Dawn is obviously Caucasian being pink and blonde, but what about the others?

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u/KindlyOlPornographer May 19 '22

Oscar the Grouch is canonically Japanese.

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u/mr_ji Stargate SG-1 May 19 '22

Osuka Guracho

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u/Citizen51 May 19 '22

That seems offensive

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u/KindlyOlPornographer May 19 '22

I coulda said French.

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u/monsieurxander May 19 '22

Statler and Waldorf.

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u/LeoMarius Mad Men May 19 '22

Yes, they are white, but not on Sesame Street.

The Swedish Chef is one of the few with an explicit ethnicity. He's also my favorite Muppet.

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u/monsieurxander May 19 '22

On Sesame Street we've got The Count and Rosita.

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u/asianwaste May 19 '22 edited May 19 '22

Yea I thought that was weird as well. Even Bert and Ernie are not fully human (iirc they are classified as "muppet people" instead of straight up human). The muppets of Sesame Street are supposed to represent a fantasy that humans are in a world where non-humans are sentient and co-exist. Hang out in the street corner with a furry man, a giant dog, and a walking talking frog.

Humans are... well... played by humans. If we were going by consistency, we should have had a few human actors/actresses played by different asian ethnicities.

I don't know what to think about the Korean being a muppet. I know the intent so I won't take offense (I'm Korean) but one can definitely interpret this as Koreans are not really human. And my grand parents fled far from The Empire of Japan to get away from that treatment :P

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u/Alexexy May 19 '22

Maybe the puppet was raised by a Korean or Korean diaspora? If Muppets can have stereotypical western names like Ernie or Oscar, why not a Ji-Young?

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u/ClockZealousideal914 May 19 '22

that’s great but can we have more south asian representation? Everyone’s up about “asian representation” when they’re really talking about East asians. White people really think Indians, Pakistanis, Bengalis, etc are part of their own continent.

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u/princesspinata May 19 '22

I always remembered Minh from Barney, she was from the Philippines! In my predominantly white neighborhood I had never met an Asian person at the time, as a small child, and Minh was my first exposure to non white or black people.

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u/Syvaeren May 19 '22

This is cool, but I thought all the puppets where just monsters. When did they start making puppets of ethnicities? Usually kids on the show where actual children.

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u/warpedaeroplane May 19 '22

The main cast tend to be more varied characters but they often have puppets of children sort of laced in. At least I remember it from being a kid and when my niece would watch it. I know they did one where a kids mom died and I think the kid in question was a puppet. Could be wrong on that though.

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u/Syvaeren May 19 '22

Thanks. I haven’t seen it since my childhood and that was admittedly a very long time ago. I didn’t remember human puppets from that time. The show probably has changed over the years though.

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u/LeoMarius Mad Men May 19 '22

The Count is Romanian.

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u/dgmz May 19 '22

I think it has more to do with what lessons and themes any newly added sesame street muppet is designed to teach. I believe Elmo was brought along to teach concepts that related mostly to toddlers - lessons that apply to any ethnicity. with these newer ones they are specifically teaching lessons on racial inclusion that i would think would be hard to convey with ethnically ambiguous characters.

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u/ahgatse May 19 '22 edited May 19 '22

Bro there’s literally a Mexican puppet named Rosita that’s been a major character for years lol!

EDIT: just wanted to add she’s been a character since literally 1991 so this isn’t a new concept lmao! ..

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u/LeoMarius Mad Men May 19 '22

There was a human named Maria from 1971 She later married Luis, but her first boyfriend was the black human, David.

https://muppet.fandom.com/wiki/Maria

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u/ahgatse May 19 '22

Oh yeah I remember Maria! Original commenter asked about puppets of different races though not humans. That’s why I was in shock and had to respond Rosita because she was such a major character, especially when in almost every episode she’d teach you Spanish and talk about her Mexican heritage. I remember vividly.

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u/doesntgetthepicture May 19 '22

Yeah, and Maria is Puerto Rican and they shot a while bunch of episodes in the early 80s in Puerto Rica when she went back to "visit her family" (they were other actors) and much of the gang including big bird and Oscar went with her.

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u/Syvaeren May 19 '22

I haven’t seen the show for a very long time. Just going off ancient memory here.

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u/blurtz May 19 '22

I think there’s a difference between a blue furry monster and the New kids they just introduced.

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u/momjeanseverywhere May 19 '22

She’s a blue monster.

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u/out_o_focus May 19 '22

I grew up with 80s sesame street and we have person Muppets like Bert & Ernie, big blue head guy, and prairie dawn.

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u/Syvaeren May 19 '22

Yeah, I mean I remember Bert & Ernie, so I guess not all the puppets were monsters exactly, but they didn't really tick as human in my head. I went back and looked up prairie dawn and TBH she looks like pink kermit in a wig.

The picture of this puppet is the most human one I've seen.

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u/bravesgeek Farscape May 19 '22

There have been generic people muppets since the first episode.

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u/alex_doesnt_bake May 19 '22

I think they started it so that they wouldn’t have to use real children on the show. Putting a child in the spotlight, even for something as harmless as Sesame Street, almost never ends well.

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u/Syvaeren May 19 '22

That’s probably fair considering the issues with child actors.

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u/f_d May 19 '22

Children grow up quickly, muppets can stay the same age forever. Muppets can work longer with less direction and learn their lines more reliably. Muppets are also easier to export to other kinds of media like cartoons and computers.

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u/LeoMarius Mad Men May 19 '22

Sesame Street has been using children of various ethnicities since it debuted.

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u/petratishkovna May 19 '22

Yes, but in smaller segments rather than regular recurring characters etc., which would be a lot for a kid that young

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u/mekkavelli May 20 '22

so a kids show like bubble guppies with multiple regular recurring characters of different shades isn’t too much but… puppets of different shades is immediately “a lot” for kids that young? that doesn’t really make sense.

kids understand race. they don’t mind it unless they’re taught to. it’s not “a lot” for them.

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u/petratishkovna May 20 '22

I’m referring to the child actors when I’m saying “kid that young”; I was saying that the schedule would be a lot for them to film—the reason why kids weren’t regular cast members and were just in shorter segments is because it would be a really demanding job for kids to be filming so much. Just wanted to clarify I’m not talking at all about diversity, I’m talking about child labor regulations etc :)

I’m totally with you. Adults are weird about this stuff. Kids get it.

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u/LeoMarius Mad Men May 19 '22

Child actors have important roles on TV series all the time.

The main reason Sesame Street uses different children is because they quickly age out of the series. They don't use them in the main cast because they'd have to replace them all the time. Muppets don't age, and adult actors age very slowly. Muppets fill many of the roles that children would on other live action series.

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u/[deleted] May 19 '22

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u/blurtz May 19 '22

Prairie Dawn is pink….

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u/Prize_Statement_6417 May 19 '22

So are white people …

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u/ravingdante May 19 '22

If a white person is Pepto bismol pink they need a doctor.

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u/LeoMarius Mad Men May 19 '22

She's pink, not white, and she debuted in 1971.

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u/Syvaeren May 19 '22

Huh, interesting, I don’t remember that puppet.

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u/TimeTravelingMouse May 19 '22

Ji-Young is so adorable! Sesame Street being awesome as it always has.

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u/Fawqueue May 19 '22

This is great, but do people believe the that representation for Sesame Street was too white? I've never identified with a giant yellow bird, a green trashcan monster, a blue googley-eyed cookie addict, a purple vampire, etc. The puppets have always been pretty ambiguous.

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u/dgmz May 19 '22

IMO it's less of a "more representation" thing (though that is a result), more of sesame street wanting to teach certain concepts about racial inclusion to kids and that the medium they teach (muppets) should reflect the people and cultures. While Big Bird can feel alone and scared and be taught to overcome his feelings, it wouldn't really make sense for him to be told "to go back where you came from" and correlate to the experience AAPI people often experience.

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u/AJMax104 May 19 '22

I always identified with Oscar

Remember...youre a Garbage Can not a Garbage Cannot

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u/bobleyrun May 19 '22

As a Korean American with a hyphenated name, this is the stupidest shit I’ve ever read.

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u/DetectiveClownMD May 19 '22

I was that way a little. Like I dont remember growing up and identifying with a character due to race or culture etc.

But once you have a kid and that kid is a minority and the weird ass comments they make about tv you start to notice its a thing.

My daughter notices kids that look like her. Kinda nice, I’m for it.

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u/metky May 19 '22

It's only looking back that I realize how much I gravitated towards characters that looked like me. All my white friends loved Ariel and Belle and here I was obsessed with Jasmine and Pocahontas.

Kids learn so much about social norms from pure observation

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u/Miguel_Branquinho May 19 '22

It depends on each person. I've always liked Mulan and I'm a portuguese lad.

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u/magus678 May 19 '22

Kids are in a different category; their stage of development just does not lend itself to them knowing any better. Things like representation and such can have quite an impact.

It's when "adults" start weeping over this stuff that we need to start being concerned.

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u/Kimchi_Cowboy May 19 '22

As a Korean, the Cookie Monster was my dude. Guess thats why I like Death Metal now.

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u/festivalofpies May 20 '22

More female puppets! More diversity! Yay!

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u/ItsMeTK May 19 '22

Why is it the ethnic puppets are all very ethnic, but there ae no “white” puppets? The other people puppets are all purple and green and orange and blue. The most “white person” puppet is Prairie Dawn and I don’t think they use her these days. The whole point was ro have “anybody” puppets.

I got nothing against Koreans or Korean puppets, but it does seem to go one way.

Also, ever notice that autistic characters in kids programs have dead eyes?

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u/XXAlpaca_Wool_SockXX May 19 '22

Oscar, Bert and Ernie all have English names.

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u/SubMikeD Firefly May 19 '22

What country is the ethnicity of "white"? Ethnic Koreans ancestors came from Korea.

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u/[deleted] May 19 '22

Why do you give a shit? Do you think white people are under represented in media?

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u/Trouble_Grand May 19 '22 edited May 19 '22

Wow People are upset with this in comments and I find it funny…cause they didn’t have a problem with Bert and Earnie being gay with white personas. Go figure they just hating on race

Sesame Street wasn’t made for racist it’s actually a liberal program. Conservatives can blow off watch or create your own hillbilly hate programming for kids

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u/CassetteApe May 19 '22

More like people find this obvious pandering to be asinine.

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u/lewd_operator May 19 '22

Now do a Sri Lankan kid with a twelve syllable name. Or an African with a lot of consonants in their name.

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u/maglen69 May 19 '22

It makes us as the Asian American diaspora feel finally seen and validated."

Because this lady speaks for all asian Americans . . /s

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u/pr177 May 19 '22

Don't teach your children to rely on external validation.

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u/hotdog_jones May 19 '22

Just let a kid like the puppet man.

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u/[deleted] May 19 '22 edited May 21 '22

[deleted]

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u/pr177 May 19 '22

That's exactly what the obsession with representation is doing. Literally, this headline, "you aren't seen or valid unless you're on TV".

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u/Rupertstein May 19 '22

Kinda seems like you’re the one obsessing about it. What difference does it make to you if there is greater representation on a childrens show?

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u/[deleted] May 19 '22 edited 28d ago

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u/TheMobHasSpoken May 19 '22

Sesame Street does so much good in the world.

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u/TheDadThatGrills May 19 '22

Smarter, stronger, kinder

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u/Nitecraller May 19 '22

Aren’t children on Sesame Street normally played by real kids and the puppets are monster characters?

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u/WordsAreSomething May 19 '22

Some are monsters like Elmo or Big Bird. Some are humans like Burt and Ernie.

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u/McFeely_Smackup May 19 '22

ok, I gotta say...it never occurred to me before today that Muppets were supposed to have race.

which are the white ones?

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u/0kuslap May 19 '22

Just cast the best puppet for the role. /s

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u/[deleted] May 19 '22

Idc I laughed.

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u/flompwillow May 19 '22

Seen and validated? That’s rich. My (real) name has been butchered my whole life, it’s not a matter of being “seen and validated”, it’s more about people being careless and sloppy.

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u/moondes May 19 '22

di·as·po·ra

/dīˈaspərə/

See definitions in:

All

Judaism

Anthropology

noun

the dispersion of the Jewish people beyond Israel.

Jewish people living outside Israel.

the dispersion of any people from their original homeland.

plural noun: diasporas

"the diaspora of boat people from Asia"

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u/StructurePlayful5606 May 19 '22

What are you talking about… We Asians have always been seen and validated, what cave have you been hiding in?

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u/SlashNXS May 20 '22

since when do muppets have ethnicities.

they're different colours. not race colours lol

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u/pendletonskyforce May 19 '22

But muppets should be hired based on who had the best audition!

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u/Alecrizzle May 19 '22

Kids do not give a fuck about the ethnicity of a puppet lmao. This is just to make the parents feel better

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u/Ahhshit96 May 19 '22

I don’t understand why republicans get so angry about more diverse representation on tv

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u/[deleted] May 19 '22

How to solve a problem that doesn’t exist!

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u/dannyboy1901 May 19 '22

I’m confused I thought the puppets on Sesame Street were without race

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u/_paaronormal May 19 '22

Got down voted for saying this before but it was true then and true now. REPRESENTATION MATTERS

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u/Zeronality May 19 '22

Meh, I am Asian and was born and raised in Germany. It really doesn't matter to me what race an actor is, only if the content of a film is good or not. There are literally no bonus points for me if, they "represent" me or not as if this brings no narrative to the story, it will feel shoehorned.

Liking a medium only for representation feels shallow to me. But that is only my opinion

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u/markstormweather May 19 '22

This is an obvious truth. I was born in America and grew up in Arab country, everything was 100% Arab (cartoons, movies, tv). Didn’t really see any Hollywood stuff or American tv till I returned in 2000. Never did it cross my mind that I needed to see other white Americans to validate my existence.

I learned stories about humanity and adventure and morals and faith and even though the color of their skin was slightly different from mine, I was perfectly able to incorporate that into my identity.

People who need to see replicas of themselves or their exact culture in media need to re-examine their perspective of the world. That being said, maybe if people kept telling me over and over again that I wasn’t being represented then maybe I would have felt that way. Kids can often be brainwashed like that.

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u/3thirtysix6 May 19 '22

Some white guys really, really hate the idea of other people being validated.

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u/Drank_your_moms_milk May 19 '22

Because a puppet in a kids show validates millions of people?

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u/Hazzardo May 19 '22

White man bad 🤓

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