WTF? of the Day: Sesame Street

Comments

  1. I don't know...I'm not sure...how do I even begin...?

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  2. So far I've just seen positive responses to this.

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  3. I'd really like to hear you on this.

    Here is a little background : http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curlykids/sesame-street-muppet-loves-her-hair

    Makes me think of Chris Rock's motivation to make his movie Good Hair.

    I've always been terrified of muppets/puppets but I like the voice of the singer.

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  4. I love that you didn't jump in the 'it's so cool, I'm touched' bandwagon.

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  5. The fucked up part, I'm sure they were making a good-faith effort here but......wtf?!!!!

    And because this video is obligatory for any type of hair discussion:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtfEmTHeYNw&feature=player_embedded

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  6. Hmmmm... after reading the story behind it, I have to wonder WHY, if this man wants his daughter to be proud of who she is, this man has his Black daughter playing with white dolls. Isn't it confusing enough to grow up in a household with a white parent? Good effort, but I have to wonder if he is contributing to her angst.

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  7. I still have not clicked play for this thing, so yeah. I have heard a lot of positive reviews some critique. I'll click play a week from now (yes I'm weird like that)

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  8. @Student of the world :
    I heard that it is Chantylla/Chantilla Chauncey Johnson who sings it.
    Willow Smith had a buzz of her own with the song "Whip My Hair".

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  9. Dang Moi, I thought of you the momentI saw it and wondered what you would think about it. I will admit I enjoyed it. For many young Black children this will be the only time, sadly, they can ever be proud of their features, because lets be honest hair is a big deal among black ppl and as children, we pick up on that. @Joanna u do make a valid point, I never even thought of that.

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  10. @Joanna,

    I had just read that it was a White father of a Black adopted daughter who wrote that song and yeah, if he's got her playing with White dolls then I'm wondering other ish about that sitch. Do they live in a predom-White area where she is one of very few kids of color? If so, why? Why not move to a more mixed area so their little girl can at least SEE women/girls of color or Black women/girls like her as normal parts of society? This is smelling yet again like White adoptive parents of kids of color not wanting to leave THEIR lily White comfort zones, not even for the sakes of the children they claim they love so much.

    Yeah, I'm also wondering how much HE is contributing to her issues regarding her Blackness as well.

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  11. This is smelling yet again like White adoptive parents of kids of color not wanting to leave THEIR lily White comfort zones, not even for the sakes of the children they claim they love so much.

    Thank you....

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  12. I had just read that it was a White father of a Black adopted daughter who wrote that song

    Okay...here's my beef with this ish.

    POC don't need white people to help us build up our self-esteem (white parents of POC notwithstanding). Because when they do, it has a very condescending, pitying, "white guilt fantasy film" feel to it. What WP should be doing in this sitch, is suing and boycotting corporations which incessantly push the white aesthetic that put us all in this mess in the first place. They need to skip out on fashion shows which cater to whites only, criticize more magazines, films, and TV shows, and withhold their support from them.

    Because at the personal level, I don't "need" white folks to tell me I'm beautiful. It's very "preaching to the choir", like in racial discussions where white folks line up to tell me "racism is stupid" - no shit. White folks need to be talking to other white folks, where the conversation poses a bit more of a challenge and is poised to make actual progress.

    And POC need to be talking to other POC. Which means black fathers, stick around and help build up your daughters. I have been seeing some unacceptable ish on the job, black fathers, and it will no longer fly in this century. Get your ish together, otherwise leave us the hell alone.

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  13. Witchsistah... I do not even have kids yet, but I have already instructed my friends and family that they are NOT ALLOWED to give my child WHITE dolls OR tell them they are "biracial" not Black... I used to think that it would be ok for a white parent to adopt a Black child IF they were willing to take care to immerse the child in Black culture and history, but now I don't think that is enough. Even a white person who has a BIOLOGICAL child who is Black often ends up messing up their child because they treat their child as if the world is "color blind" and do not pay any attention to the subtle ways that things influence children regarding their race. I am having doubts about my own ability to have a Black child because I am worried that despite every effort I make, I might still fail him.

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  14. @Joanna,

    I'm Black and I'm also worried about having a mixed child. I don't want to raise a Tiger Woods that disparages Blackness. I don't want to raise someone to be the bane of some Black people's lives. I don't want someone who's going to consider being mixed as superior to being Black. And I know I'll have to counter all the messages my child will receive that says just that. But I'll also have to balance that with them feeling good about themselves. I got to figure out how to do that and not have it at Black folks' expense.

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  15. Witchsistah... thank you for expressing that... I honestly never considered that a Black woman might have the same concerns about raising Black child who has a white parent, simply because I always kind of looked at the elevation of biracial over Black as a "white folks thing", but I am starting to learn more about colorism within the Black community, and having to rethink some of what I thought I knew (for example, I always thought a Black child with a white parent would only have problems when interacting with white people, but I actually know a child, who DOES NOT have a white parent but it very light skinned, and at 6 years old, he developed an attitude that he was better because of his skin color. And he is raised in a Black household with people who are all different shades. He has little to no contact with white folks, except maybe at school, yet he still absorbed this idea of light being better.) So, I can see where it would be a struggle on both sides (for the Black parent as well as the white one)

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  16. @Joanna,

    Frankly, I'm around mostly White folks. And their racism leaks out, like how they judge how attractive someone is by how Aryan they look. I get that all the time when some White person is gushing over the looks of another White person and all they offer up as proof of ultimate pulchtritude is the object of their longing possessing the sacred blue eyes and blond hair as if there aren't some busted-ass looking folks with said attributes. But I guess to Whites, if you got blond hair and blue eyes you're automatically gorgeous no matter what you actually look like.

    The Black version is having the trifecta of light skin, "good" hair (relatively straight and long) and "pretty" eyes (anything that's not the usual dark brown). You can look like a Picasso painting on meth and Blacks will swear you're Venus/Adonis her/himself if you have those features.

    I know folks will be judging my kids on how Black they seem or don't seem. They'll get kudos for the latter and pejoratives for the former. They'll be complimented on how NOT-Black they look. I'm already hearing bs from Whites about how beautiful they think mixed kids look. I always suspect they want to add "better than Black people" at the end. Oh, they'll hastily add that they think they look better than Whites too, but that sounds so fake and self-conscious I don't even buy it. I get the feeling they're saying/thinking, "Well, at least you have the good sense to breed and dilute some of your awful nigger out. You'll definitely get a superior product to, well, to YOU!"

    As a BW, I can't rejoice in the mixedness of my future children because I don't have a context to do that which doesn't denigrate Blackness and elevate being mixed above it. And I cannot and will not proclaim either in word or deed that I think my offspring are superior to me because they're only HALF nigger while I am ALL nigger.

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  17. Once I get preggers, I'll probably join a site like Love Isn't Enough to ask how I raise a mixed child with healthy self-esteem about who they are without involving shitting on Blackness and Black people. I know I will NOT be joining the so-called multiracial movement as anti-Black hatred seems to be the steam on which it runs. I've read more articles from folks in the movement blaming Blacks basically for Whites not welcoming them into the fold. Um, Whites only do that with other WHITES. As a PoC, at best, you're on probation with them (in very rare cases, one will accept you as you are--hence my husband--but that is RARE). But according to folks in the multiracial movement only Black people are somehow holding them back. Back from WHAT is what I'm wondering.

    If you go to multiracial websites, you'll find vitriol spewed out against Blacks that'd rival anything on Stormfront. You'll see a ton of articles about "studies" and "evidence" of how mixed folks are superior to Blacks. Even how they choose to gauge who is mixed and who is "monoracial" is suspect as hell because if they used the real definition of the word, then they'd have to allow 98% of Black Americans who are descended from Southern slaves into the fold. That's the LAST thing they want since 1) they're trying so hard to show they're better than us and 2) want desperately for Whites to accept them and if not that, to at least grant them superior status over Blacks (like the Coloureds of South Africa or the gens de couleur libre in antibellum Louisiana).

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  18. Speaking of WTF. did you all know about....

    http://www.slashfood.com/2010/10/20/cooking-on-the-dark-side-black-chicken/

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  19. Witchsistah,

    Cosign. I'm scared of my future kids being fetishized, especially by some of their own relatives, I'm sad to say. What's interesting is that my boyfriend isn't particularly interested in them identifying as White--he wants them to be Black and Jewish. But of course people look at him and see a White dude, not a Jewish one. Love Isn't Enough is a good website, though there don't seem to be many resources for parents in the situation you mentioned.

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  20. I'm also hesitant to click 'play' lol.

    @Witchsistah

    I've also been disturbed by white Americans' obsession with blonde hair and blue eyes. Before I couldn't really put my finger on it, but now it really bothers me... aren't those the features that the Nazis (who Americans think of as the epitome of evil) praised so much? felt everyone should have (or close to it) in order to be pure? Has anyone else noticed how some Americans salivate over Scandinavians?! Lol. Even ones they haven't seen yet. When I was abroad last year, one of our Italian professers had a Swedish wife (we obviously never met her) and bilingual daughter. From that point on my friend referred to the former as the "hot" Swedish wife. Because, you know- "Swedish" is code for blonde and really white, in other words, "beautiful". *shudder*

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  21. This thread has given me a lot to think about. I did enjoy the video but you are right in that it removes the hair issues in the black community from their context and tries to make it out to be a self esteem issue much like Chris Rock's Good hair did. Where it becomes look at those wacky black women with their low self esteem instead of focusing on the larger cultural and institutional practices that have created this issue.

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  22. Jasmin,

    I'm still trying to figure out how to raise a racially/gender/sexually awared mixed child who is proud of his heritage but not at the expense of Blacks or as some sort of "I'm better than reg'lar nigrahs" way. I don't want them to feel like they're not "Black enough," but I think I can help them through that because I'm often labeled as not Black enough. And I don't want to raise any Tragic Mullatos either.

    It's a Lenny Kravitz vs. Tiger Woods dilemma for me. I want to raise a Lenny (of either sex) but not a Tiger.

    Lenny is mixed. We all know he's mixed Black and Jewish. And Lenny does not lead a life nor have an image that many Blacks would identify as "authentically Black." He plays rock, dresses like a hippy (a very studly hippy, but still), has some loopy ideas. But you don't see Blacks giving him the side-eye like they do Tiger. That's because Lenny has never acted like he was better than Blacks or that he thought Black folks were particularly icky and were to be avoided at all costs. Lenny has never tried to distance himself from Black folks. While he's not "only" Black, he still at least SEEMS to embrace Black folk as part of him.

    Tiger, on the other hand, makes it quite clear that there ain't shit Negroes can do for him except help launch his career as a Black professional golfer and back his ass up when he got in a jam (to which Negroes overwhelmingly said, "Eat a dick.") and only half-assed THAT. He treats Blackness and Black folk like a disease to be avoided. He doesn't want to be considered even PARTLY of us, forget about as one of us. In fact, he'd be insulted if we called him plain ol' Black even though American Blacks are mixed-raced folks too. He'd remind us, as he has throughout his career (even as Whites stayed reminding him he was a nigrah), that he was mixed, aka, not a Negro but something at least BETTER if not as good as White.

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  23. Tiger, on the other hand, makes it quite clear that there ain't shit Negroes can do for him except help launch his career as a Black professional golfer and back his ass up when he got in a jam (to which Negroes overwhelmingly said, "Eat a dick.")

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahah!!!!

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  24. @K

    I'm stealing that entire quote on what white folks need to do. Stealing it and posting all over the internet.

    So if you need to get your legal team together and file suit for theft, go right ahead, but I'm stealing that quote and wanted to let you know.

    ;D

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  25. ...it removes the hair issues in the black community from their context and tries to make it out to be a self esteem issue much like Chris Rock's Good hair did. Where it becomes look at those wacky black women with their low self esteem instead of focusing on the larger cultural and institutional practices that have created this issue.

    Bingo!!!

    @ neo-prodigy

    Steal away, babe.

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  26. Witchsistah,

    100% co-sign on the Tiger Woods/Lenny Kravitz analogy. If being called "just Black" offends you, then you've pretty blatantly showed your ass. (And how many of the same people are offended at being called "just White"? *ahem*) Like I said to someone once, someone calling me "Jas" doesn't negate the fact that I'm also called "Jasmin". Someone calling you "Black" doesn't mutually exclude you from being called White/Jewish/Asian whatever. As you said, some people just resent the fact that they aren't recognized as "better" (because that's how they feel, when it comes down to it) than us regular Negroes. There's a girl like that I go to school with: mom's "African" (her word, not mine), dad's White, and she can't go a sentence without announcing she's biracial. Read: "What did you think of that lecture today?" "Well, I'm biracial, so..." She seems insecure about a) the fact that she looks just like any other Black person and b) that people don't put her on a biracial pedestal. She's a few years younger than me in school, and when I see her at club meetings (I'm in a social club for Black women), I always get the sneaking suspicion that she's coming to convince herself that all of the regular Black girls are jealous of her in her mixed glory. It didn't help that at the first meeting she ever attended she announced herself as "the cutest girl ever" or something stupid like that--now my friends and have nicknamed her "The Prettiest Bitch Ever" because it's so ironic(ally wrong).

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  27. @Jasmin,

    Great Goddess I know exactly what you mean about those mixed folks that gotta bring up their mixed-ness in conversation no matter WHAT the subject. "I've got this wierd rash on my ass.""Well, since I'm mixed, I don't get ass rashes. That must be a Black thing." "What did you get on that last math test?" "Well, as a mixed person..." And you're right, it's usually the mixed folks that you can't tell are mixed, Eurasians that look plain ol' Asian or the mixed Blacks that look like any Negro in your all-Black family. Mad because not enough of the "other" came through in their phenotype.

    Yeah, I give those folks a wide berth. Once I determine they're a Tiger Woods type, I just pretend that they're air.

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  28. Witchsistah,

    Can our kids play together? :-)

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  29. And what's with those same "don't call me Black" mixed folks always wanting to be in Black organizations? You keep tellin' us you ain't Black so stay out of our Black shit! And that goes triple for scholarships and fellowships for Black folks. Suddenly, when it comes to gettin' paid, being Black is fine with you. Otherwise it's a pariah.

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  30. Tiger, on the other hand, makes it quite clear that there ain't shit Negroes can do for him except help launch his career as a Black professional golfer and back his ass up when he got in a jam (to which Negroes overwhelmingly said, "Eat a dick.")

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahah!!!!
    _____
    screams iDie lmao

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  31. Witchsistah,

    So true! There's this running joke at school about "hidden Black folks"--we say that the 4% stat that the school likes to throw out (as opposed to the 2% we all recognize) actually includes the mystery Negroes.

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  32. A friend and I were discussing this video and this is what I mentioned to him:


    The problem is that the issue touches on racism in regards to black women and their hair and yet that's erased all together. From the character to the issue at hand. I think having a black woman singing with the character or discussing the issue a little bit more would've been a vast improvement. And yes subtle references were made to afros and braids but there's more to the issue than that. It also erases the issue as to why girls loathe their hair in the first place. And if this was anything but Sesame Street, I would be wondering if they were making a mockery of the issue.

    Another problem is that it's not as simple as black women wearing their hair natural and that be it. That's another level of discrimination they face and black women have been fired from tv shows (look up Judge Ephram from Divorce Court) and other corporate positions for wearing their hair "too ethnic." So it's not like black women can choose to wear their hair natural can do so without catching hell for it.

    Also too, it's a no-win. If you straighten your hair, then you're aspiring to be white (and this shit comes from white folks). If you wear it natural, then you're trying to be militant, afro-centric or some other nonsense that's anything but you just choosing to be you.

    And again, I applaud the effort and the good faith attempt but I still think they missed the mark.

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  33. "Where it becomes look at those wacky black women with their low self esteem instead of focusing on the larger cultural and institutional practices that have created this issue"

    I agree that's the discussion adults should be having in reference to this video but remember it's supposed to be for 6 year old's. Kids aren't going to consider the institutional forces that are giving them low self esteem nor should they have to. This video is an attempt to reshape institutional practices instead of just talking about them. Namely the institution of childrens programming, and counteract the messages black girls receive about the way they look. Working to counter it's effects is all anyone can really DO about institutionl racism anyway.

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  34. @ jas0n

    Sure, you could say the vid is for 6-yr-olds, but if Anderson Cooper's train wreck has taught us anything, it's that we need to be wary of the parents. A white kid watching - and enjoying - this video is going to overhear their parents comment on the video and that commentary is going to instantly reshape how the child initially viewed the video.

    Kids are pure until their parents ruin them. So changing children's programming isn't going to be enough. The parents themselves need in-depth reprogramming.

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  35. Witchsistah, Joanna, and Jasmine,

    This may not be of interest to you at all, but I wanted to throw it out there. If any or all of you would like to write a post for Love Isn't Enough about your concerns around raising a mixed child, I would love to publish it. The piece wouldn't have to provide answers, it could simply raise the questions and provide a prompt for discussion.

    If you're interested, you can reach me and the other editors at team@loveisntenough.com

    Peace.

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  36. "Kids are pure until their parents ruin them. So changing children's programming isn't going to be enough. The parents themselves need in-depth reprogramming"

    I emphatically agree that parents need reprogramming. Eventually however, every parent comes to the realization that we don't have near as much control as we would like to think we do. I would argue that it's the world at large that ruins kids unless their parents are actively abusive and neglectful. (This is coming from the parent of a 13 year old boy btw.)

    In the cooper vid, those white kids never discussed race with their parents, yet the racism of the world at large seeped in. I know you won't argue the role media has in shaping the lives of children.

    I do think that it would do more good to leave loving yourself and all that unspoken and just have more neutral/positive representation so black kids wouldn't be made to feel self-conscious to begin with.

    In the end, I think this video should be evaluated on how it effects very young black girls. If it makes them feel pretty and special in a good way than it is a win in my book. With all the negative messages they are forced to endure I have trouble picking at this. I'm not saying it's going to make some huge difference though.

    Maybe it will make some white parents wonder why such a video would be necessary.

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  37. Maybe it will make some white parents wonder why such a video would be necessary.

    Therein lies the problem. 1) It's not going to, add 2) if/when it does, it becomes "about those wacky black girls and their low self-esteem", not along the lines of "What is wrong with our society?"

    You're forgetting the "denial & distance" factor, in which white parents who see this first deny there's a problem with American society, and then distance themselves from the problem, i.e., "It's their problem, not ours."

    And let's not forget the "alien/fetishizing" factor in which white parents watching this look at it through "the alien lens" and start talking about black anatomy as though it's not human, like it's some forbidden mystery, and how it's just sooooooooooooo different that white kids watching can't/shouldn't be able to identify with the black girl-muppet because she's sooooooooooo different from them.

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  38. Yes K, I think that is exactly how white adults and even white children would see this. And I appreciate your pointing that out.

    If most white people are basically hopeless, (i'm not being sarcastic btw) and nothing can be done about that, Isn't that all the more reason to forget WP all together and work to counter the effects of white supremacy on POC children? Shouldn't the focus be on making sure they have the strength of character to withstand a white supremacist culture and resist internalizing racist messages? I know this is something POC parents must do with their children, so it seems like help from the media would be appreciated. If it could be done appropriately.

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  39. If it could be done appropriately...which in turn, opens up a new set of problems.

    Would you like me to go down the list?

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  40. I mean, I'd be interested but if it's ground that's already been covered...

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  41. I can't believe I missed these!!!

    There's a girl like that I go to school with: mom's "African" (her word, not mine), dad's White, and she can't go a sentence without announcing she's biracial. Read: "What did you think of that lecture today?" "Well, I'm biracial, so..."

    Great Goddess I know exactly what you mean about those mixed folks that gotta bring up their mixed-ness in conversation no matter WHAT the subject. "I've got this wierd rash on my ass.""Well, since I'm mixed, I don't get ass rashes. That must be a Black thing." "What did you get on that last math test?" "Well, as a mixed person..." And you're right, it's usually the mixed folks that you can't tell are mixed, Eurasians that look plain ol' Asian or the mixed Blacks that look like any Negro in your all-Black family.

    *clears throat* Well, speaking as a pygmy, when mixed people like these talk, their convos go right over my head.

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