“Diversity” Doesn’t have to be a Dirty Word, Even if White People Make it So
Sesame Street definitely got that memo
The past month has been brutally unkind to anyone with the sensibilities that align with anything that basically makes sense. It’s become quite a challenge inhabiting an era that sees us referring to Donald Trump as the Commander-in-Chief.
What’s even more disarming is how very little White people seem to comprehend when it comes to the art of cultural appropriation or the honest description of the word diversity.
Very recently Vogue was publicly shamed when editors made the unfathomable decision to feature model Karlie Kloss decked out as a geisha as homage to their “diversity” issue.
Yes, I know it’s hard to, but I still try to figure out the mental exercise that happens during pitch meetings that feature the young, naïve and pampered staff — decked out in Yeezy’s latest craze — accommodating time in between Fashion Week — to birth the brilliant idea of bypassing an Asian model for the task of sprucing up a White model to look Japanese.
Then we have Sports Illustrated with the very lovely and bratty Kate Upton splashed on not one but three covers! She was supposed to be one of three dope women gracing the “body diversity” issue, but it seems that Upton wasn’t down with sharing the spotlight with the incomparable Serena Williams and an iconic trailblazer, Christie Brinkley.
So, S.I. did what we all do — which is to give White women exactly what they don’t always deserve because it’s just easier that way. The publication known for well-placed body parts decided that Kate Upton would have to be the one and only mascot to help celebrate the themes of diversity.
My favorite has to be the trending hashtag — #ThankYouMattDamon. This is particularly sweet because after watching him dismiss the issue of diversity on his over-indulged HBO offering, Project Greenlight — it’s painfully obvious that like most of his like-minded comrades— Damon’s view of the world lacks Technicolor.
His new action flick, The Great Wall has been gathering buzz for awhile — mainly due to the subject matter and the glaring fact that despite Damon not being Asian, he will be portraying a character that fits into the righteous narrative of the “White Savior.” This played out hero typically answers the honorable call to save the indigenous people from devouring each other or from being devoured by a monster that only a White warrior can conquer.
What would we ever do without the reassurance of an epic rescue from a pint-sized White super hero?
Here’s a snippet of the hilarity ensuing on Twitter that captivates exactly why Matt Damon inserting himself in an Asian folklore is unacceptable.
We can’t leave out the 45th President of The United States from this gorgeous collage that illustrates how marginalized people are regulated to the sidelines of insults and a consistent heaping of WTF?
Trump is enjoying the idea of being a complete mess and his comfort in this particular zone gives his yellow covering a glow that lightens up when he discusses his favorite topic — “the black people.”
During his god-awful press conference that is no more awful than the ones before it — Trump was asked by a Black reporter — April Ryan — whether or not he intended to invite the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) to help facilitate a much-needed conversation revolved around “urban and inner city” agendas.
Of course, Trump pursed his lips in defiance and confusion (Alec Baldwin actually does it better) as he tried to figure what the hell Ryan was talking about.
In true fashion, your president assumed the reporter was asking if her friends could come and play and maybe take little breaks to get some real work done.
“Am I going to include who?” “I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?” “Are they friends of yours.”
When Ryan identified herself as a reporter akin to the ones representing the Christian themed pubs that Trump loves to indulge — he then replied:
“Well, then set up the meeting.” “Let’s go set up a meeting. I would love to meet with the Black Caucus.”
As we all know, that’s a damn lie, because The CBC responded on Twitter by admitting that they had invited Trump to meet with them on January 19. Most likely, Omarosa, the token Angry Black Woman in the mostly White- washed administration — must have been too busy betraying former Black friends to ensure that her terrible boss replied the invite.
Yeah, a typhoon is raging out there and the option to take cover is still on the table, but when you have a phenomenon like Beyonce still waiting to carry the title of Album of the Year — while Taylor Swift who sings about girl squads already has that bagged and delivered — it’s hard to maintain a healthy disposition.
That’s why nostalgic references can truly make all the difference in the world.
I still remember “how to get to Sesame Street.”
As a child of the seventies, I was part of the rescue mission that was aimed at framing impressionable minds with the imprint of a world that included everybody regardless of race or creed.
Cookie Monster was delightfully grumpy and yet I believed that he would give me a big hug if bullies made me cry. Bert and Ernie were two friends who could stand each other, and it wasn’t odd or questionable. And the humans that lined the blocks added to the vibrant cohesiveness of harmony by outwardly living the true definition of — Home.
So, its no surprise that the tradition to demonstrate the power and might of diversity continues with the announcement that the veteran TV show is joining forces with Sesame Workshop — the non-profit organization that funds Sesame Street to launch “Sesame Street Writers’ Room.”
This has been described as “a fellowship program dedicated to discovering, nurturing, and increasing the presence of writers with diverse voices in children’s media.”
It will basically be a six-week program that will be based at the Sesame Workshop’s New York office — and the cool thing about it is that the lucky participants will get the opportunity to directly engage with seasoned writers, producers, agents, and industry execs.
At the end of the workshop, applicants will be required to submit an 11-minute script, which will undergo an evaluation process.
The two creatives who stand out from the competition by proving their prowess in children’s media will naturally be embraced by the Sesame Workshop family — and that includes sifting through development deals and hanging with the coolest crowd on the block.
Imagine that! (I know I say that a lot)
Since 1969, Sesame Street has been holding it down. Helping to shape young minds with the basic principles of “love thy neighbor” and the other stuff that is aimed at ensuring that America’s kids are well-informed and armed with the knowledge — that being “smarter, stronger and kinder” isn’t a privilege reserved for a certain background — it’s the American Way.
As other more glamorous outlets struggle with the requirements of diversity — it seems that Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop got the memo on how to not assign a dirty translation to that specific word.
Bigots, buffoons, and privileged figurines — take note.
For more on this exciting venture, click here.