As if race relations were not already bad enough, Sesame Street chose to add to the problem when one of its mascots engaged in blatantly racist behavior. But what else would we expect from American society in a post-Trump era?
My colleague Bonchie wrote a piece explaining how social media has erupted in outrage because a mascot at Sesame Place, a theme park modeled after “Sesame Street,” showed a horrific level of discrimination against black children during an event. “According to multiple viral posts and a clipped video, the mascot snubbed two black children at a parade because of the relentless racism harbored in the creature’s heart,” he wrote.
The issue arose when a video showed a mascot named “Rosita” blatantly ignoring black children at Sesame Place, which is located in San Diego, a known hotbed for white supremacy. Just watch this disgusting video and see how horrible Rosita is:
#BabyPaige & her cute lil friends went to @SesamePlace this weekend to celebrate Paige's 4th birthday & this is how #SesamePlace treated these beautiful Black children. I'm HOT. pic.twitter.com/wATjpRzUF1
— Leslie Mac (@LeslieMac) July 17, 2022
Bonchie seemed to believe that the mascot’s behavior is not racist, because Rosita can be seen in other footage hugging black children. He wrote:
A statement from Sesame Street claims the mascot didn’t see the two black children. That’s believable given how hard it can be to see out of those suits. So why did he appear to wave them off? According to people on the scene, Rosita wasn’t waving off the first white woman or the two black children. Rather, they were motioning repeatedly to a person behind the crowd who was trying to get the mascot to hold a baby. That would make sense given safety concerns.
This is the exact type of racist apologetic that progressive sages like Dr. Ibram X Kendi warn us about. But I do believe my colleague is mistaken, probably because of his white privilege. So as an oppressed black man, I will shed some more light on the situation and hopefully turn him into an ally.
Yes, the mascot might have hugged some black children, but she did not hug all of the black children at the event. Failing to hug all black children in a given area is the type of textbook racism we see from the Ku Klux Klan, Neo Nazis, and Dr. Ben Carson. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that any mascot who does not hug every single black child in a 25-mile radius is nothing more than Bull Connor in a funny suit.
But I am not without forgiveness. I am a firm believer in restorative justice and believe Sesame Place can still make this right.
The family of the oppressed black children has retained an attorney and is considering a lawsuit against the theme park. If they win, perhaps they will earn millions of dollars in damages.
It’s a good start – but there is more that is needed to remedy this blatant display of racial animus. Sesame Place, and by extension, PBS, should have to donate at least $2 million to Black Lives Matter each year for a decade. This would go a long way towards repairing the damage it has done to all involved in the situation. In fact, I think it would also be appropriate for the organization to offer me at least $500,000 for the trauma I experienced from even having to write this article. It would be a valuable form of reparations for the oppression I just endured. I would also like a public apology given to the victims, myself, and former President Barack Obama, because I’m sure he’s quite disappointed, too.
Of course, it doesn’t need to be said that if Sesame Place does not acquiesce to this request, it means they are hopelessly racist, and activists will have to take direct action to push the company to do what is right. Let’s hope they aren’t as bigoted as Rosita.