Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Should Sesame Street Lead The Campaign Against Xenophobia?

Given that America’s leading conservative pundits are placing the blame on ethnic minorities as the leading cause of America’s current problems, should Sesame Street lead the campaign against xenophobia?

By: Ringo Bones

As Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk had recently grown rich by placing the blame squarely on ethnic minorities as the leading cause of America’s current problems – i.e. the runaway deficit spending of the Obama Administration’s “socialist policies”. Is it already high time for Sesame Street – like it had always been – to lead the fight yet again against xenophobia?

I am now starting to wonder if history is now repeating itself, when American conservatives think that the problem of runaway deficit spending can be solved in one fell swoop by adopting xenophobic policies. Like what Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh did in the few years before America got involved in World War II. And it even created an impression to the not-so-historically-savvy that then US President Franklin D. Roosevelt had been flirting with “isolationist policies”. Does xenophobia ever foster peace?

Ever since the show aired 40 or so years ago, Sesame Street has always had that special way of educating the impressionable minds of kids. So special that if anyone – like what Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh did before, or what Richard Butler, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh did later – tries to indoctrinate xenophobia to our kid’s impressionable minds will have to work harder at it. Those basic Spanish lessons that Sesame Street shoehorned into their shows are not only good for learning Latin, they also allowed the Latino and Hispanic community to be seamlessly integrated into the larger American community. Given that my generation that grew up during the 1970s has more or less has a working knowledge of the Spanish language.

Should Sesame Street spearhead the fight against xenophobia especially now that the conservative White Anglo-Saxon Americans are confusing the xenophobic outlook of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh as patriotism? Given that it is more and more likely that American kids today are more and more likely to meet ethnic groups face to face that their grandparents and parents only read about in National Geographic, Sesame Street wold be doing these kids a big favor. Like it did to my generation. Cultural diversity doesn't cost a single cent, unlike current conservative pundits rhetoric that America cannot afford cultural diversity in times of recession.

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