BOOB TUBE | I AM SOMEBODY

Dark Days like these first of 2017 call for an urgent reminder that everybody is a somebody. This Sesame Street clip from 1971 features a powerful message that, sadly and perhaps surprisingly, resonates as strongly today as it did 46 years ago. The man in the clip is the Reverend Jesse Jackson, an early leader in the American civil rights movement, and he leads the children through a series of self-affirming statements which underscore the right of belonging, inclusiveness and empowerment.

Some further thoughts concerning the progressive programing of early Sesame Street (including the text below) are found here

 

In the age of Tickle Me Elmo, it’s easy to forget that Sesame Street was originally aimed primarily at poor kids, especially those in the inner cities. A few months after the show’s public-television debut, the New York Times trumpeted a study indicating that children from poor homes who watched Sesame Street regularly were making over twice the educational gains of poor non-viewers. It was a sort of televised Head Start program, teaching preschool skills to kids who wouldn’t get to go to preschool — and who might not attend a public school that would provide an adequate education. The urban setting, multiracial cast, and street-smart attitude all spoke to a class of children that television usually ignored. Would a TV show designed around the sensibilities of suburban kids have included a character who lived in a trash can? The original Sesame Street set is downright gritty, all weathered brick and well-trod pavement, with splashes of color provided by painted oil drums, cable spools, and other urban debris. In recent seasons, the set has been updated to include more greenery and less trash, making it theoretically more inviting — but also, perhaps, less familiar to the kids the show most needs to reach.

 

 

lindsay