CNN Attacks Idea of Latina College Student on Sesame Street as “Silly”


CNN Thinks a Latina College Student on Sesame Street is a “Silly” Idea

A recent story from a writer on CNN Opinion [read it here] has ridiculed a petition requesting that Sesame Street make their new Latina character into a college student.  The character, Nina, is currently depicted as having three jobs, one of which includes babysitting.

According to the author of the article, Raul A. Reyes, Latinas have enough strong and positive characters represented on television.  Reyes also said that the idea of a Latina college student on the show is just as “silly” as portraying an Asian tech company founder or Black hospital administrator.

Back off on Sesame Street s Latina character Nina

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So, basically, stop asking?

In the article, Raul A. Reyes points to Eva Longoria in “Telenovela” and America Ferrera in “Superstore” as examples of positive Latina characters on television.  

So “Telenovela” and “Superstore” mark the glass ceiling for Latinas?

Last time I checked, these weren’t children’s shows…but maybe I’m just being silly here.  I mean, kids love novelas, right?

CNN writer, Raul A Reyes, then calls on Hispanic viewers to be patient with Sesame Street.  Because, of course Sesame Street will develop their new character into a college student at some point.  Just give them a chance!

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Will Sesame Street Add a Latina College Student to the Show?

I’m not personally a fan of waiting on others to do the right thing.  Sesame Street’s producers can easily do the right thing now by simply updating their character story, but will they choose to?

To be sure, it’s great that Sesame Street has a new Hispanic character on the show.  Actress Suki Lopez is wonderful addition to the show and there is no doubt that the entire Latino community is proud of her and rooting her on.

But the fact remains that much more can be done to show positive and ambitious Latina characters on television, especially for young children, who often identify with television characters on a much deeper level than do adults.

The fact that Sesame Street has included diversity over the years should not opt them out of a valid critique on representation. Sesame Street is not the utmost authority on diversity. They are a show, just like any other, that is susceptible to falling into the traps of stereotypes and one dimensional caricatures of women of color.

Asking the Hard Questions…

After the article was published, Latinas took to Twitter to voice their opinions on the article and were ignored and swiftly blocked.

I have to ask, why is Sesame Street not addressing this critique and using it to their advantage?  Why are individuals like Raul A. Reyes coming out of the wordwork to tell Latinas that their requests are “silly” and “overreaching?”

I ask you…if Sesame Street, a show that has shown a commitment to diversity, cannot take up this cause…then who will?

Far from what Raul A. Reyes implies, having a Latina college student on the show (who also happens to be a babysitter) is not a stretch.

In fact, this would be a much more accurate and complete picture of Latinas in this country…as driven, ambitious and accomplished.  That likeness deserves a seat at the table…especially if that seat is placed squarely in front of our children.

What do you think?  Is a Latina college student on Sesame Street a “silly” idea?

Click here to sign the petition and show Sesame Street that positive representation matters to you.