KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — Beloved children’s programme Sesame Street has released a new song titled Proud of Your Eyes in a bid to address anti-Asian bullying.
Produced by Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind Sesame Street, the video is part of an initiative that wants children and families to openly discuss race as well as stand up to racism.
The clip shows a Filipino American child named Analyn who was called “ugly” at the park because she had “slanty” eyes.
“Is it true? Are my eyes ugly?” she asks before Alan, the Japanese American owner of Hooper’s Store and the Muppet Wes assured her that her eyes are beautiful through the song.
“Your eyes tell the story of your family.
“They show where you come from, and how you came to be.
“The colour, the shape and the size — should always make you proud of your eyes,” the lyrics go.
Analyn is uplifted at the end of the song when she realises her eyes look similar to her grandmother’s who is from the Philippines.
Proud of Your Eyes which was released on June 23 is part of Sesame Workshop’s Coming Together project that helps children learn and understand different cultures, races and ethnicities.
The video which is included in the ABCs of Racial Literacy programme was created with guidance from the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) which advocates for equity and opportunity for marginalised Asian Pacific American children and families.
“The reality is that many children grow up experiencing racism, including Asian American children who for years have reported high levels of racial harassment — a number exacerbated by heightened xenophobia and scapegoating during the Covid-19 pandemic,” CACF representatives Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung said in a statement.
A recent Sesame Workshop study discovered that 86 per cent of children believe that “people of different races are not treated fairly” in the US having personally witnessed incidents of unfair treatment.
“Children begin to observe and internalise messages of race at a young age, during a critical time for building one’s identity and sense of self,” Sesame Workshop US social impact vice president Jeanette Betancourt said.
“That’s why it’s important for families to feel equipped to have conversations about race and racism with their children.”
The song received praise from the Asian-American community on social media who said the clip moved them to tears.
Ngl, this made me cry. Growing up Asian, kids DID make fun of my eyes. It hurts. Looking back, no matter what they say, I’m proud of who I am and where I’m from 🥲♥️🇵🇭 https://t.co/Z7YQ1uW4J3— LeeLee 🥰 (@harajukugarbage) June 25, 2021
I'm not crying; you're crying! Sesame Street produced a beautiful segment about an Asian American girl bullied for the shape of her eyes. https://t.co/G0cgxX6EeU— Christine Y. Chen 陳逸音 (she/her/hers) (@christineychen) June 25, 2021