A new muppet is making history as the first Asian American muppet on “Sesame Street.” Ji-Young will join the cast on Thanksgiving Day.
Adam Hoffman is an assistant professor of psychology and an expert on the development of ethnic-racial and gender identities in youth. He develops interventions to help youth leverage identities to promote positive mental health and well-being.
“We know from research that diverse representations are critical, important, and meaningful for all children. By adding these diverse representations, Sesame Street is allowing children to ‘see themselves’ in these muppets and explore futures and possibilities that they might not have with less diverse muppets. As we live in an increasingly globalized and diverse society, it is important for all children to learn about the experiences of their friends from cultures across the country and globe.
“Representations, like Ji-Young, provide an important moment for children to learn about the experiences of being Korean American. Sesame Street will be able to celebrate the beauty and interest of Korean culture and provide an opportunity to talk about some of the biases and prejudice that children from this group may encounter.
“The experiences and culture that Ji-Young will bring to Sesame Street will obviously be important for Korean American children to see. But also, for non-Korean children to begin to learn about experiences of their friends, to foster greater social competencies and understanding with their friends.”