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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Reese Kusza

Beware the Woke Monsters

Children’s television 50 years ago was way better at teaching kids how to be decent human beings and how to get along with others than anything we are trying to do today.

Sesame Street was a neighborhood in New York City where people of all races and ethnicities lived together with monsters of every color, Big Birds and even Grouches. They worked, went to school, played and showed the world that it was possible to get along even if you looked different from your neighbor or spoke a different language or had different views.

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood tackled grown up problems and children’s fears in a way that was accessible. Fred Rogers showed it was ok to have a rich imagination, but that it was important to differentiate between what was real and what was make believe. He taught kindness and acceptance and had neighbors of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. At a time of civil unrest over the problem of lingering segregation in parts of the country, Mr. Rogers sat side by side with Officer Clemmons and shared a cooling dip in a kiddie pool. They took turns drying their feet with the same towel, black and white together.

Generation X grew up with The Electric Company, Zoom, Captain Kangaroo and The New Zoo Review. Multicultural, diverse and inclusive -- long before anyone started shoving these things down our throats.

Remember Davey and Goliath? Yes, it was a faith-based program put out by the Lutherans, but it was Art and Ruth Clokey and Dick Sutcliffe (the Gumby guys) who did the Claymation. The program addressed normal kid subjects such as sibling rivalry and being responsible for cleaning up your room and it also tackled more difficult matters – prejudice, religious intolerance, being stewards of the earth.

These television shows didn’t need to beat us over the head with their messaging, either. I suppose they would be considered cornball by today’s standards and boring by kids jaded from watching brainless cartoons or YouTube influencers since they could sit up and hold their mothers’ iPhones.

It is a shame that children are now being taught to hate each other because of the color of their skin. They are being constantly told they need to look for what is different, what is "other", rather than what we have in common.

Children are being intentionally taught that a person’s race defines who they are, not what they feel or think or do.

Sesame Street had it all figured out decades ago. Too bad the racist, woke monsters had to mess it all up.

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