With anti-Asian hate crimes rising across the US, Sesame Street has offered its support to any Asian American children struggling with being bullied with a new song: Proud of Your Eyes.
In the video released by the beloved 51-year-old show, Alan, the Japanese American owner of Hooper’s Store on Sesame Street, and Wes, a recently introduced African American character, talk to their friend Analyn about how a boy bullied her at a nearby park.
Analyn, who is of Filipino descent, says the boy called her eyes “slanty” and said she was ugly, leaving her to wonder if he was right.
Alan tells Analyn he experienced something similar and that her eyes are the “perfect eyes for her” – just like his eyes are the perfect eyes for him.
Wes and Alan sing: “Your eyes tell the story of your family, they show where you come from and how you came to be.
“The color, the shape and the size, should always make you proud of your eyes.”
The three decide to work on family scrapbooks, as Analyn says the song reminds her that her eyes look just like those of her grandmother, Lola, who Analyn finds beautiful.
Stop AAPI Hate, a California-based coalition, recorded more than 6,600 incidents involving hate toward Asian American and and Pacific Islanders in the US since 19 March 2020, around the onset of the coronavirus pandemic which began in China.
Reported incidents included Asian Americans and and Pacific Islanders being coughed at, spat on, avoided and verbally harassed.
Of those incidents, children reported 11% and women almost 65%.
The federal government is seeking to address the issue. In May, Joe Biden signed legislation that addresses hate crimes throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with a focus on anti-Asian racism.
Introduced by Grace Meng, a New York Democrat in the US House, and Mazie Hirono, a Democratic senator from Hawaii, the bill makes reporting hate crimes easier by making reporting resources multilingual.
It also directs the justice department to designate a point person to expedite the review of pandemic-related hate crimes.