I was prompted to post this morning, not because of the video but because of a comment associated with it:
For a little history, this Sesame Street segment dates back to about 1971. It ran until about 1974. It features a character now lost to history: Roosevelt Franklin. The character and his mother perform an R&B recitation of the alphabet.
One user posted: I don't think you could get away today with depicting black people as puppets in a stereotypical way. Not pc. But I meant crazy in an over the top effort kind of way to be funny - crazy is a funny way ... I'm not so into this stuff, my 36 yr old sister sent this to me - this stuff cracks her up
Sadly, one of the things that Sesame Street seems to have lost is non-monster muppets. The sound effects man with the Derby, Prairie Dawn, and the Roosevelt Franklin kids did more for the show and culture than people gave them credit for. Franklin and family were lavender. The Sound effects man (and one of Roosevelt's friends) were royal blue. When put along the already multi-racial human cast... who had time to organize characters by colour. It was simply another distinguishing feature. Personally, I think the show did wonders to reduce the concept of racism in a very subtle and downright-subversive manner.
The video does admittedly show puppets 'of colour' performing what is pretty much contemporary 'new york urban' music of the early 70's. Schoolhouse rock also utilized this technique in the video's for six, nine, and verb. Personally, I don't find this "stereotyping" anymore than showing anything appreciated by any subset of society. You might as well outlaw "Villa Alegra", "Happy Days", and "You Can't Do That On Television" because they are aimed at cultural subsets.
Here's the snippet. You decide:
If you want to see the horrid underbelly of edumacation sic. Here's a treat in appreciation of irony and satire.