File puptcrit/puptcrit.0907, message 25

Date: Mon, 06 Jul 2009 19:51:43 GMT
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] minorities & entertainment

I think it is highly important that our current generation of young people have an understanding about just how far we have come in establishing the equality of all citizens, promised way back in 1976 in our Declaration of Independence. We also are not finished in the pursuit of that equality.

When we fail in the pursuit of our own ideals of equality, we have to recognize that failure.

On the Fourth of July, my next door neighbors had a big family & friends celebration, with flags and red-white-&-blue decor. They are African-Americans, and are very aware that the current generation needs to know about the struggles tha made progrss possible.

In the 1960s (I've mentioned this before) I had a puppet exhibit in Oakland CA (homebase of the Black Panthers). The exhibit included a tribal puppet from West Africa which  I borrowed, and Black marionette characters from Vaudeville.

Some of the Panthers complained that the puppets were "racist", but their younger siblings saw through the politicalizations of the moment, and were glad to see representations of Black People in an exhibit of puppets from around the world. These puppets validated for the kids, that these kids were part of our larger culture---that they were NOT invisible. The impact was verified when the kids returned to schools in Oakland and San Francisco and actually wrote or gave reports about the puppet exhibit. Show biz was an important path for progress, for the recognition of talents from minority communities. We talked about that as part of our guided tours.

This is just one part of the power of the puppet.

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