In a day and age of hate culture, the entertainment industry is doing all it can to promote mutual respect. Sesame Street has had a long-running history of introducing a diverse cast of characters, encouraging kindness among children. Most recently, the show debuted Zeerak, who is an Afghan Muppet.
Zeerak is described as an “adorable orange Muppet” who wears glasses and regional Afghan clothing. His name means “smart” and “talented” in both of Afghanistan’s official languages, Pashto and Dari.
Both he and [sister] Zari… are intended to show young people in Afghanistan, where women’s rights have deteriorated under the Taliban, that girls can be as heroic as boys.
Zeerak preaches respect, tolerance, and gender equality.
[Zeerak] looks up to his educated big sister as a role model. She assures him that he will soon have the opportunity to attend school and “that working hard in school will help him achieve his dreams,”
As literacy rates in Afghanistan are low, Zeerak is vital in promoting education.
Over the past year, Sesame Street has also launched an LGBT campaign and introduced Julia, an autistic Muppet, to the family. I can’t say I’m not all for it!