The Jim Henson Company’s “inclusive” puppeteering workshop excludes straight white men.

May 24th

You know who wouldn't have been permitted to attend the Jim Henson Company's puppeteering workshop?

Jim Henson.

Naturally, they don't do anything so rude as to say "no straight white males need apply."

Instead, they create a detailed list of everyone who is not a straight white male, and invite them.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community.

That would be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or sometimes "Questioning") and "+" which is meant to include the ever-increasing number of non-cis (non-traditional) identities such as pansexual and Two-Spirit.

People of color

As Wikipedia puts it, this is "primarily used to describe any person who is not considered 'white.'"

Women of all cultural backgrounds

They want women so badly you can even be white!

I do see some loopholes here. For example, were I interested in the workshop I would likely claim to be "Two-Spirit" in large part because I have no idea what that means.

But regardless, the Jim Henson Company is specifically banning straight white (non-trans!) males from even applying.

The most obvious thing wrong with this is that it is of course racist misandry with some heterophobia thrown in for good measure and is contrary to everything this country stands for.

However, there are always a number of insidious racist messages in actions like these that are less obvious.

Creating a special category of people so they don't have to compete with straight white males is insulting. If you're good, you're good.

The Henson Company also indicated that they are on "a mission to cultivate and nurture multicultural talent and diverse perspectives" and clearly equate that directly with whether or not you are gay, or a woman, or black, or Hispanic, and so on.

The diversity of cultures in this country is astonishing, and most of those cultures are not delineated by these broad and superficial categories. When you start defining learned behavior such as culture by such immutable characteristics as skin color, you've just normalized a racist and prejudicial mindset.

The fact that you're black, white, gay, or whatever category doesn't tell me anything important about you. In fact, it tells me the least important things about you.

If you're wondering how they can get away with this legally, as an entertainment company it is perfectly lawful to have a casting call for a specific race or gender, etc., if that's the character you need to cast.

However, I would think it is a little more sketchy when you are casting someone to manipulate large puppets covered in brightly colored felt and with eyes made of ping pong balls.

Or do they assume you can tell everything you need to know about Kermit just because he's green?


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