Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism? [chapter]

Naomi A. Moland
2019 Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism?  
Chapter 6, "Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism?," examines some creators' hopes that messages on Sesame Square—particularly messages about school attendance, gender equality, and tolerance—could counter Boko Haram's messages. This chapter addresses both of the book's overarching arguments. First, as creators decided what messages northern children needed to hear to make them less susceptible to extremist ideologies, they sometimes stereotyped northerners as all being connected to Boko
more » ... oko Haram—supporting the book's first argument that multicultural efforts can reproduce stereotypes. Second, the public curriculum in Nigeria undermined Sesame Square's antiterrorist messages. Moreover, some creators seemed skeptical that an iconically American educational television program could be a match for an extremist group whose name means "Western education is forbidden." The current conflict is further eroding intergroup trust and reinforcing stereotypes between groups, making Sesame Square's messages seem increasingly unrealistic. This chapter explores the particular challenges that terrorism poses to educational soft power efforts.
doi:10.1093/oso/9780190903954.003.0006 fatcat:r6qjfihrj5gwvhqvps24qgaay4