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Intersectionality: It’s Going to Get Harder Before It Gets Better

One muppet on the street taught us empathy; surely we can learn the crossroads

Jodi Barnes, PhD
6 min readApr 12, 2019

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One of my first teachers of empathy was a young amphibian on Sesame Street, a vulnerable companion sharing his lonely greenness. Like millions of kids in 1969, I related to and felt my heart swell with love for a frog, especially after I heard him sing.

Kermit the Frog remains my spirit animal of empathy. Hard to believe he is now, like me, AARP-eligible. A lot has changed since 1969 thanks to Sesame Street, Julia, and The Mod Squad — among the first shows to cast women, African Americans and Latinx in leading, positive roles.

Although diverse representation seems slow to me (one step forward, several back) I’m heartened when I look at demographics in the House of Representatives. Identities have moved beyond a handful of races and binary genders. Identities now include multiple intersecting identities. A good thing, yet reaching agreement is only going to get harder.

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Jodi Barnes, PhD

Writer and Collaborator-in-Chief of https://www.14wordsforlove.com where small acts of writing, art and conversation create multicultural connections for good.