‘Sesame Street’ Introduces 2 New Black Characters To Teach About Race
Sesame Street has introduced two new black Muppets to help explain race to children.
In a new clip released on the Sesame Street In Communities channel, black father and son Elijah and Wes teach Elmo why their skin is brown.
Elmo approaches Elijah and Wes, who are sitting on a bench looking at the different autumn leaves. Elmo observes that some of the fall foliage is red, like his fur, and some is brown like Elijah’s skin. He then asks why Wes’ skin is brown, and Wes replies, “Oh, I know why Elmo, my mom and dad told me! It’s because of melanin.”
“Melanin is something that we each have inside our bodies that make the outside of our bodies the skin color that it is,” his father explains, “It also gives us our eye and our hair color.”
“The color of one’s skin,” Elijah adds, “is an important part of who we are, but we should all know that it’s ok that we all look different in so very many ways.”
He goes on to say, “Things on the outside like our skin color, our hair texture, our noses, our mouths, eyes, make us who we are. Many people call this race, but even though we look different we are all part of the human race.”
The new characters are a part of the “Coming Together” program, which is made up of content highlighting Sesame Workshop’s “ongoing commitment to racial justice,” according to their statement announcing the new “ABCs of Racial Literacy”
“At Sesame Workshop, we look at every issue through the lens of a child. Children are not colorblind – not only do they first notice differences in race in infancy, but they also start forming their own sense of identity at a very young age,” said Senior Vice President of Sesame Workshop Dr. Jeanette Betancourt in a statement. ”‘The ABCs of Racial Literacy’ is designed to foster open, age-appropriate conversations among families and support them in building racial literacy. By encouraging these much-needed conversations through Coming Together, we can help children build a positive sense of identity and value the identities of others.”
Sesame Workshop also released a new song, “Giant,” which helps teach children “about diversity and help children develop a strong sense of self so that they feel confident in who they are – just as they are – so they can “stand tall” in the world and help build a better world,” according to learning resources on their website.
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