Sesame Street has added two new muppets to help parents and caregivers tackle race and racism with their children. In a video created by the education-focused nonprofit behind the show, Sesame Workshop, Wes and Elijah are a black father and son duo who explain to Elmo why their skin is brown and the importance of melanin.
Rooted in extensive research conducted by Sesame Workshop, The ABC’s of Racial Literacy is apart of the Coming Together Initiative.
This initiative is Sesame Workshop’s ongoing commitment to racial equality by “providing families with the tools they need to build racial literacy, to have open conversations with young children, to engage allies and advocates to become upstanders against racism, and more.”
According to a press statement, “Coming Together includes a racial justice educational framework, ongoing research, and a rolling release of new content” on the Sesame Workshop platform.
Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of Sesame Workshop, said, “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. 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.”
In another video, Rosita’s mother and her friend Sophia help Rosita cope with a racist incident in a grocery store while speaking Spanish.
According to a recent Children and Racism study commissioned by Sesame Workshop, racism was top of mind for nearly half the children surveyed with racism more prevalent in responses of Black children. The majority of parents were comfortable with children learning about race and racism through media, books, or school, yet only 23 percent of parents report that specific resources helped them prepare for discussions with their children.
The ABCs of Literacy will help parents with these discussions by having resources and educational tools available.
Watch the video below: