It's never too early to talk about racism with your kids. Yes, conversations about race are uncomfortable. Yes, they can feel heavy, especially for little ones. But that doesn't change the fact that these talks need to happen. And now, the team behind Sesame Street is giving us the tools to help us initiate those tough conversations.
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the long-running show with a long history of wading into tough topics in a way that's appropriate for children. The organization has launched "The ABCs of Racial Literacy" as part of their "Coming Together" initiative, which is built around a commitment to racial justice.
These resources are so important—especially since many parents (understandably!) don't know how to discuss the realities of racial inequality in a way that kids will understand and be able to process effectively. From getting the language right to framing conversations in a way that's appropriate for each individual family, there's a lot to consider, and these new resources will help parents handle these tough talks. And teaching our children about race doesn't have to just come in the form of the discussions we have with them. These new resources also include some great teachable alternatives.
The resources include things like videos, printable materials, songs and articles—including one that breaks down children's ages and stages of racial literacy. The materials all touch on an important point: children are not colorblind. Rather, they're aware of race—and as parents, we need to take active roles in turning this awareness into anti-racism. Sesame Workshop recently commissioned the Children and Racism study, which revealed that kids between the ages of six and eleven admit to thinking about racism often (particularly Black children.) While many parents are happy with their kids learning about racism through books and programming, less than a quarter of the parents surveyed felt prepared to lead discussions on race based on their existing resources. That's where these new items come into play.
"Sesame Workshop has always stood for diversity, inclusion, equity, and kindness. As a trusted source for families, we have a responsibility to speak out for racial justice and empower families to have conversations about race and identity with their children at a young age," says Kay Wilson Stallings, Executive Vice President of Creative and Production, Sesame Workshop. "The work to dismantle racism begins by helping children understand what racism is and how it hurts and impacts people. Sadly, today's announcement comes at a time of racial and social discord when many families are in need of support in talking to their children about racism. We're proud to reaffirm our Coming Together commitment to racial justice, which will be woven into new Sesame Workshop content for years to come."
Just one more reason to love Sesame Street.