The “Sesame Street” franchise added two new muppets in an effort to tackle race and racism in the children’s show. This week, Black muppets Elijah and his 5-year-old son Wesley were introduced to viewers during a nearly three-minute segment titled “Explaining Race.”
As the gold standard for children’s television, Sesame Street has never shied away from teaching young minds about sensitive topics, and it’s often recruited the beloved Muppets to get the job done. In a new series from Sesame Workshop, the “ABCs of Racial Literacy,” Elmo is introduced to new Black muppets, Wes and his father Elijah, who are part of a new initiative in teaching children about race and identity. Using its “science-based whole-child model” that Sesame Street is known for, the series has worked closely with researchers and experts to help children form a positive relationship with racial diversity.
Here’s the official synopsis for the first episode, “Explaining What is Race?” via Sesame Workshop:
When Elmo notices that some of the leaves in the park match his red fur and some match his friend Wes’s brown skin, he wonders how skin gets its color. Wes’s dad Elijah explains it’s from melanin—something everyone has in their bodies that gives us our skin, eye, and hair color. These things make us who we are, and many people call this race. But like the leaves on a tree, the colors are most beautiful when they are standing together!
Unlike most new episodes of Sesame Street, the “ABCs of Racial Literacy” is already available outside of HBO Max. The new videos can be found on the official Sesame Workshop page for “Coming Together,” its ongoing initiative to strengthen communities by giving parents the resources to have positive conversations with their children about race at a young age.
What a great way to teach kids about melanin.