In Addition to Telling You How to Get to Sesame Street, These New Black Muppets Will Teach the ABCs of Race

Tonja Renée Stidhum
·4 min read
“ABCs of Racial Literacy” - Coming Together (2021)
“ABCs of Racial Literacy” - Coming Together (2021)

You know how adults have taken on the phrasing “explain it to me like I’m five,” especially in situations surrounding complicated matters that often involve debate on social media platforms? Well, that phrase is quite relevant as we discuss challenging matters that also affect children. When it comes to conversations around race, sexuality, gender identity or what’s happening in the world, parents are often tasked with having to sit down with their children to break it down in terms that they could understand. Of course, we should never underestimate children’s ability to understand these concepts,—which also serves as a magnifying glass on the many adults who struggle with understanding them, instead reverting to bigotry and intolerance.

Sesame Street has historically been quite masterful at approaching difficult conversations for families to discuss. On Tuesday, Sesame Workshop announced a new set of resources as part of their Coming Together initiative called “ABCs of Racial Literacy” that are “designed to help all families celebrate their own unique identities, while also providing age-appropriate language and strategies to answer sometimes-tough questions around race and racism.”

Read more

Plus, we have two new Muppets to welcome into the Sesame Street community! Sesame Workshop announced two new Black Muppets, 5-year-old Wes and his father Elijah.


Explaining Race / Sesame Street in Communities (YouTube)

More on current and upcoming content, per the official press release sent to The Root:

In a new music video, the Sesame Street Muppets celebrate their own unique identities; the song, “Giant,” is available on all major platforms through Warner Music Group’s Arts Music. In another video coming soon, Rosita’s mom and her friend Sofia help Rosita cope with a racist incident in the grocery store, while also celebrating speaking Spanish. Additional resources include videos featuring real families talking about their experiences, activities for families to do together, and talking points and conversation starters for families.

“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,” Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President, Sesame Workshop, said 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.”

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

“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,” Kay Wilson Stallings, Executive Vice President of Creative and Production, Sesame Workshop, said in a statement. “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.”

Overall, whether the ignorance is willful or not, we know a bunch of adults who could benefit from these resources as well, to be honest.

Additionally, Sesame Street fans who also love sports will be glad to know that a new episode with Stephen and Ayesha Curry dropped on HBO Max on Thursday and is currently available to stream. The Currys joined Elmo, Cookie Monster and Grover to teach families that healthy eating can positively impact young viewers’ playing, learning and of course...their basketball skills.


Sesame Street: C is for Cooking with Stephen and Ayesha Curry / Sesame Street (YouTube)

To check out content from “The ABCs of Racial Literacy” (which is free to all and available in English and Spanish) as well as more information about the Coming Together series, head to SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether.