Sesame Street, an aware and socially conscious children’s website, has once again stepped up to discuss race issues in a friendly manner by introducing two black Muppets five-year old Wesley and his father Elijah. They join Elmo in a video, this week.
This Sesame Street video shows Elmo asking the duo the reason why people have different colored skins. The conversations begin when Elmo sees the father and son sitting on a park bench. A leaf falls and Elmo says that is the same color as his fur, which is red. He then notes that other leaves are brown and look like Wesley and Elijah’s skin color. Elmo questions why they have different colors and Wesley explains that his parents told him that melanin gives the brown color to his skin.
Elijah says that it is present in our bodies. It gives color to our skins, our eyes and our hair. He goes on to explain how more melanin gives a darker skin and it tells us who we are but he adds that it is ok if we all look different in “very many ways.”
He says that things on the outside our hair, our mouths our nose etc. make us who we are and that many people call this race. He continues that even though we look different we are all a part of the “human race.” He adds that when people of all colors come together we all stand strong like the tree with its different colored leaves.
Kay Wilson Stallings, Sesame Workshop’s executive vice president of creation and production says that the work to dismantle racism begins by helping children to understand what racism is and how it hurts and impacts people.
In the past Sesame Street videos have explained other difficult concepts to children including foster care, substance abuse, autism, homelessness, HIV and other socially relevant topics. This video has beautifully put together the concept of race, with Elmo, Wesley and Elijah.