Sesame Street took wokeness to a new level this week promoting a discussion on race while introducing two black Muppets as part of an initiative to teach children: “The ABC’s of Racial Literacy.”
According to a press release, the Coming Together initiative “is rooted in extensive research and consultation with experts to develop a groundbreaking Racial Justice educational framework and curriculum for young children. “Sesame Street,” which claims to be known for its “science-based whole-child model,” will be incorporating a Racial Justice curriculum in its programming utilizing ‘racial literacy’.
The Sesame Street In Communities website defines ‘racial literacy’ as “the knowledge, skills, and awareness needed to talk thoughtfully about race and racism; this naturally includes having a rich vocabulary including terms such as race, racism, prejudice, ally, upstander, and so on.”
They go on to state that racial literacy also involves having “the ability to identify racism when it happens,” “having strategies to counter or cope with racism,” and “understanding the role racism plays in society.”
(Video Credit – Sesame Street In Communities)
“You hold great power to help children better understand this complicated, flawed, often unfair world. Your words matter, and talking honestly and directly about race and diversity is the beginning of racial literacy,” the site lectures. “Even if children don’t understand the nuances of the words, being open to learning new words and understanding ideas from others’ perspectives is always helpful.”
In the video introducing the two black Muppets, Elmo meets Elijah and his father Wes. They discuss the color of the turning leaves which propagandistically leads to a discussion on the color of Elmo’s fur (which is red) compared to the brown skin of Wes and his son. Elmo, of course, asks why Wes’s skin is brown.
The father then explains to Elmo about melanin and how the more you have, the “darker your skin looks.”
“The color of our skin is an important part of who we are,” Elijah informs Elmo. “But we should all know that it’s OK that we all look different in so very, many ways.”
“Things on the outside like our skin color or our hair texture or noses, our smiles and eyes make us who we are. Many people call this race,” Elijah notes. “But even though we look different, we’re all part of the human race.”
“Isn’t it cool, Elmo?” Wes asks a now enlightened Elmo in what used to be a children’s show that taught reading and has now morphed into an identity politics vehicle.
“Very cool,” Elmo robotically affirms.
The leaves metaphor is employed again as Elijah compares people of different races that originate from “one amazing tree.”
“Standing strong, its branches like arms stretched wide with leaves of many different colors side-by-side swaying together in the breeze,” Elijah intones. “When people of all colors come together, we stand strong like this tree.”
The father then picks up a leaf and informs Elmo that it “looks just like us, two colors side-by-side.”
“It’s beautiful,” Elmo gushes.
“Yeah, beautiful together,” Wes sagely agrees.
In another video, Elmo and Wes interact with characters Abby Cadabby and Rosita by singing a song that affirms they are “proud” of their bodies.
“My eyes are brown and your eyes are blue,” Wes starts singing with Abby Cadabby.
“But there is no difference. I’m still the same as you,” the fairy Muppet sings.
“I am proud and you should be too,” Rosita adds. Elmo then does his part, “There is no difference, Elmo has feelings like you.”
(Video Credit: Sesame Street In Communities)
The Muppets sing the chorus: “I am, you are, we are somebody… I am strong in my skin, strong in my skin yeah. And together we will always win, always win yeah.” That is accompanied by pictures highlighting children of all races.
“If something’s wrong, I will stand up,” Wes continues.
“If something’s unfair, Elmo will speak up,” Elmo adds.
Rosita and Abby Cadabby round it out: “In this great big world, it’s not okay to feel hurt. We’re one big family, so let’s care for each other.”
Sesame Street has also reportedly introduced a Latina Muppet, a homeless Muppet, and a Muppet with a parent in prison.
Twitter lit up over the Muppet move towards the targeted indoctrination of kids:
But most of all it’s the targeted indoctrination of the very young that really doesn’t sit well with me.
— Thomas Chatterton Williams 🌍 🎧 (@thomaschattwill) March 25, 2021
Remember when Sesame Street was about teaching kids to read? Good thing we don’t need that anymore.
— Cindy Cellarteen (@cindycellarteen) March 25, 2021
Sesame Street characters are all different colours anyway – having a character ask another why he is a particular colour is in itself ‘othering’.
— madam speaker (@pott_t) March 25, 2021
He’s lived for decades with characters who are green, yellow, purple, and blue, and he himself is red…why would Elmo suddenly be confused by brown skin?
Such a scenario is the product of an racial-essentialist mindset.
— Harris Coverley (@ha_coverley) March 25, 2021
And every single person who grew up on Sesame Street will tell you Gordon was the best dude on the show. https://t.co/UvjhTW6QCa
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) March 26, 2021
Anyone who thinks that Sesame Street wasn’t built on the foundation of tackling racism and segregation clearly wasn’t paying close attention. pic.twitter.com/H5w7brMNNJ
— Muppet History (@HistoryMuppet) March 25, 2021
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