Sesame Street Introduces 2 New Black Characters to Help Teach Children About Race

Following a special called “The Power of We” that aired last fall as the push for social justice was sweeping the country, the Sesame Workshop — the nonprofit organization responsible for producing Sesame Street — has announced a series of new videos and resources designed to help teach young children about race and to aid in family discussions of the topic.

According to Aryana Azari of Good Morning America, “the resources vary from videos featuring ‘Sesame Street’ characters and real families discussing their experiences to articles and activities that can be done at home.”

In an interview with “Good Morning America,” Rocio Galarza, Sesame Workshop’s vice president of social impact, said, “parents and caregivers hold great power to help children better understand this complicated, flawed, often unfair world. Your words matter! Talking honestly and directly about race and diversity is the beginning of racial literacy.”

Azari has reported that one of the videos includes two newly introduced Black Muppets, a father-and-son duo named Elijah and Wes. “The pair are sitting down outside when Elmo comes along and asks why Wes’ skin is brown, and Wes explains it’s due to melanin,” she reported. “Elijah succinctly expands on that, saying that it’s OK that everyone looks different and ends on a note that solidarity is key.”

Other videos in the new series include a music video in which several Muppets note their physical differences but ultimately celebrate their unity as a group and a video where a Muppet named Rosita becomes involved in an incident in a grocery store after someone overhears her speaking Spanish.

“Her mom and friend Sofia help her come to terms with what happened and demonstrate that different languages are nothing to be ashamed of,” Azari said.

Sesame Street has a history of taking on social issues, introducing characters who live in foster care, have parents with substance abuse problems, are HIV-positive, are impacted with autism or who have struggled with homelessness.


Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.