Elmo Talks Race and Melanin With 2 New Black Muppets in a Video From Sesame Street Workshop
Sesame Street Workshop is continuing its ongoing commitment to racial justice through its Coming Together program's latest resource, "The ABCs of Racial Literacy." In a video shared to the Sesame Street In Communities YouTube page, we're introduced to two new Black muppets who speak with Elmo about skin color and celebrating unique identities. In the clip, Elmo, Wes, and his dad Elijah are admiring foliage, and Elmo likens a red leaf to the color of his fur and a brown leaf to the color of Wes's skin. Elijah then teaches Elmo about melanin and how skin colors can vary.
"Melanin is something that we each have inside our bodies that make the outside of our bodies the skin color that it is. It also gives us our eye and our hair color," Elijah explains. He continues, answering Elmo's question asking why, if everyone has melanin, are fur and skin colors different. "It's because the more melanin you have, the darker your skin looks. The color of our skin is an important part of who we are, but we should all know that it's OK that we all look different in so very many ways."
This video is just one of the many resources now available in The ABCs of Racial Literacy library. "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 press release. "'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."
See the video of Elmo, Wes, and Elijah above, and visit Coming Together: Talking to Children About Race and Identity to learn more and access free resources for your family's conversations about race.