First Netflix said it is developing kids programming around racial justice. Now the people behind Sesame Street are following suit, with race-based content aimed at children of all ages, including infants.
Sesame Workshop, the studio behind Sesame Street, has released a new set of instructional resources for children and their parents titled “ABC’s of Racial Literacy,” which the company said represents part of its commitment to “racial justice.”
“ABC’s of Racial Literacy” provides activities for kids as well as tutorials for parents to teach children as young as infants about the dangers of racism.
Sesame Workshop announced the program Tuesday, saying that the company has always stood for “diversity, inclusion, equity, and kindness.”
“The work to dismantle racism begins by helping children understand what racism is, and how it hurts people,” Sesame Workshop said in an Instagram post. The program provides resources that are “designed to help families celebrate their own unique identities and answer children’s sometimes-tough questions about race and racism.”
In one tutorial, parents are advised that infants develop racial preferences as early as six months.
“Infants show a preference for the faces of people from their own racial group as early as six months,” the tutorial says. “Start early by introducing children to people who don’t look like them, and let children see pictures of people with a variety of skin tones and facial features.”
In a video starring Elmo, kids are taught about the importance of skin tone and melanin.
In a group activity for kids to create self-portraits, children are taught to focus on their outward appearances. The instructions say it is “especially important for Black and Brown children to celebrate their outward appearance in order to keep strong within themselves as they grow up in a racist society.”
Netflix announced in January that it is creating an animated kids series based on Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracist Baby, the critical race theory activist’s recent book for toddlers. The streamer said it will turn Antiracist Baby into a series of animated short music videos that will use “earwormy songs” to teach toddlers and their caregivers about “anti-racism.”