On Saturday morning’s ‘Sesame Street’ town hall, Elmo’s father explains racism, protesting, and the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement
Due to the complexity of racism and the violent nature of the crimes that provoked the recent civil rights protests, it can be difficult to explain to young children. However, because morals, values, and beliefs can be engrained in children at a young age, it is extremely important to open up the conversation so they understand what is going on. Luckily, Sesame Street has been helping parents tackle these sort of difficult topics with kids for over 50 years. And on Saturday, the educational program partnered with CNN and hosted a town hall dubbed Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism centered around the nationwide protests stemming from George Floyd’s murder at the hands of four Minneapolis police. Of all the brilliant must-watch segments, the most important for every family to watch involves Elmo’s dad, Louie, perfectly explaining racism to his son.
During the start of the clip, featured on CNN‘s Twitter account, a crowd can be heard chanting “Black Lives Matter.” Elmo looks out the window and sees the group congregated outside and explains to his dad he doesn’t know what is happening. “Why are these people together?” he asks him.
“They’re gathering together to protest. A protest is when people come together to show they are upset and disagree about something. They want to make others aware of the problem. Through protesting, people are able to share their feelings and work together to make things better,” Louie responds.
He continues to explain that protestors often make signs. He shows Elmo one that says “Love Justice Peace” — and even reveals he will be bringing it to a protest later on.
“They look upset,” Elmo continues. “Are the protesters sad?”
“They are sad and upset and they have every right to be, Elmo. People are upset because racism is a huge problem in our country,” responds Louie.
Elmo rightfully asks his father what racism is, to which he responds that “racism is when people treat other people unfairly because of the way they look or the color of their skin.”
Elmo tells his father he doesn’t understand why people would discriminate based on skin color. “Elmo has friends with different types of skin, oh, and fur, too,” he says.
“I know Elmo, but not all streets are like Sesame Street,” his dad responds. “On Sesame Street, we all love and respect one another. Across the country, people of color, especially in the black community, are being treated unfairly because of how they look, their culture, race and who they are. What we are seeing is people saying enough is enough. They want to end racism.”
Elmo asks his father what he can do to end racism and “support his friends.”
“Well, we can start by learning and talking about what is happening and take action,” Louie tells Elmo.
Another amazing segment features Abby Cadabby tackling “white privilege,” explaining how she witnessed Big Bird being bullied for his yellow feathers and size — something many people on social media could relate to.
Jennifer Harvey, author of Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, and Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, were also featured in the segment. They explained what “white privilege” really means.
“White communities are not negatively impacted by racism, and sometimes we get unjust access to things just because we’re white, not because we deserve it,” Harvey says. “The most dangerous kind of white privilege is to think that we can sit this justice struggle out.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was also featured in the special. Her message regarding racism? “Keep loving each other. And when you see someone who’s doing something wrong or saying something wrong, say that it’s wrong,” she says.
To watch the entire Sesame Street town hall on racism with your children, head over to CNN.