Artesian-Arts

Kids’ TV shows that teach anti-racism, celebrate diversity

Children should spend no more than an hour every day looking at screens, the American Academy of Pediatrics says. 



a man standing in front of a television: Kids' television programming is lacking in both representation and anti-racism education, experts say.


© rushay booysen, Getty Images/iStockphoto
Kids’ television programming is lacking in both representation and anti-racism education, experts say.

But this is 2020, a pandemic, work-from-home-plus-kids-and-virtual-school world.

This is also a world reeling from the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people at the hands of police – a world exposing systemic racism and fighting for equality. And our kids are watching.

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

What do we tell them? Should we tell them? 

USA TODAY talked to media experts who say “yes” and are calling for a transformation in youth programming, in both representation of people of color and in anti-racism education.  

“This is essential to the changes that we have to see in the country,” says Maria Alvarez, vice president of Common Sense Latino, part of Common Sense Media. She says children respond when they see kids like themselves portrayed “in positive ways, in ways that are inspiring, that they take leadership roles, that they are the heroes and not always the bad guys in the story.”

But while having TV shows with diverse characters is an improvement in children’s programming, it’s not enough.

Ramon Stephens, executive director of The Conscious Kid, says that in order to actually shift racial attitudes, we need to talk about race and racism, as well. Content should “unpack specific examples of what racism looks like” and how it affects people in real life, he says.

Some major networks are trying to answer the call. With help from Alvarez and Stephens, we’ve compiled a list of five current and upcoming TV specials or shows that help explain racism to kids and aim to spur conversations.

“If we speak at home with our little ones about different families in our community with respect, with empathy, with understanding and appreciation, that should go a long way,” Alvarez says. “Everything starts at home.”

‘Kids, Race and Unity: A Nick News Special’

What it’s about: The hour-long special with host Alicia Keys brings together “future leaders and activists” to amplify young Black voices and provide a “safe space” to discuss race. The Nickelodeon special focuses on the voices of youth and their experiences with racism, and several celebrities, including Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, musician Chance the Rapper, comedian Kevin Hart and supermodel Naomi Campbell, share messages and words of encouragement.

How to watch: Find it on YouTube.

‘Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism’

What it’s about: Elmo, Elmo’s dad Louie, Big Bird, Abby Cadabby and more of your favorite “Sesame Street” friends answer kids’ questions about racism, protests and the world around us. Joining them are Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey, and other experts. The 60-minute special is a team effort from “Sesame Street” and CNN and hosted by CNN commentator Van Jones and anchor and national correspondent Erica Hill. 

How to watch: Find it on CNN.

Looking for books about racism?: Experts suggest these must-read titles for adults and kids

Keep reading: 100 Black novelists and fiction writers, from Abi Daré to Zora Neale Hurston

‘ARTHUR on Racism: Talk, Listen, and Act’

What it’s about: In this video short, Arthur and Buster saw a clip online of someone getting hurt “just because they were Black.” So they seek advice from their lunch lady, Mrs. MacGrady, on ways they can help fight racism. She tells them to talk about racism with their friends, parents and teachers, to listen to those who have experienced racism and speak up when someone is being treated unfairly.

How to watch: Find it on PBS.

‘Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices’

What it’s about: Netflix is launching a new series hosted by 15-year-old activist Marley Dias, founder of 1000 Black Girl Books. The episodes feature Black celebrities like Tiffany Haddish, Lupita Nyong’o, Marsai Martin, and Common reading children’s books from Black authors. As the celebrities read, they talk about the message of the book and share their connection with it.

How to watch: Find it on Netflix starting Sept. 1.

‘PBS KIDS Talk About: Race and Racism’

What it’s about: This half-hour TV special will feature PBS favorites like Daniel Tiger, Arthur and Xavier Riddle. According to a press release, the show will have “kids and their parents talking about race and racial justice-related topics in an age-appropriate way, such as noticing differences in race, understanding what racism can look like, and embracing the role we all have to play in standing up for ourselves and each other.”

How to watch: The special debuts Oct. 9 as part of PBS Kids Family Night on the PBS Kids 24/7 channel and will be available on all PBS Kids platforms.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘Everything starts at home’: Kids’ TV shows that teach anti-racism, celebrate diversity

Continue Reading

Source Article