TV About Racism and Social Justice

These TV shows tackle the troubling issue of racism and the fight for social justice in age-appropriate ways. Kids as young as preschool can gain more awareness around racism and social inequity through shows like Sesame Street. Older kids and teens can learn more about the historical context of U.S. racism and the enduring fight for equality through docuseries about figures like Trayvon Martin and Kalief Browder, as well as provocative programming that doesn't shy away from exposing the flaws in our society. These stories can even help inspire kids to make a difference in their own communities and the world at large. For more media on these topics, try these Books About Racism and Social Justice and Books to Inspire Young Activists.

Sesame Street Poster Image
TV

Sesame Street

age 2+

Classic show endures changes, but learning content remains.

Network: PBS, HBO Max (1969)
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Sesame/CNN: Standing Up to Racism Poster Image
TV

Sesame/CNN: Standing Up to Racism

age 3+

Puppets, people tackle racism in great town hall special.

Network: CNN (2020)
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TV

Kids, Race and Unity: A Nick News Special

age 8+

Star-studded special is a great conversation starter.

Network: Nickelodeon (2020)
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We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest Poster Image
MOVIE

We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest

age 8+

Docu about kids living MLK's legacy gives all the feels.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2020)
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We Are the Radical Monarchs Poster Image
MOVIE

We Are the Radical Monarchs

age 9+

Docu about girls' social justice troop inspires all ages.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)
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Black-ish Poster Image
TV

Black-ish

age 11+

Race is tackled gently in fresh family friendly sitcom.

Network: ABC (2014)
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TV

The Carmichael Show

age 12+

Comedian's show gleans laughs from polarizing news events.

Network: NBC (2015)
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America to Me Poster Image
TV

America to Me

age 13+

Thoughtful documentary on race and other complex issues.

Network: Starz (2018)
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Degrassi: Next Class Poster Image
TV

Degrassi: Next Class

age 13+

An edgier Degrassi for the digital age still has heart.

Network: Netflix (2016)
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The Black List: Vol. 1 Poster Image
MOVIE

The Black List: Vol. 1

age 14+

Profound docu explores African-American racial identity.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2008)
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The Black List: Vol. 2 Poster Image
MOVIE

The Black List: Vol. 2

age 14+

Insightful docu is as informative, inspiring as the first.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2009)
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The Black List: Vol. 3 Poster Image
TV

The Black List: Vol. 3

age 14+

Third docu in series is candid, colorful, and powerful.

Network: HBO (2010)
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TV

Edge of Eighteen

age 14+

Autobiographical docuseries raises issues relevant to teens.

Network: Al Jazeera America (2014)
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TV

The Fosters

age 14+

Heartwarming drama about foster teens and their two moms.

Network: Freeform (2013)
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Kim's Convenience Poster Image
TV

Kim's Convenience

age 14+

Smart, fun, diverse Canadian show addresses social issues.

Network: Netflix (2016)
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TV

Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story

age 14+

Dramatic docu about birth of Black Lives Matter movement.

Network: Paramount Network (2018)
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TV

Small Axe

age 15+

Miniseries celebrates Black British culture; adult themes.

Network: Amazon Prime Video (2020)
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Time: The Kalief Browder Story Poster Image
TV

Time: The Kalief Browder Story

age 14+

Powerful docu about tragic impact of wrongful imprisonment.

Network: Spike (2017)
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They've Gotta Have Us Poster Image
TV

They've Gotta Have Us

age 14+

Lively, important history in film docuseries; some language.

Network: Netflix (2020)
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What I Hear When You Say Poster Image
TV

What I Hear When You Say

age 14+

Docuseries tackles issues of race, class, gender, identity.

Network: PBS (2017)
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