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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
This town hall special teaches kids about racism, how to be anti-racist, and how to stand up for what is fair. It also teaches parents how to talk about race with children. Some complex topics will go over the heads of the targeted preschool audience, but it is also a great resource for older kids
Sesame Street characters and adult experts talk about treating everyone fairly, standing up for what is right, and having empathy for other people. Some complex topics will go over the heads of the preschool audience, but it is also a great resource for older kids.
Positive Role Models
Adults, kids, and puppets all talk about fighting racism (specifically anti-Black racism in America). Black kids and adults talk about their experiences, kids from various backgrounds ask questions about current events.
Violence & Scariness
While the language is not specific or explicit, kids and adults do acknowledge police violence against Black people.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Coming Together: Standing Up To Racism is a TV special aired in the aftermath of George Floyd's death and the protests it inspired. It's generally aimed at kids preschool age and up, but younger kids may need more guidance from parents. Sesame Street characters explain concepts like racism, protests, and speaking out against unfairness in age-appropriate language. An equal amount of air time is aimed at parents, giving advice about how to have hard discussions with their kids around racism in the United States. The special doesn't shy away from talking about tough stuff when it comes to race. While the language isn't specific or explicit, kids and adults do acknowledge police violence against Black people. Parents and kids are encouraged to watch this conversation-fostering special together.
Is It Any Good?
Sesame Street has tackled a lot of hard subjects in its 50+ year history, and here it handles the topic of racism admirably. The town hall-style format, with its video messages from kids and parents across the United States, inspires empathy and connection with viewers. The puppets do a fantastic job of breaking down abstract concepts like race in a way young kids can understand. The CNN anchors and grown-up experts answer questions in an open and honest way, and encourage parents to be similarly vulnerable with their own children. They acknowledge the terrible legacy of racism against Black people in the United States, but take care to not give young viewers more information than they can developmentally handle. The special doesn't gloss over the sadness and fear many kids (and grown-ups) feel, but it also gives examples of concrete actions kids can take to fight racism.
Younger kids will be engaged by the familiar characters and the real kids that call into the special, but may lose interest in the segments more geared towards parents. There's a lot of talking, and none of the songs and fun visuals preschoolers typically see in their TV shows. Older kids can still learn a lot and may feel comforted by hearing hard information from familiar characters. Parents should expect to feel emotionally and intellectually challenged, and for this special to inspire tough conversations with your kids. This town hall on racism should absolutely be watched by kids and their grown-ups together.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.