Sesame Street has added two black muppets to its set to explain racial differences to children.
They are five-year-old Wes and his father, Elijah.
The father and son duo are featured in one of the videos, talking to well-loved muppet, Elmo, about differences in skin colour due to melanin.
In a roughly three-minute segment, the muppets stress the importance of not forgetting that despite differences in appearance we are all human.
“Elmo wants to know why Wes’ skin is brown,” the character asks as the trio look at different coloured leaves in the park
“I know why, Elmo! My mom and dad told me, it’s because of melanin, right Dad?” Wes responds.
“That’s right,” Elijah confirms, later adding, “Melanin is something that we each have inside our bodies that makes the outside of our bodies the skin colour that it is. It also gives us our eye and our hair color.”
“The colour of our skin is an important part of who we are but we should all know that it’s okay that we all look different in so very many ways,” he says.
Wes and Elijah are part of Sesame Street’s ABCs of Racial Literacy program. It was launched on Tuesday with a variety of resources “designed to help all families celebrate their own unique identities” and offer “strategies to answer sometimes-tough questions around race and racism,” according to a press release.
Rocio Galarza, the assistant Vice President for U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, told Good Morning America Wednesday that the clip, and others like it, are a way to explain difficult concepts about race to young children.
“Young kids, since infancy, start understanding differences and giving value to those differences,” she told the outlet. “The idea here is, how do we address it in an age-appropriate way?”