General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Should Sesame Street talk about protests and racism?

Asked by elbanditoroso (28167points) 3 weeks ago

Fox News (of course) – Tucker Carlson – has a problem with that.


What, if any, role does Sesame Street have in interpreting the world to children?

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34 Answers

janbb's avatar

For sure! They’ve been a great source of appropriate education about world issues for years. Children need to hear these issues discussed and I would trust SS to handle it well.

zenvelo's avatar

Tucker Carlson has a problem with grown ups talking about racism, so of course he gets upset about kids learning about it. He doesn’t like a whole new generation learning what a racist pig he is.

Sesame Street has the expertise to explain to kids what is going on in an honest yet balanced way.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Yes. Explaining complex problems to children is what it’s good at.

JLeslie's avatar

I think Sesame Street can and should explain what is happening in the world without any politics or bias. They are good at doing this. They also answer children’s questions directly and simplistically so kids can process what is happening, and hopefully not be so worried about the things their parents might be anxious about. Lastly, some children might not be asking their parents questions, but this type of programming provides answers where home life possibly isn’t.

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Darth_Algar's avatar

Is there anything Tucker Carlsen doesn’t have a problem with? For God’s sake, he once called the Metric system “tyranny”.

kritiper's avatar

No better time to start educating than with young people! They’re already learning to hate and fear, might as well teach them the rest of it…

LostInParadise's avatar

I feel a little uneasy with Sesame Street addressing issues in the adult world. It is perfectly fine to talk about how different SS characters treat each other and to show that you should not be judged by the color of your skin or fur or feathers. I just wonder how young children can handle the idea of adults misbehaving.

Darth_Algar's avatar


“Adult world” or not children see and hear about things all the time. That’s why it’s valuable to have a program like Sesame Street that can speak to children about “adult” things on their level. They’re going to hear about the “adult” things with or without Sesame Street. But without it what they hear is just going to be confusing and terrifying to them.

LostInParadise's avatar

You may be right. I just think that they should do some initial checking to see how children are affected.

jca2's avatar

@LostInParadise: Maybe they’ll talk about it in vague terms, like how we like each other or should like each other whether we’re black, white, brown, purple, green, pink, or whatever.

Maybe as far as protests go, they’ll say something like if we don’t like something, we have to let people know about it, otherwise change will never come.

JLeslie's avatar

On the Sesame Street special I saw on COVID they took questions from children, so the children had a chance to lead the discussion in a way. We got to know what they were thinking. I think it was on CNN, because Sonjay Gupta was on it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It would be instructive to get a look at the FOX model for childhood education. As it is, the network itself is best suited to those inclined toward “magical” thinking through deprivations in childhood development. Who would have guessed their numbers so extensive?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Come to think of it, FOX is actually in direct competition with Sesame Street. Big Bird & Sean Hannity are polar opposites when it comes to explanations on how the world works.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Of course they should.

Yellowdog's avatar

It sounded like Elmo’s father explained to children (Elmo at least) that there are large numbers of white people who hate black people because they look different. Not sure that’s what you want to be teaching children. Sesame Street has been an environment where everyone accepts each other as part of their community, and has since 1969. I was five when Sesame Street began, and I didn’t even notice racial differences on Sesame Street. Just that it was fun to learn things in Spanish.

Sesame Street is a great model of community, cooperation, friendship, and getting along. Not sure we should be indoctrinating children with the message that people hate them because they look different, even if there ARE groups out there trying to end it.

Most children are already in multi-racial environments.

What can you teach about riots?

Rioters, looters, arsonists—are mostly attacking neighborhoods of people of color—burning homes and businesses, trying to break down society, disarm or defund the police, and invoke fear. Its funny that this should be a demonstration against white racism, when it has mostly destroyed black neighborhoods. In any case, . riots ARE terrifying and deliberate, unlike natural catastrophies—pretty hard to explain this level of adult misconduct except for what it is.

janbb's avatar

@Yellowdog Have you actually seen the show before opining on its content?

Dutchess_III's avatar

“It sounded like Elmo’s father explained to children (Elmo at least) that there are large numbers of white people who hate black people because they look different. ” I call BS again.

Yellowdog's avatar

I was an original watcher from 1969 until 1972 or 1973. I watched it again with my nieces in the late 90s and early 2010s.

From its earliest inceptions, it was a very ‘accepting’ community. Neighbors caring.a safe place to learn aBout people in your neighborhood—their jobs, their feelings, their fears, their culture— Actually some good role models. There was a lot of content about pollution and litter in those days. I never saw the 9/11 episode, but it has dealt with fears of terrorism, and natural disasters like a fire.

the problem with riots is they are perpetuated by the same looters and arsonists who claim to represent the oppressed, yet ironically, they destroy neighborhoods and safe places, beat and kill people—no need to tell the children that these people have a just cause, because the poor and inner-city African Americans have been the victims. Of course it effects the children, if their grandmother’s home was destroyed, her store destroyed, or if a child’s parent is killed trying to defend their home or business or another person.

It makes no sense to tell children that some people don’t like black people and tbat’s why the neighborhood is burnt down or firebombed—unless you want to make neo-Nazis the hate group in the scenario. Its kind of a mixed message to say Black Lives Matter burned down your supermarket and spraypainted the name of their organization all over the property

@Dutchess_III There is a Forbes article that shows the clip. I just put Sesame Street Tucker Carlson in the search engine. I couldn’t find @elbanditoroso ‘s Huffingon Post article, but I did find a CNN and a Forbes article.

jca2's avatar

@Yellowdog: It sounded like Elmo’s father explained to children (Elmo at least) that there are large numbers of white people who hate black people because they look different.

Did you hear that in the clip you saw?

janbb's avatar

I just watched the whole program and am posting the link here. I can’t imagine why anyone would object to the way the topic is handled or the subject matter unless they are being deliberately obtuse – or worse.

I will be sending the link to my kids as well for sharing with my grandchildren if they wish.

jca2's avatar

@Yellowdog: Did you watch it? I asked and you seem to be avoiding the question.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Of course he is avoiding the question. People who are full of BS avoid things.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“Racism is when people treat other people unfairly because of the way they look or the color of their skin.” That is Sesame street talking.
Sure as hell it’s not “_…there are large numbers of white people who hate black people because they look different.”

Yellowdog's avatar

I was quoting from a Forbes article, as I mentioned.

“Recently, Sesame Street hosted a town hall with CNN to help explain the concept of systemic racism to young children, using a dialogue between Elmo and his father to contextualize the Black Lives Matter movement, and accompanying social unrest. During the town hall, Elmo’s father explained to his son:

“Not all streets are like Sesame Street. 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.”

Not a bad message, I agree. But says that across the country, people of color are being treated unfairly because of the way they look. So, are riots, destroying, pillaging, and looting – possibly in a child’s own neighborhood, perpetuated by people wanting to end racism – the explanation for riots you want children to receive?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Here is an article from Forbes on Sesame Street. The actual quote was gentle and benign.
However “Tucker Carlson (from Fox news, of course) , a man who makes his living by feigning shock and horror, sometimes over an innocuous TikTok video, and now, regarding Sesame Street.

Carlson deployed his trademark “serious man” frown, a blend of bewilderment and crippling migraine, embarking on an unhinged rant regarding the supposedly insidious message being delivered by Elmo, the hand puppet.”

Nowhere did the words ”there are large numbers of white people who hate black people because they look different.”” as you initially claimed.

Darth_Algar's avatar


You’re seriously reaching here.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

If Star Trek did it in the 60’s sesame street can do it in 2020. I just would want the delivery to be gentile and not direct. Explain it but don’t point out specifics just yet. Part of me feels like the longer kids can grow up and be friends with each other without being told a reason to hate each other the less likely they are going to comply when they are told by someone or some institution to do so.

Pandora's avatar

Yes, they will probably have child psychologists that can’t talk about it without making children afraid. Tucker Carson probably doesn’t want his kids favorite shows pointing out things a racist will say or do or act because then they will know daddy is a racist.

Pandora's avatar

@Darth_Algar LOL, I agree. He reminds me a bit of Saturdays Night Live bit about the Church Lady. Overly dramatic and everything was about Satan.

jca2's avatar

And @Yellowdog decides not to explain himself, yet again.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sesame Street has always been completely awesome about introducing children to different kinds of people. They introduced an autistic puppet.

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Dutchess_III's avatar

I remember when they had Gale Sayers on Sesame street. He told the kids that as part of his football training he did ballet. Then he put on a tutu and demonstrated! ♥♥♥

I remember when Billy Dee was on. Big Bird kept calling him Billy E, or Billy G, and he kept doing that until Billy Dee said, “Ok. That’s enough Big Fish.” And then they opened a dialogue on teasing.

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