Entertainment

Sesame Street’s Special On Antiracism Is A Reminder Of All The Times They’ve Tackled Difficult Topics Head-On

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“Sesame Street” continues to put in the work and have difficult conversations publicly, and in ways that children can understand.

The legendary kids’ show recently announced that they will be airing an antiracism special starting on October 15th called “The Power of We.” The special will aim to teach families how to “become upstanders against racism”.

“Children look to their families with love and trust to guide their understanding about their place in this great big world,” read a statement on The Sesame Street Workshop’s website. “This Sesame Street special is an uplifting and joyful celebration of how each of us is unique and how we can work together to help make this world a better place for ourselves, our friends, and for everyone!”

The special plans to explore topics of everyone having different skin colors and identities, and what it means to be “color proud”—having pride in your own culture and race.

According to Sesame Street Workshop, the special will center around Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Gabrielle, and Gabrielle’s cousin Tamir. It will also include appearances from celebrity guests like Yara Shahidi, Christopher Jackson, and Andra Day.

As long-time fans of “Sesame Street” know, this is not the first time the iconic show has tackled difficult topics in a kid-friendly manner. The show has long prided itself on teaching children about life’s difficulties from an early age. The program has been groundbreaking in its treatment of taboo topics.

For example, in 2018 the program addressed the topic of homelessness in a segment called “A Rainbow Kind of Day”.

In the segment, a muppet name Lilly decides she doesn’t want to paint anymore. After being encouraged to talk about her feelings by Elmo and Sophia, she explains that she is sad because the color purple reminds her of her old room in a home she doesn’t have anymore. Sophia teaches her that “home is where ever the love lives, and you can take that love and hope with you wherever you go.”

Or in 2012 when the show featured a character whose parents were divorced–a familial situation that is surprisingly still underrepresented on kids’ TV shows.

In this episode, Abby Cadabby makes drawings of her two homes. A confused Elmo gets a lesson from Gordon on what divorce is. Gordon’s matter-of-fact explanation takes away any shame or stigma that children of divorce might be feeling because their families are a little bit different than others’.

And of course, the legendary episode from 1982 in which Big Bird learns about death and grief.

To this day, critics call this episode “revolutionary” for the way it avoided pandering or condescending to children. It was in this episode that “Sesame Street” showed the confidence that it has in its audience. The creatives behind the show obviously recognize that children (just like adults) are hyper-aware of everything going on around them.

“Sesame Street has always been real-world,” Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop’s EVP of global impact and philanthropy, told Fast Company in 2017. “It’s not a fantasy, it’s not a fairy tale. One of the things that sets us apart is respecting children and dealing with real-world issues from a child’s perspective.”

You can watch Sesame Street’s “The Power of We” streaming on HBO Max starting on Thursday, October 15th. It will also air on PBS stations that same day. You can download the special’s companion guide here.

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Six Dr. Seuss Books Are Being Pulled From Publication Due To Racist Imagery

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Six Dr. Seuss Books Are Being Pulled From Publication Due To Racist Imagery

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Don’t call it a total cancellation.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises has made the decision of their own accord to no longer publish or license six of the books written and illustrated by the writer Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel. The American children’s author who passed away in 1991 was also a political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, and filmmaker. His first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (1937), and his book  If I Ran the Zoo (1950) are among the books being pulled as a result of racist and insensitive imagery.

On Tuesday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises shared a statement on their website explaining their decision to cancel the publication of the books.

Citing the four other books including McElligot’s Pool (1947), Scrambled Eggs Super! (1953), On Beyond Zebra! (1955) and The Cat’s Quizzer (1976) the company explained that they came to the decision citing the fact that they each “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” explained the statement.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises is a company that, according to Time Magazine, works to preserve and protect “the legacy of the late author and illustrator, who died in 1991 at the age of 87, also noted in the statement that the decision was made over the past year with a panel of experts, including educators, academics, and specialists in the field, who reviewed the catalog of titles.”

Children’s books by Dr. Seuss have long been considered a classic contribution to children’s literature.

The books’ colorful and fun illustrations and rhymes are still to this day instantly recognizable. Recently, however, the writer’s work has been re-examined and scrutinized for racial caricatures and stereotypes. This is especially when it comes to the depictions of Black and Asian people. Many have also pointed out that before he was known as Dr. Seusss, Geisel’s work had been strongly criticized for “drawing WWII cartoons that used racist slurs and imagery, as well as writing and producing a minstrel show in college, where he performed in blackface—a form of entertainment that some children’s literature experts point to as the inspiration for Geisel’s most famous character, the Cat in the Hat.”

Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s announcement of their decision to pull these books coincided with the anniversary of the writer’s birthday.

Geisel’s birthday coincidentally comes at the same time as National Education Association’s Read Across America Day, which has long been attached to his books,

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4-Year-Old Girl Accidentally Hung Herself While Climbing A Tree

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4-Year-Old Girl Accidentally Hung Herself While Climbing A Tree

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A mother living in the United Kingdom is enduring a “hellstorm of grief” following the tragic death of her 4-year-old daughter. Just days after welcoming her twin daughters, Elise Thorpe was forced to learn of her daughter Freya’s shocking death after she climbed a tree near her home in Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire.

Just before her death, Freya was wearing a bicycle helmet when she went for her tree clim.

Freya slipped and began to fall off of the tree when her helmet strap caught on to a branch.

Elisa Thorpe is speaking out about the incident which took place in September 2019 despite efforts to resuscitate her daughter by emergency responders. According to Yahoo, “An inquest into her death in January 2020 ruled that she ‘potentially slipped’ and her helmet caught on a branch, causing the helmet strap to become ‘tight against her throat.’ She died in hospital two days later.”

Speaking about the incident Elise told The Sun “We live every day and night in hell, torture, sheer shock, and grief that can’t be comprehended.”

Elise told South West News Service that she and her husband “were on cloud nine after the long-awaited arrival and difficult pregnancy” of their twins Kiera and Zack. Speaking about the grief she experienced, Elise said that she would have taken her own life had it not been for the birth of her children.

Recalling the day of Freya’s death, Elise explained that her little girl had gone for a playdate.

“In the early afternoon, Daddy had to go off to collect the special milk from Boots pharmacy in Cowley for the twins, as they were allergic to cow’s milk,” Elise Thorpe explained about how her daughter had been invited to play at a house just a 10-second walk away.

Freya had gone outside without her mother knowing.

“I had a gut feeling I wanted her home. Shortly after, I saw an ambulance at the end of the road – I panicked, at the time not knowing why I was panicking,” Elise told SWNS. “I called my husband to say I was going to get her back from the house behind. He said, ‘No, I’m five minutes away, stay with the babies.’”

“I saw his car go past and not return from the little cul-de-sac. I knew something was wrong,” she went onto explain. After spotting her husband speaking with a firefighter, Elise “grabbed the twins and rushed to a cordoned area where she saw first responders working desperately on Freya.”

After two days of waiting at John Radcliffe Hospital, the Thorpe family learned Freya could not be saved.

“I never stepped foot inside my home again. This is something I also lost and miss to this day — my home,” Elise went onto say. “Had I not given birth only 10 days before we would have taken our lives in the hospital that night, without a shadow of a doubt… We have had so much support over the last 18 months and we can’t tell you all how much that’s helped us through and for that I can never thank everyone enough for the support, kind words and donations – even from those we’ve never met.”

“But we’ve also experienced scrutiny and abuse from people who’ve asked, ‘Where were the parents? How could they let her out alone?’” she added sadly. “It has caused family rifts from relatives and judgment all because people didn’t know Freya wasn’t in our care when this happened.”

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