While conversations about race and racism can be uncomfortable and sometimes difficult, they're essential — especially for kids. That's why an upcoming PBS Kids special on race and racism aims to help parents continue to navigate effective discussions on these complex topics. Hosted by activist, author, and the United States' first ever National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, the PBS Kids Talk About: Race and Racism special will offer parents and caregivers ideas about how to begin and build on conversations about race and racism in age-appropriate ways.
Over the course of a half hour, Gorman will lead viewers in observing candid and authentic conversations between real sets of kids and parents about things like race, skin color, differences, and racism that were sparked by clips from popular PBS Kids' series. For example, a clip from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood enables parents to strike up a conversation about differences in skin color and hair texture.
Gorman tells Romper the idea behind PBS Kids Talk About: Race and Racism is to give parents and caregivers ideas about how they can begin similar conversations in their own homes, not just once but again and again.
"I hope that families get to see ways to talk about race with their young ones," Gorman tells Romper. "To fight racism, we have to talk about it. This is not a one-time conversation, but an ongoing discussion to have with children and ourselves throughout our lives. While these dialogues can be hard, they are incredible learning experiences for both kids and their guardians alike."
Parents can get a sense of what's in store in the exclusive clip of the special PBS Kids shared with Romper ahead of its premiere this week.
Along with content from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, the PBS special will also feature clips from Arthur and Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum. The special will also seek to spark conversations about the many different ways racism can look and how kids can take action themselves when they see racist things happening in their own community as well as why it's so important to do so.
"PBS Kids believes kids are capable of understanding and talking through tough, but important issues with the adults in their lives — something that has been core to our mission for the last 50 years," Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of Children's Media and Education at PBS Lesli Rotenberg said in a statement. "Through the PBS Kids Talk About: Race and Racism special, our goal is to support parents in talking with their children about race, anti-Black racism in our country, and how to be actively anti-racist. Parents have increasingly asked us for these resources, and we hope that this special will provide a helpful starting point in whatever way they choose to have these conversations with their children."
PBS Kids Talk About: Race and Racism will air Oct. 9 as part of PBS Kids Family Night on the PBS Kids 24/7 channel and PBS stations nationwide. The special will also be available to stream on pbskids.org, the PBS Kids Video app, and PBS Kids' Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram accounts.