Chief Innovation Officer, Dr. George James, Featured in TV Guide: 10 TV Shows to Help Children Understand Racism and Equality
January 14, 2021 | Americans are facing a lot of major issues right now but one of the most important ones is the continuing struggle for social justice for people of color. It’s a hard conversation to have for adults and even more so with children. Parents are looking for ways to talk to their kids about systemic racism and we’re happy to tell you that television can actually help promote thoughtful conversations about topics like the Black Lives Matter movement, and the definition of white privilege.
“As parents, we have to face our own anxiety,” said Dr. George James Jr., a Philadelphia-based family therapist when he appeared on the recent television special, Nick News Presents: Kids, Race, and Unity, which can now be viewed on YouTube. “We get nervous. Should we talk about this? Should we not talk about it? You have to be willing to be honest and open with your children. You have to be willing to be transparent and share your own experience, because they’re looking to see if you’re authentic.”
Television has, at times, been an outlet for discussing racial inequality. The Civil Rights movement entered living rooms across America via the small screen some 60 years ago and since then, the heady topic has been tackled on shows like the beloved 1977 miniseries Roots and its subsequent sequels to comedies including All In the Family, black-ish and Dear White People. Underrated dramas such as The Wire and the epic documentary series Eyes On the Prize also unpacked racism in candid and unapologetic ways.
When it comes to children’s television, trailblazers such as Fred Rogers used his show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, as a platform to criticize segregated swimming pools in 1969. While you can find clips from this classic installment online, there are more direct and modern examples available on Netflix, PBS Kids, Amazon, CNN and more. We’ve compiled the best shows available to stream to help parents and kids begin talking about racial equality.