These are confusing times we’re living in. This is true for us adults and it is doubly true for our kids. Parents may be at a loss for how to explain to their children why the police officers kneeled on a man’s throat or why people are breaking things downtown or why there are soldiers lined up in the streets or why daddy is sleeping on the couch with a baseball bat. Fortunately, we have some help.
Enter Big Bird. In an Instagram post, the show Sesame Street said, “Racism has no place on our streets—or on any street. Sesame Street was built on diversity, inclusion, and, especially, kindness. Today and every day we stand together with our black colleagues, partners, collaborators, and the entire black community. We stand with our friends around the globe to speak out against racism, to promote understanding, and to create a world that is smarter, stronger, and kinder.”
But the fifty-year-old children’s show didn’t stop at lip service. Sesame Street is planning a virtual townhall, in collaboration with CNN, in which they will tackle the issue of racism in a kid friendly way. This townhall will be hosted by none other than everyone’s favorite six-foot tall yellow bird. His wing man in this endeavor will be Van Jones. And, of course, other favorites of the show such as Elmo and the Cookie Monster will make an appearance.
The stated goal of this special will be to expand upon the Black Lives Matter Movement. To this end, the hosts and their guests will tackle questions submitted by families about the issue of racism in our society today.
I think this is a great idea and I have a few questions that I would like to submit. Unfortunately, I’m fairly certain that they will ignore my questions. So, I will just leave them here instead.
Question 1: Are the black lives taken by police the only black lives that matter? Or do the dozens of black lives taken by inner city crime matter too? If those lives matter as well, why aren’t there protests in the city of Chicago every single week?
Question 2: How many black owned businesses have to be burned, vandalized, and looted before racism is finally finished?
Question 3: If rioting is justifiable because they’re just trying to be heard, then what does “being heard” look like? Because literally everyone across the political spectrum condemned the killing of George Floyd and called for the arrest of the officers involved. So, if that isn’t being heard, what is?
Question 4: If rioting is justified because they just want justice to be done, then what does justice look like? All four officers from this most recent incident have been fired. The officer who held George Floyd down with his knee has been charged with murder. The other three have been charged with lesser crimes. So, if this isn’t what justice looks like, what should we do instead?
Question 5: Is the message of Black Lives Matter cheapened or made less impactful when their protests are hijacked by a bunch of spoiled white kids who are rioting for the fun of it?
Well, that’s it for now. While I don’t think Big Bird will raise any of these questions, I think that they are legitimate and need to be discussed by our society. For those interested, this townhall will be held Saturday morning June 6, at 10 a.m.