is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people and by viewers like you.
MALE SPEAKER: Welcome, everyone!
Let's get started by introducing ourselves.
Hi, my name is Destiny.
I'm Lila... Hi, my name is Rashad and today I'm here... ...to have a conversation with my dad.
I'm going to talk to Mommy.
Race and racism.
My name is Amanda Gorman.
I'm a writer, activist, and the first-ever Youth Poet Laureate of the United States.
Welcome to PBS KIDS Talk About: Race and Racism.
"Race" and "racism."
Maybe these are words you've heard before... or maybe they're new, and they sound a little strange.
Growing up we had family meetings every day where the kids got to pick the topic -- any topic -- which is why I'm so glad we're here with other kids and parents, too to talk about these words, because they are such a big part of our world, our families, and our lives.
A lot of times, when we're talking about race, we're talking about the color of somebody's skin.
Have you ever looked at your own skin before?
How would you describe it?
My skin is... brown as an avocado seed.
Sometimes, when we're talking about race, we're talking about other features, too, like someone's hair.
My skin and my hair are some of the things that make me who I am.
They're what I love about myself!
They're also things that others notice about me, and that's just fine.
I notice what other people look like, too.
Noticing things about one another is how we start understanding each other and loving each other, exactly as we are.
And loving each other because we're different, is how we make the world a fair place for all of us.
Talking about things that make us the same and different helps us get to know each other better.
Daniel Tiger and his friends do it, too.
Watch what happened one day at Daniel's school, in this clip from "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood."
So why are you feeling sad?
[sighs] I have a tail.
You do have a tail.
But Miss Elaina doesn't have a tail and Chrissie doesn't have a tail and--and you don't have a tail either.
Daniel, the things that are different, like having a tail, are a part of what make you, you.
♪ In some ways we are different ♪ ♪ But in so many ways we are the same ♪ And I'm the cowgirl.
[chuckles] You do both love to pretend together.
That's something that's the same.
Daniel, you like to pretend, too.
I do like to pretend, too.
That's the same.
But I still have a tail and nobody else does.
So I'm still really different.
I'm different too.
I wear these braces on my legs to help me walk and I use these crutches, too.
And people see it but it's one of the things that makes me, me.
But it's not the only thing.
There are a lot of things that make you who you are.
There is only one person exactly like you.
[chuckles] If we were all the same that would be no fun at all.
You know what?
Let's take a picture of the way you two are different because I think it's something exciting.
[camera clicks] I want to be different too, toots.
I like being different!
My skin is different from Chrissie's.
Good observation, Miss Elaina.
My skin is brownish.
CHRISSIE: Oh, yeah!
And mine is more pink-y.
Your skin is different than Chrissie's.
♪ In some ways we are different ♪ ♪ But in so many ways we are the same ♪ I know someone who has the same skin color as you.
Prince Wednesday and I have something that's different too: our hair!
Mine's curly and black and Prince Wednesday's is straight.
And my hair is, well... my hair is fur.
And it's stripy.
Will you take a picture of all our sames and differences, please?
[camera clicks] Wow!
Our whole class is the same and different.
♪ In some ways we are different ♪ ♪ But in so many ways we are the same ♪ Alright, so what do you think that whole clip was about?
- Differences, right.
And what have we talked about?
- Skin color.
- Let's look at our skin color.
What do you find that's different?
- Mommy's skin is like a peach.
- Daddy's skin color is brown.
And my skin is like light brown.
My skin color is like a peachish-tan.
- And then Daddy's... - What's my color?
...is like a brown peach.
Yours is like light-ish, brownish; mine is like dark brown.
Mine's light and his is tan.
- Are those the same?
- Way different!
This looks good on me and that looks good on you.
A little different, a little bit the same.
- On here.
- Yeah, it's a little bit same.
I'm a little bit taller than you!
- [laughter] - Not a little bit!
All right, I'm a lot taller than you.
When I was growing up, my hair was blond like that.
And now your hair is gray-ish.
Oh, you weren't supposed to say that!
[chuckles] We don't look the same.
Me and mommy don't look the same.
- We have different skin colors.
- Very different.
My mom's is tan and mine is like a lighter color.
Although they're all physical differences, we're humans.
We still have feelings and emotions.
If everyone was the same, that would just be boring.
Why are there so many skin colors?
There are many skin colors because there are many different people all over the world with different nationalities and different cultures.
It's kinda like the crayon box where there's all kinds of different combinations.
And then, as people had kids and moved around, you started mixing up those crayons and those colors.
Most of the times when we're talking about race, we're talking about identifying someone by the color of their skin.
So, Sadie, who are the people in our family who are different races?
- There's Pepaw, who's black; - Right.
Hominy who is Korean, Bama who's white, and Pop's who's black.
That makes me half black, half white, half Korean.
Whoa, that's a lot of halves!
[both laugh] I have a lot of friends, some of them have different skin colors than me, and I don't say, "Ew, you have such and such skin color, that's gross."
I don't say that.
I tell them you are beautiful and you are who you're supposed to be.
We want to raise you with a heart that sees those differences and celebrates those differences.
Not just see a difference and think poorly about it.
You treat somebody how you want to be treated, like yourself.
Like it's okay to talk about your differences!
We've been taught that it's something not to talk about.
And so, the more we get comfortable with talking about our differences, the more we can learn to respect, and applaud, and celebrate our differences.
It's a great thing actually to notice differences in people because we're not different, but we're not the same.
- We're equal.
What does it mean to be equal?
It means that everyone is treated fairly, no matter what.
That nobody gets treated better or worse because of their skin color, or anything else.
And when someone is treated wrongly because of their race?
And it happens every day, in big and small ways.
Sometimes, it's easy to see when someone is being treated unfairly.
Other times, we really have to pay attention to see it.
When we do notice something racist happening -- whether it's to yourself or to someone else -- it's up to all of us to say, that's not okay.
Me, you, kids, parents, friends, neighbors, teachers... all of us have to speak out.
For Black people and other people of color in America, racism is something we have dealt with for a long time.
We're still fighting it today.
But over time, some things have changed for the better -- all because of people brave enough to say, I see what's happening, and it's not fair.
Rosa Parks was one of those people.
She was a real-life Black woman who fought the racist laws that kept Black people from being treated as well as White people.
Parks couldn't even ride the bus without experiencing racism.
So -- she took action.
In "Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum," Xavier, Yadina, and Brad travel back in time to 1955, to meet Rosa Parks.
Let's see what they find out.
There's Rosa getting off that bus.
And then getting back on the bus?
You're allowed on the bus now?
Well, yeah... as long as I use the back doors and stay at the back.
Just because of your skin color?
But that's still really unfair.
[clears throat] Let me have those seats for this gentleman.
How come he gets a seat and Rosa doesn't?
The only reason is because his skin is white and mine isn't.
But that's not right.
No, it isn't.
And I'm tired of accepting things I know are wrong.
If I get up, that's like saying I'm okay with being treated like this... and I'm not.
Everyone should be treated equally.
[clears throat] I said this man needs a seat.
Are you gonna get up?
Is Rosa going to get in trouble?
I don't know.
Are you not allowed on the bus anymore?
I'm allowed to ride the bus... but I'm choosing not to.
It's my way of saying that treating people differently based on their skin color is wrong.
I'm not going to ride on any bus until they treat everyone equally.
And a lot of other people feel the same way.
We did it!
You mean the bus companies gave in?
Thanks to you, everyone will be treated equally on the bus from now on.
No matter what their skin color is.
[♪♪♪] We still need to make sure everyone everywhere is treated equally.
But this is a good start.
- See ya later.
What did we watch?
- That was Rosa Parks.
- Mm-hmm She had to give up her seat to a white man, but she refused because it wasn't right, and all Black people should be treated equally.
Were you born yet?
I think it was a little pre-dad and I.
That's around the time of civil rights, so maybe in like the 50s and 60s.
Oh, so nana and grandpa were alive.
Why was she not allowed on the bus in the front?
Because of the color of her skin, and Black people had to sit in the back of the bus.
So, when we talk about people being treated differently because of the color of their skin.
Sadie, how would you describe racism?
Not treating people fairly just because of their skin color.
- Because of their skin color?
- And is that fair?
Racism is Black people and White people not collabing.
The lens is constantly on Black and White people, but the practice of racism meaning someone just completely dismissing or dehumanizing another person based on the color of their skin happens to so many communities around the world.
And the reason that we talk about it is because we want to make sure we stand up against racism so that it doesn't continue.
Because if we didn't do it, like imagine if people didn't talk about it.
If we don't talk about it and we don't stand up, then it's going to continue.
Do you think everybody stands up?
- No, not everybody.
Some people are confident of doing it and some people are like "well I really want to but I don't think I have the courage to do it."
It takes confidence in order to stand up for something that's not right.
So, Rosa Parks, she stood up for her rights.
She didn't really know what was going to happen.
She was probably a little bit like, "Am I going to get in trouble or something?"
Her stand on the bus for her rights and for fairness, was to challenge the rule that was in place so that it should change.
And what did happen?
- It actually changed.
And it's a lot better now than it was a long time ago.
Like Pepaw, your grandad when he grew up, he had to go into different schools.
Pepaw had to go to an all-Black school.
He wasn't allowed in the White school.
Was the Black school like the White school or was it a little different?
It was very different.
- It was very different.
It wasn't nearly as nice as the White school.
And it was just because he was Black.
- That's not fair.
- That's not fair at all.
Even now, we're still living through situations that are reminiscent of that time.
So a lot of racial discrimination.
But back then, it was definitely a part of the law, for segregation to be a tool to separate people based on the color of their skin.
But we learned about Rosa Parks, right?
We learned about Martin Luther King Jr.
He stood up for himself, he made peace instead of hurt.
What they did was they fought to change that because back then that's the way the law was.
So they had to change the law.
So they had to stand up for themselves and they had to get in good trouble.
What does good trouble mean?
[laughter] Good trouble means when you get in trouble but it's for a good reason.
Who came up with that?
- John Lewis.
He said we got to get in good trouble to change things that aren't right?
Changing things that are unfair about the world -- like racism -- is hard to do.
It can take a long time... so long that you might wonder if it will ever happen, or if it's even worth it to try.
Believe me, it is absolutely worth it.
Because if you don't try, you'll never know what kind of change you can make in the world.
The good news is that change is already happening all around us, in our streets, our homes, and our hearts.
And don't forget, you're not alone!
If you notice something unfair happening, talk to a grown-up about what you see, how you feel, and what you can do to help.
That's what Arthur did when he noticed that Mrs. MacGrady wasn't being treated fairly at school.
She had too much work to do, and no one -- not even the principal -- would help her.
At first, he wasn't sure if speaking up would make a difference... until he talked with someone who spent his entire life speaking up for others: Congressman John Lewis.
It's not fair... No, this really isn't fair.
Making this library so warm and cozy makes me want to nap too.
I didn't sleep much last night.
You were having quite a nightmare, son.
It was about our lunch lady.
She needs help but my school won't hire anyone.
It makes me really mad.
Anyway, I guess it's not my problem.
Maybe... Then again, if it's gnawing as your conscience, maybe it is your problem.
But what can I do?
I already tried talking to the principal.
Sometimes people don't hear the first time.
You have to be persistent.
But if this means a lot to you, do not give up.
Hold your ground.
A person with conviction can change the world.
Oh, can you direct me to a florist?
I have to buy some flowers for an old friend.
[sigh] Aren't you coming?
I'm not moving from this chair until Ms. Tingley agrees to hire an assistant for Mrs. MacGrady.
How is you getting in trouble going to help her?
Come on, I'm sure he'll give up in a few minutes.
You'd better hurry.
Class has started.
I'm not moving.
Not until you get some help.
Well that's very sweet of you but I can fight my own battles.
It's not just about you.
What the school is doing is wrong.
Don't you think it's wrong?
Well yes but... Oh fiddle faddle.
When you're right, you're right.
Someone said you were protesting unfair working conditions.
Can I join in?
This is so exciting!
We're having a sit-in!
He's still at it.
And they don't even have magazines and footrests.
What on Earth is going on?
Mrs. MacGrady needs help.
I know you said we can't afford it but we need to find the money somehow.
I really am shorthanded.
I'll certainly consider it.
Now please return to class at once.
I'm sorry, Cecilia, but we're going to need a guarantee.
Excuse me, ma'am.
Do you know where I might find a Ms. Leah MacGrady?
[gasp] Congressman Lewis!
John, you old troublemaker!
Get over here!
Ms. Leah MacGrady, you haven't changed a bit since the march on Washington.
You're Congressman Lewis?
That's what they keep telling me.
Nice to see you again.
Are we having a sit-in?
How come no one called me?
You have your guarantee.
I'll write to the school board first thing tomorrow morning.
[♪♪♪] Maybe you'd like to help me write a letter.
I'd love to.
Do you think you're going to have nightmares again tonight?
There's nothing more important than following your conscience.
If you can do that, you're always going to to sleep well.
[♪♪♪] Do you know what that's called, what Arthur did?
- A sit-in.
- It's a sit-in, right.
A sit-in is a type of a protest.
He wasn't supposed to wait there.
He was supposed to go to class.
Do you think that it is ever okay to break rules?
If there is something that's unfair going on then you can break rules because that's the right thing to do.
So Destiny, if you saw somebody being treated unfairly just because of the color of their skin, what would you do?
I would go up to the person who was being mean and tell them to stop because that's not right.
That's what we're supposed to do.
Stand up for when people aren't doing what is right.
What does your school teach you to do when you see people being treated unfairly?
You say stop.
And if they don't stop, go with a different group.
And if they still don't stop then you report to a teacher.
We do talk about racism.
- While we're eating dinner.
- That's true.
And sometimes those conversations are not always fun and sometimes they make us sad, but why do you think we have those conversations?
We should be learning about what's happening because then we can do something about it.
There is the little things that everybody can do to stand up, to take action.
That's you going with me to vote, you know, if we hear people or see people being treated badly, we say something right away.
We all have our little part in the world.
When we went to the Black Lives Matter protest, what do you remember from that?
I remember we stood up and we held up our signs.
Do you remember what our signs said?
Me and my brother's said "Peace".
And my mom's said "Black Lives Matter".
Black Lives Matter.
And why did Mommy have a sign that said Black Lives Matter?
Because people aren't treating Black people fairly.
And that Black people need to be treated as fairly as everyone, right?
I went down to the Black Lives Matter Plaza and I protested in the rain.
Tell me more about that.
What types of people did you see down there?
I saw a lot of Black people.
A lot of White people, there were like a thousand people there.
I took a stand.
I was kind of nervous because I didn't really know what could happen.
But then when I went there, I was like, - "Oh, I feel great!"
- That's great!
I just want it to be equal so everybody could just have a good life.
I agree with that, Rae.
I would really love to make a change in the world.
I can express my feelings by art, like you do.
- And by music and by writing.
I like fighting...
I'm not going to use the word fighting.
I'm going to use the word... - What was the word?
I'm going to keep advocating to get what we should have which is equal rights.
Cause you should be proud of being Black and that's what me and you are proud of.
This is just the beginning of our conversations about race and racism and there's a lot of things that I don't know, a lot of things you don't know.
Together we can figure out a lot of these tough hard questions and even in the future I hope there's an open communication between us.
There is no one right way to talk about racism.
And as long as we can start to build those conversations from a respectful place, I say we talk about it more.
- It's time.
I really enjoyed having this conversation with you today.
[chuckling] I love you.
I love you too.
Even with all our differences, we are all part of the same race: the human race.
Which means we are all in the same big, beautiful family.
Change doesn't happen all at once.
It happens bit by bit.
It happens when one person starts to speak up -- and then another person -- and another -- and another -- until all of those voices are just so loud they have to be heard.
And when we use our voices to celebrate our similarities and differences, to talk about racism, and to stand up for ourselves and each other -- we can make things fair for everyone.
Writing poetry is my favorite way to use my own voice.
This is a poem I wrote, called "Talking Gets Us There."
It's normal to notice what makes us different Because what makes us different Is what makes each of us so special There is beauty in every type of face And in every type of freckle From the curl of your hair To the color of your skin No one is exactly the same Not even twins But across time and place People have been treated unfairly Just because of their race So heroes get into good trouble They have to struggle for a long while But when they win it's worth every mile People of color still experience racism today So, it's up to all of us to say enough is enough To speak out with all our hearts And that starts at home Starts with asking questions about race When we're taught about it together I know we can tackle racism But first, we have to talk about it Thank you for spending this time together with me and PBS KIDS.
Keep talking -- it will get us there.
Talk About Race and Racism is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people and by viewers like you.