Cartoon Network Releases Anti-Racism Ad Teaching Kids To 'See Color'

Cartoon Network Releases Anti-Racism Ad Teaching Kids To 'See Color'

The PSA is part of a four-part series on anti-racism to foster inclusion and equity by Cartoon Network

A few months ago, Cartoon Network had featured an anti-racism PSA that received a lot of praise online and went viral reports BuzzFeed. During an American history class, Pearl, one of the major Crystal Gems from Steven Universe, points out that their textbooks don't give out the complete story, and only focus on white accomplishments and promote systemic racism. She said, "I worry about you humans. You rely on these stories to know your own history. Thanks to systemic racism, most of your storytellers prioritized white accomplishments, which leaves you with an incomplete picture."




Now, they have released their third PSA, which takes place on the set of a PSA called "See Color". This time Amethyst, another Crystal Gem from outer space, in the Steven Universe, makes an appearance. Variety reports that the nearly two-minute-long video is part of a four-part series developed by Emmy-nominated Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar and OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes creator Ian Jones-Quartey. As per the video description, it states an important message. "It's important to SEE people in all their beautiful COLORS. When you see color and the unique experiences that come from it, you can recognize the role racism plays in our culture AND appreciate everyone and their diversity," it reads.




The video begins with the cast singing the lyrics of the spot. "Everybody join our circle, doesn't matter if you're white, Black, or purple," when Amethyst interrupts. An annoyed Amethyst goes on to say, "What the! Woah, Woah, Woah. Hold up a minute here. Ugh! Who wrote this? I think it kind of does matter that I'm purple. I mean, I'm purple because I'm literally an alien." The two kids in the ad — a Black and a White — agree, noting that something's amiss. 




One says, "Well, I'm not an alien, but it definitely matters that I'm Black," while the other adds, "Yeah, it makes a difference that I'm White. I know the two of us get treated very differently." That's when Amethyst jumps in and notes, "I just think it's messed up to compare me being an alien to you two being different races. You're both human, you're totally biologically the same. Adding purple people into a lesson about human racism makes no sense." 




To which, one of the kids, pipes up and says, "Adding a fantasy race in there helps to distract from the actual racism Black people have to deal with." The Black child then says that her experience with anti-Black racism is very specific. She states, "Other people of color experience other forms of racism too. But you won't see any of that if you 'don't see color.'" Amethyst then wonders if the whole idea of their PSA "could be a ploy to avoid talking about racism altogether." They all agree and decide to do a new PSA with a different message where they "appreciate each other without erasing what makes each of [them] different."



You can catch more of Cartoon Network and Steven Universe's anti-racism PSA campaign on their website. Developmental psychologist Dr. Deborah J. Johnson with additional consulting from Dr. Kira H. Banks and Dr. Allen E. Lipscomb was reportedly behind the See Color PSA. Johnson said, "These PSAs offer a compact message of antiracism targeted toward messaging justice, fairness, inclusion and allyship based in research evidence.  The PSAs are bold, bringing the complex issues of society around race, gender, identity, and inclusion intensely into focus in a language and with images children can understand.  If we can capture children’s attention and early learning around these issues, our society has a chance to make and maintain shifts in equity for the long term."



The first entry into the series, "Don't Deny It - Defy It" showed a young boy who criticizes the "cheesiness" of another boy’s taunt that "black people can’t marry white people!" He then informs the young man that "just because it doesn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen" before stating that viewers must "acknowledge racism to work against it."

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