(Originally posted on February 20, 2015, edited July 16, 2015)
My last several posts have been pretty serious, so I think it’s time for a fun post! As the mother of a toddler, I have become fairly knowledgeable in current toddler and preschool shows, especially on Disney Junior and PBS Kids. My daugher loves certain characters that she sees on TV. The first show she loved to give her attention to was Super Why. Then a few months ago, she started to recognize and get excited about Doc McStuffins and Minnie Mouse. Just recently, she has become obsessed with Elmo and Sesame Street.
While Izzy gets excited about colorful characters with fun voices, I get excited about the diversity I see on children’s programming today. The list of shows that show diverse characters could go on for days, but I want to talk specifically about shows that depict interracial families. The creators of the following television shows deserve a round of applause.
1. Sid the Science Kid (PBS Kids)
At first glance, all of the characters on Sid the Science Kid are varying shades of yellow and orange, but after a few episodes, it becomes clear that the creators created Sid’s family to be very diverse. This is especially clear when you watch the holiday episodes. Sid’s family celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Sid’s mother represents a black woman and Sid’s father represents a white man (and Jewish!). I love that this family is so diverse, and the parents raise their children embracing culture from both sides.
2. Super Why (PBS Kids)
Super Why is a fun show with cute little songs and viewer interaction. One of the characters, Princess Pea is biracial. It is difficult to see in the show, but one episode tells the story of the original Princess and the Pea. The story features a black princess and white prince, who are revealed to be Princess Pea’s parents. Edit: So I recently watched an episode where her parents were changed to be both black. Disappointing.
3. Martha Speaks (PBS Kids)
This show (based on a children’s book) is probably geared more toward school-age children, but still a cute concept. Martha Speaks is about a dog who can speak when she eats alphabet soup. Her family is also interracial. The mother of the family is Hispanic and often uses Spanish words in the show, and the father is caucasian.
The next two shows might not be as clear if they feature interracial families, but I wanted to include them.
4. Sofia the First (Disney Junior)
When Sofia the First was first announced, there was some controversy because a producer misspoke, claiming she was to be Disney’s first Hispanic princess. Later, it was clarified that the characters come from fictitious fairytale lands, but Sophia’s mother is from a land with Latin influences. I’m not going to worry about that, but I also like that Sofia is about a village girl who became “a princess overnight” because her mother, Miranda, married King Roland, who has two young, blonde children. The whole show is about the mixing of two cultures: royalty and commoners.
5. Kate and Mim Mim (Disney Junior)
This is a new show, having just premiered this winter on Disney Junior. The main character is a young girl named Kate, who travels to an imaginary land with her toy rabbit, Mim Mim. The beginning and end of most episodes I’ve seen show Kate interacting with her parents. Now I have no idea if her parents are supposed to be different races, or if the father is just several shades darker than the mother, but I thought I would include it here just in case 🙂
6. Miles from Tomorrowland (Disney Junior)
This spring, Disney Junior premiered another new show, Miles from Tomorrowland. This is about a family who travel through space capturing space villains and meeting new intergalactic friends. In this family, the father is depicted as caucasian and the mother is depicted as Asian American, which makes their two children bi-racial!