The PSA is part of a four-part series that aims to provide kids and families with productive ways to disrupt common narratives about racism.
Cartoon Network on Tuesday released a new anti-racism PSA titled See Color which is garnering quite a lot of praise on social media. According to Variety, 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. Taking place on the set of a PSA, it features Steven Universe's Amethyst and provides a very 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," the video description states on YouTube.
The short begins with the cast of the PSA singing along with the lyrics of the spot. "Everybody join our circle, doesn't matter if you're white, Black, or purple," they sing until Amethyst interrupts. "What the! Woah, Woah, Woah. Hold up a minute here. Ugh! Who wrote this?" a visibly irked Amethyst asks. "I think it kind of does matter that I'm purple. I mean, I'm purple because I'm literally an alien." The two children featured in the ad — one Black and one White — immediately chime in with agreement about the message being off.
CN again reminding folks that “color blindness” does more harm than good. I’m sure the responses will be measured and appropriate...— N.I.C.E. Entertainment Group (@NICEEntGroup) February 16, 2021
i love the message of this psa. saying stuff like “i dont care if youre white black purple or green” is so harmful and not to mention stupid because it takes the focus away from the issue at hand and it ridicules black people and people of color. u rock cartoon network <3— jp 🐀🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@punkratsociety) February 16, 2021
You guys never stop with these PSAs no matter what people say and I love it!— MJHtv (@MJHtv23) February 16, 2021
People compare races to fictional things all the time and it needs to be addressed. Thank you for doing it here
"Well, I'm not an alien, but it definitely matters that I'm Black," one says, while the other adds: "Yeah, it makes a difference that I'm White. I know the two of us get treated very differently." Amethyst jumps in at this point, saying: "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." The children agree that presenting an anti-racism message in such a color-blind package is "pretty weird."
This is how it needs to be— Mac’n’Stack ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽 (@kingkalactite) February 16, 2021
bro, pretending to not see color doesn’t help shit— vapors (@notvapors) February 17, 2021
all it does is ignore the struggles people go through just because of the skin they were born in
by talking about it you can come up with and put into action solutions to the problems
but ignoring them makes it worse
This scared me. At first I thought it was going to actually go with the "I dont see color" thing. Amazing job!!— 🌸Marley(真里)🌸#blacklivesmatter (@MagicalMarley) February 16, 2021
"I think people [like] the Black, White, or purple thing because adding a fantasy race in there distracts from the actual racism Black people have to deal with," the White kid points out. Her Black peer on the set then speaks up to explain that her experience with anti-Black racism is very specific. She continues, "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 questions whether the whole idea of doing a color-blind PSA "could be a ploy to avoid talking about racism altogether."
The cast ultimately agrees to try a new PSA with a completely different message where they "appreciate each other without erasing what makes each of [them] different." The PSA — which is available on Cartoon Network's YouTube channel and other social media platforms — is part of the network's continued efforts to provide kids and families with productive ways to disrupt common narratives about racism. See Color was reportedly developed with developmental psychologist Dr. Deborah J. Johnson with additional consulting from Dr. Kira H. Banks and Dr. Allen E. Lipscomb.
According to Animation World Network, Dr. Johnson received her doctoral degree in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University and specializes in racial and cultural development, parental racial socialization and coping, and cultural adjustment from early childhood through emerging adulthood, in both domestic and global children and youth. "These PSAs offer a compact message of antiracism targeted toward messaging justice, fairness, inclusion, and allyship based on research evidence," said Dr. Johnson. "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."