President Biden removed mention of Dr. Seuss from his speech promoting Read Across America Day. It’s a decision by Dr. Seuss’s publisher pulling six of his works from publication for supposed “racist and insensitive” depictions.
Born Ted Geisel, Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated many of the most popular children’s books of all time. With such iconic characters as The Cat in the Hat, Sam I Am, The Lorax, The Grinch and so many more, Seuss’s children books have sold over 600 million copies in more than 20 languages. Since 1998, the National Education Association, his birthday has been designated as “Read Across America Day” to promote reading among children.
Biden’s omission is a break from the two previous administrations who both mentioned Dr. Seuss in their respective proclamations.
One reason for this political pivot away from Dr. Seuss. According to a 2019 study from the Conscious Kid’s Library and the University of California that examined 50 of Dr. Seuss’ books, “characters of color” represent only 2% of the total number of human characters. Last week, a Virginia school district ordered its teachers to avoid “connecting Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss” because of similar concerns. Dr. Seuss Enterprises has already capitulated to the culture mob, saying that it would stop publishing and licensing six titles after consultation with a panel of educators and other experts.
Dr. Seuss’s took exception to the characterizations of her deceased stepfather:
“There wasn’t a racist bone in that man’s body — he was so acutely aware of the world around him and cared so much,’’Lark Grey Dimond-Cates
When did we all lose the plot? The focus on Dr. Seuss’s books is NOT on the humans in the periphery. It is on the whimsical characters and fanciful stories he created.
One of the “canceled” books is If I Ran The Zoo. It’s a lovely tale of Gerald McGrew, who imagines all kinds of animals he’d have in his own zoo, and the adventures he’d have gathering them all. Gerald imagines a lion with ten feet, and a Fizza-ma-Wizza-ma-Dill. One of Gerald’s creatures, the Nerd, has become part of the American lexicon.
But, instead of focusing on the whimsy, culture warriors would rather draw attention to the depiction of Asian characters described as “helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant’” from “countries no one can spell.”
Now, I’m not going to dismiss these concerns. But, if Seuss’s imagery is a concern to parents – and it’s reasonable that it can be – then parents should BE parents and address any questions that arise as they see fit. That’s what parenting is.
You see, there’s this thing called “context” that we all should have been taught. It’s the job of adults to fill in those gaps of context to show how far we have all come in those 70+ years since Gerald dreamed of running a zoo.
Instead, once again, decisions are made for us by our “betters”. The Big Brother-like gatekeepers of society think we are all stupid, and are incapable to making our own decisions about a 71-year old children’s book. And in the midst of all the pearl-clutching, a good man is being dragged through the racist mud.
What a legacy President Biden and the culture warriors are leaving to future generations. Soon all history will be varnished, censored and re-imagined into nothing that resembles what we lived.