Dr. Seuss, the beloved children’s author that has taught generations of Americans to love reading at very early ages, has suddenly come under fire for supposedly displaying “racial undertones” and “white supremacy.” A radical education group associated with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued a report that declares Dr. Seuss books display troubling signs of “Orientalism” and “anti-blackness.” Now at least one school district, with a board dominated by liberals, has instructed its libraries to remove Dr. Seuss books from its shelves.
The Daily Wire reports:
Learning for Justice — a left-wing educators group — is demanding that Dr. Seuss be canceled. A prominent Virginia school district has taken marching orders and ordered its schools to avoid “connecting Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss.”
Loudoun County Public Schools, one of the nation’s most affluent school districts, announced that it will no longer recognize Dr. Seuss on his birthday. In an announcement obtained by The Daily Wire, the school district said that Dr. Suess’s children’s books contain “racial undertones” that are not suitable for “culturally responsive” learning.
Learning for Justice, formerly known as Teaching Tolerance, is the education arm of the SPLC. It issued a report critical of Dr. Seuss in advance of the national Learn to Read Day, which coincides every year with his birthday on March 2. The group has been at this effort for a while. In a 2019 article,Teaching Tolerance wrote:
Until recently, Read Across America Day was—in everything but title—National Dr. Seuss Day. It’s even celebrated on March 2, his birthday. If you’re like me, you remember teachers wearing the iconic Cat in the Hat top hat/tie combo. You might recall school librarians or administrators dressing up as Thing One and Thing Two or a school lunch when Green Eggs and Ham were served. This is America, and it’s probably not much of a stretch to guess that you probably have a favorite Dr. Seuss book (mine is probably Hop on Pop).
You may have noticed that Read Across America has looked a little different for the last few years. Rather than exclusively celebrate the works of Dr. Seuss, as it had done since 1998, in 2017 the NEA shifted its focus to “Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers.” They began prominently featuring titles focused on diverse American experiences.
You can probably guess how they justify their revisionist history: “apologists” say that Dr. Seuss’ books for children didn’t advance racist themes, but guess what, they were 100% white. When researchers of color decided to take a look, they realized that the characters in the books didn’t look like them. They analyzed the human characters in his book, and found that only a small number were people of color. To top it off, they say, his early work was “Orientalist” and “displayed implicit bias,” so therefore everything he ever wrote was the result of anti-blackness.
Many readers may note at this point that The Sneetches takes on the very subject of racism, demonstrating how absurd it is to reject someone over surface characteristics. Not so fast, they say. This book, upon further review, is not nearly as “anti-racist” as is commonly understood. White people, generally ignorant of their implicit biases, can’t see the intricacies of the story that, viewed as a multi-layered picture, doesn’t send the unifying message everyone used to think it sent.
Every teacher, therefore, needs to have difficult conversations with their elementary school-aged students so they might better understand their own implicit biases they’ve picked up in their eight or nine years on the planet.
Is it only a matter of time before libraries across the nation remove Dr. Seuss from their shelves altogether?
Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, and on Gab at @RealJeffReynolds.