“But now that I am better informed, I am committed to advocating for change. Because when we know better, we should do better.”
Writes Maureen Downey (in the Atlanta Journal Constitution).
So drearily earnest…
She means well. Is she anxious about what else she may be unknowingly doing… such as depriving children of the fun of reading Dr. Seuss or generating morbid fears about strange manifestations of racism or being too subservient about taking instruction from dull people who are oversure of their puritanical notions of racial correctness?
Downey links to what she calls a “fantastic list” of other books to give to children, but it’s not just a list. It’s an opinionated blog post, “Dr. Seuss was racist. Why are we still reading his books?”
… I pulled out the extensive collection of Dr. Seuss books that I have in my home and re-read them with a critical lens only to find that the themes of anti-Blackness, white supremacy, and Orientalism are garishly prevalent. I have used Dr. Seuss books in my classroom for the last ten years. I feel disgusted knowing that I not only celebrated these texts, but the life of Theodore Geisel. Dr. Seuss books will no longer have a place in my home. The messages that children absorb through literature will impact their racial beliefs. Without proper support in navigating the harmful messages from books like Dr. Seuss’s, children are likely to transfer what they read to their play and social life….
Go to that link to see the suggestions of books to read in place of particular Dr. Seuss books. The book covers are depicted, so you can get a sense of the kind of drawing that anti-Seussers think could work as a substitute for his highly idiosyncratic work. But these substitutes just have blandly realistic, sentimental illustrations that depict people of color. If you want to replace Dr. Seuss, the first thing you’ll need some exciting, inventive drawing! And you’ve got to have a little edge to the story. It can’t be just love is important and nice people are nice.