Why is 'is Dr Seuss racist' trending?

Why is 'is Dr Seuss racist' trending?

March 2, 2021

On March 2, thousands of children celebrate Read Across America Day across the country, marked by a Presidential proclamation.

The day falls on beloved children's author, Dr. Seuss', birthday and is a dual celebration of literacy and learning.

Why is 'is Dr Seuss racist' trending?

For over two decades, March 2 has marked the birthday of renowned author Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day, a holiday that encourages children to read.

It shows children the importance of reading while honoring the inspiring works of Dr. Seuss, whose books have helped countless children across the globe.

However, Loudon County Public Schools decided to drop the annual celebration of Dr. Seuss, due to the "racial undertones" included in his work.

The district said, "As we become more culturally responsive and racially conscious, all building leaders should know that in recent years there has been research revealing radical undertones in the books written and the illustrations drawn by Dr. Seuss."

Spokesman Wayde Bayard added, "Given this research, and LCPS's focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction, LCPS has provided guidance to schools in the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day with Dr Seuss's birthday exclusively."

The esteemed illustrator, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, has come under fire in recent years for his own personal opinions, the basis of his characters, and claims his children's stories feature "orientalism, anti-blackness and white supremacy". 

In 2019, Learning for Justice released an article by the name of, 'It's Time to Talk About Dr. Seuss,' which analyzes the heavily stereotyped characters he included in his books.

Out of 50 Dr. Seuss books, researchers found only 2 percent of the entire cast of characters were of color.

The 2019 study: 'The Cat is Out of the Bag: Orientalism, Anti-Blackness, and White Supremacy in Dr. Seuss's Children's Books' also drew similar conclusions.

It said, "White supremacy is seen through the centering of Whiteness and White characters, who comprise 98% (2,195 characters) of all characters. 

"Notably, every character of color is male. Males of color are only presented in subservient, exotified, or dehumanized roles. This also remains true in their relation to White characters. 

"Most startling is the complete invisibility and absence of women and girls of color across Seuss' entire children’s book collection. 

"In addition, some of Dr. Seuss' most iconic books feature animal or non-human characters that transmit Orientalist, anti-Black, and White supremacist messaging through allegories and symbolism."

Why has Joe Biden not mentioned Dr Seuss in the Read Across America Day proclamation?

President Joe Biden continued the presidential tradition of announcing theRead Across America Day proclamation as March 2, but broke from his predecessors by not mentioning Dr. Seuss.

It follows on from the accusations of racism that are plaguing the author.

Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump honored Dr. Seuss several times during their periods in office, with Obama describing him as "one of America's revered wordsmiths" who "used his incredible talent to instill in his most impressionable readers universal values we all hold dear."

Former first lady Melania Trump marked the March 2 celebrations in 2017 by reading Dr. Seuss books to children in hospital.

Biden gave no mention to Seuss, stirring up a wealth of online criticism of "woke culture" going "too far". She said, "Dr. Seuss has brought so much joy, laughter and enchantment into children's lives all around the globe for generations."

In his 2018 proclamation, her husband Donald Trump told Americans to "always remember the still-vibrant words of Dr. Seuss: 'You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."

The White House did not yet return a request for comment on why Dr. Seuss was omitted from the proclamation, yet it is widely believed it is due to the recent controversy surrounding the children's author.

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