“But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.”
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
We now have a Dr. Seuss two-fer here in Massachusetts. A couple of weeks ago, a librarian in Cambridge rudely refused, without the authority to do so, a set of 10 Dr. Seuss books, a gift from the First Lady, because the First Lady is married to President Trump. And just last week, three equally rude authors refused to participate in the inaugural Children’s Literature Festival at, of all places, The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, because – horror of horrors – the museum features a mural depicting a scene from Dr. Seuss’ first book, To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street.
As a lifelong Seussophile, allow me to say that these people need to find real issues to worry about. The librarian, seeing an opportunity to lash out at Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos through the First Lady, belittled the gift as unnecessary, because her school has such a wonderful librarian (herself), and proceeded to lecture Mrs. Trump that she should have sent a completely different set of books to a different school. Keep in mind, the reason this school was selected was to recognize its excellence. The letter that accompanied the books encouraged the children that they “can accomplish anything you set your mind to,” and that “the key to achieving your dreams begins with learning to read.” Fortunately, the school district overruled the librarian – who, by the way, once dressed up as the Cat in the Hat to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday – and graciously accepted the books.
Of course, there was more to it. The Big Problem, according to the librarian, is that the books themselves, including Green Eggs and Ham and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, are – wait for it – racist. Even though these books weren’t racist when the Obamas read them to children, apparently, the three festival-boycotting authors agreed with the librarian. They claim that the Mulberry Street mural features a “jarring racial stereotype of a Chinese man, who is depicted with chopsticks, a pointed hat, and slanted slit eyes.” Here’s the image:
I suppose Dr. Seuss could have written “a nondescript Asian-American child who may be a biological male – but we shouldn’t jump to any conclusions – who eats with traditional Chinese eating implements” but that doesn’t really fit the rhyming scheme, does it?
As you might expect, the museum caved and is not only removing the mural – from, again, the first book written by perhaps the most popular and well-known children’s author in the history of the English language – but they cancelled the festival! Apparently, they felt it was more important to cater to the fragile egos of these authors that nobody ever heard of than to hold an event to celebrate Children’s Literature and encourage children to read, like the First Lady was trying to do.
In her ungracious letter to the First Lady, the librarian cited Philip Nel, a Kansas State University professor who wrote “Was the Cat in the Hat Black?” Professor Nel was also quoted in a recent Boston Globe article about the controversy offering parents and children’s librarians a choice to either skip Seuss’ more controversial works or read them to children “and be ready to have uncomfortable conversations about them.”
I don’t know about you, but I read these books to my children when they were probably four or five. Needless to say, I did not have any “uncomfortable conversations” with them about the pictures in any of these books. As Mrs. Trump points out, they are “the future of America” and I know that my children, having been given a foundation of faith, reason, logic and love, will be well ahead of their peers whose parents had “uncomfortable conversations” with them and taught them to see racism everywhere.
The Museum of Seuss, with a mural in back
shows whimsy and fun, not a racist attack.
But snowflakes won’t stop, since all they’ve been taught
Is that everything’s wrong and it’s never their fault.
That’s not true, of course, since all that they do
Is to whine and complain and they blame me and you
For not giving in and just going away
But fighting for good in the U.S. of A.
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