During the Tuesday broadcast of his Fox News Channel program, Tucker Carlson addressed the controversy surrounding Dr. Seuss’ children’s books, which have been deemed “racist” but some on the American left.
Carlson warned if “cancel culture” was allowed to succeed with Dr. Seuss, America would be “lost.”
CARLSON: Almost four years ago on the show, we talked to a former Georgia State Representative called LaDawn Jones about Black Lives Matter. Jones is a strong supporter of BLM. So not surprisingly, she was well-practiced in the now highly familiar tactic of denouncing everything she doesn’t like as racist, and we knew that going into the interview.
What was surprising was to hear LaDawn Jones go after the beloved children’s book author, Dr. Seuss. She called Dr. Seuss a bigot. Here’s the exchange from 2017.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LADAWN JONES, FORMER GEORGIA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: I actually had to — once I heard the story — pull out our Dr. Seuss books that are on my children’s bookshelf and take a closer look at them so I can see exactly what it was that was the complaint. And as is normal for many of us —
CARLSON: Well, what was it? What was it? I mean, actually, I’ve been obviously speaking tongue in cheek because this is like literally demented. But since you said that you checked Dr. Seuss for racism. What did you find? Where were the racist parts?
JONES: So you look at many of the drawings and you have to put it in the context of the times that many of these books were written and you can see that there are some very stereotypical drawings of Asian-Americans.
Dr. Seuss was known for some very stereotypical black face drawings prior to the books that most of us are familiar with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Now at the time, what you just heard seemed incomprehensible In fact, as we noted, kind of demented. Say what you will about Dr. Seuss, maybe you think his drawings are primitive, maybe some of his dog roll doesn’t actually rhyme, fair.
But Dr. Seuss was not a racist. Dr. Seuss was a preachy liberal. He was an evangelist against bigotry. He wrote an entire shelf of books against racism and not in a subtle way. They were clearly explicitly against racism. That was the whole point of writing them to teach children not to be racist.
Now, as it happens, today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, born Ted Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts. He would be 117 years old were he alive today? And thank God he isn’t because he would be wounded and confused.
Every year on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, the President whomever he is, at the time, makes a proclamation in support of something called Read Across America Day that’s designed to encourage kids to read books, and every year, the President mentions Dr. Seuss, because again, it’s his birthday. That’s the whole point of it.
But not this year, Joe Biden omitted Dr. Seuss from this year’s Proclamation. Why? Because Dr. Seuss is now considered a racist. So it seemed like total lunacy less than four years ago is now the official position of the White House.
Now, the shocking thing about this is not that it happened. Academic revolutionaries have been attacking traditional children’s books for decades. A few years ago, some moron at Boston University produced so-called research on “Curious George’s undercurrent of white dominance,” quote, “The series’ celebration of the oppression of an abducted monkey parallels the oppression of black Americans,” and so on.
You’ll be surprised to learn that that girl now works for Bill de Blasio in New York, of course, she does. What’s surprising is how calculated all this is.
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Now, conservatives will be tempted to chalk up the attacks on Dr. Seuss to the usual cancel culture gone mad. Look how hysterical and stupid the professional left is. They’re even calling Dr. Seuss racist.
And you’ve seen people say that on social media today. But it’s totally missing the point. Canceling Dr. Seuss isn’t stupid. It’s intentional. They’re banning Dr. Seuss not because he was a racist, but precisely because he wasn’t.
In 1961, Dr. Seuss wrote a story called the “Sneetches.” Martin Luther King’s march on Washington was still two years away, but Dr. Seuss’s story captured its essence.
In case you haven’t already read it to your kids 50 times and know it by heart. Here’s the plot. There’s a group of furry pear-shaped animals called sneetches who live on what looks like a faraway planet.
Now if that sounds weird to you, be aware that Dr. Seuss rarely drew people probably because he didn’t want to elevate one kind of person over any other kind of person. He wasn’t a racist.
In any case, there are two groups of sneetches in the story. Those with star-shaped designs on their stomachs and those without. There’s no real difference between the two groups, but the sneetches don’t know that.
They’re convinced that stars are all important. So they spend the entire story jockeying for position based on the relative starness.
At various points in the story, stars in the stomach are deemed socially favorable. At others, they’re considered a mark of disgrace. And the sneetches run around frantically trying to keep up with the changing demands of star fashion, until they realize in the uplifting final pages of the story, that none of it matters.
Underneath the stars, they’re all the same. They’re all sneetches. Who cares who’s got a star? What matters isn’t the group you come from, what matters is you.
Even a five-year-old gets the point of the story. At the deepest level, it doesn’t matter what we look like because underneath it all, we’re all the same. We’re all human beings, we’re in this together.
All that outward appearance stuff is pointless. It just makes people hate each other, and it makes us look ridiculous.
If there’s a more powerful statement on the universal brotherhood of man, it’s probably not in the children’s section of the bookstore.
For 60 years, American children have read the “Sneetches” and books like it, and that’s one of the reasons we have the country we have today, in which most Americans, those who don’t work at the universities or for the Joe Biden administration accept Martin Luther King’s most famous precept, that what matters is the content of our characters, not the color of our skins.
The “Sneetches” affirm this. The story is a plea for colorblindness, and that’s why the forces of wokeness hate it and Dr. Seuss.
When the people in charge cancel Dr. Seuss, what they’re really trying to eliminate is a very specific kind of mid-century American culture, a culture that championed meritocracy, and colorblindness and the superiority of individual achievement over tribal identity. These were ones called liberal values.
Modern liberals don’t want to be reminded that they once believed any of this. If your kids are allowed to read Dr. Seuss, they will know this was a different country not so long ago, a place where people tried hard not to hate each other. A place where the population was encouraged, begged by its leaders to reject identity politics in favor of universal values and the things that connect us all.
Dr. Seuss was never a major literary figure, but his memory matters more than ever it has. The battle over Dr. Seuss, what he stood for, the battle over what it means to be racist will have consequences that extend for generations. And if we lose that battle, America is lost.
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