The 'Cat in the Hat' isn’t black — and that’s a problem

Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, might be one of the most read authors in the English (or, more accurately, the sort-of English) language.  Since The Cat in the Hat was published in 1957, generations of American children have sounded out simple words while reading about the eponymous cat and the havoc he wreaked with Thing One and Thing Two on a boring, rainy day.  However, the wokerati have now come for Geisel, claiming that his weird, mostly zoomorphic creations are, in fact, racist.

I have a confession to make: except for Green Eggs and Ham, I don't like Dr. Seuss.  I hated the anarchy in The Cat in the Hat, and I've always had disdain for the cheating behind his rhyming books.  Frankly, it's easy for anyone to rhyme if he can make up half the words as he goes along.  If you can't find a rhyme for orange or sugar, just invent a musical instrument called a bomborange or a cooking utensil called a wampgugar.  And while I love the song "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch," the Grinch's story otherwise leaves me cold (and again, I hate all those stupid words he created for fake rhymes).

My point here is that I'm not emotionally invested in Dr. Seuss's works and am inclined to be critical — and yet, never in my wildest imaginings would it ever have occurred to me that his vaguely anthropomorphic creations were racist.  But just as, to a hammer, everything is a nail, to a wokerati, everything is racist.  It was inevitable that Dr. Seuss would end up being run through the left's racial filter.

The Loudoun County school system, in one of Virginia's largest and most affluent school districts, is firing the man who helped generations of children learn how to read because, the district claims, his books have "racial undertones."  This decision comes about thanks to input from Learning for Justice, a national educators' group with a decidedly left-wing orientation:

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 [sic] children's books contain "racial undertones" that are not suitable for "culturally responsive" learning. 

If you're part of the literati, as opposed to the wokerati, you know that Dr. Seuss once did an illustrated book for adults complete with decidedly unsexy pictures of naked ladies.  And if you're a history buff, you may have stumbled across the fact that, during World War II, Dr. Seuss created anti-Japanese cartoons, along with some anti-German ones, too.  Dr. Seuss's depictions of the Japanese were not friendly and traded on the racial stereotype that they had buck teeth and squinting eyes.  Additionally, in keeping with Democrat icon Franklin Roosevelt, Dr. Seuss supported interning American citizens of Japanese origin or descent.

Intellectually sophisticated people understand that different times mean different values — and WWII was an extraordinarily bloody war that saw over 111,000 American troops die in the Pacific fighting the Japanese, with another 21,580 horribly tortured in POW camps and over 250,000 wounded.  Moreover, with the passing decades, Dr. Seuss became increasingly leftist in orientation, culminating with the anti-capitalist Lorax.

But were Dr. Seuss's post-war children's books, which were mostly populated with odd animal-like characters, really imbued with racial characteristics that spoke to racial animus and degradation?

According to Learning from Justice, yes!

In a magazine article titled, "It's Time to Talk About Dr. Seuss," Learning for Justice cites a study from St. Catherine University that claims Dr. Seuss's children's literature is rife with "orientalism, anti-blackness, and white supremacy."  

The researchers surveyed 50 Dr. Seuss books and concluded that there is not enough diversity in the children's books, many of which were written in the 1950s. 

"Of the 2,240 (identified) human characters, there are 45 of color representing two percent of the total number of human characters," the study reads. Of the 45 characters of color, 43 "exhibited behaviors and appearances that align with harmful and stereotypical Orientalist tropes." 

Two things are at work here.  First, we're seeing again the leftist impulse to erase the past.  Fundamentally, leftists never really believe that their leftist utopia will be that great, and they want to ensure that there is nothing against which to compare it.  Additionally, to the extent we are witnessing the leftist Religion of Woke in action, that faith has no place for remorse, repentance, and atonement.  Once damned, always damned.  And with Seuss's shady, racially fraught WWII past — well, "Out, damned Seuss!  Out, I say," as Shakespeare, another banned author, might have written.

Image: Leather Cat with added text, by Peter Burka.  CC BY-SA 2.0.

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