The Christian conservative combos are fake outraged that Dr. Seuss has been canceled. Some have taken to creating videos reading Green Eggs and Ham to anyone who will swallow their diatribe; the Seuss books are nothing but wholesome and are now victims of cancel culture.
“If you believe racism is caused by books about giant talking cats, you are a special kind of stupid,” was shouted out to the world from a meme featuring the famous Dr. Seuss cat across social media in the last week. This after Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced they would stop publishing and licensing some titles. “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” their media release stated.
As a grade-oner, reading time in class was my favourite. I would leap out of my wooden desk to run to the bookcases at the back of the classroom where Dr. Doolittle and Dr. Seuss awaited. I read and reread Cat in the Hat. I love Oh, the Places You’ll Go and happily read it to my grandkids.
After reviewing the stories and graphics in the titles no longer being published, it isn’t hard to equate the portrayal of non-whites depicted in these books to harmful stereotyping. Blacks, East-Asians, and Asians were all fair game. When he wrote these books, I don’t believe the author would have described himself as racist. It was a predominant cultural portrayal by white western minds where to be white was to be superior. Oh, the places we’ll go when we evolve from this blindness.
Cancel culture isn’t new, and it wasn’t created by leftist snowflakes. Many things were canceled in the home I grew up in with my Christian parents. This included TV, radio, jewelry, makeup, short hair for women, long hair for men, alcohol, sex before marriage, and many other ‘worldly’ things. It wasn’t just these things that were canceled. Anyone who didn’t cancel them was canceled.
The conservative Christians use Bible verses and God to justify their brand of cancel culture. The same Bible tells stories of wars, murder, slavery, crucifixions, and killing the firstborn of non-believers. The same Bible is used in Sunday School to teach children to gladly bear the cross of being persecuted for their beliefs so they can call it cancel culture instead of being held accountable for their nonsense.
I’m still guided by some of the positive teachings in the Bible that I learned as a child, but can we just cancel the books of the Bible that are used to justify hate in God’s name? For that, and acknowledging the children’s books that perpetuate racism you can call me a special kind of stupid. And, no, Dr. Seuss and the Bible aren’t about to be canceled.
Wilbur Turner, pronouns he/him, is a Kelowna-based writer and long-time advocate of the LGBTQ community. He is a former president of Kelowna Pride and Fierté Canada Pride and was instrumental in founding Etcetera, Kelowna’s peer support group for rainbow youth.