A national educators organization is telling schools to avoid reading Dr. Seuss because the children’s books allegedly have “racial undertones.”
For more than 20 years, March 2 has been recognized as Read Across America Day in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. The reading recognition day was founded by the National Education Association — the nation’s largest labor union — in 1998. This year’s theme is “Create and Celebrate Diversity.”
Learning for Justice — a left-wing educators group — is demanding that Dr. Seuss be canceled. A prominent Virginia school district has taken marching orders and ordered its schools to avoid “connecting Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss.”
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. Seuss’s children’s books contain “racial undertones” that are not suitable for “culturally responsive” learning.
“Realizing that many schools continue to celebrate ‘Read Across America Day’ in partial recognition of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, it is important for us to be cognizant of research that may challenge our practice in this regard,” the announcement reads. “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.”
Learning for Justice was formerly known as “Teaching Tolerance,” which has promoted radical views on teaching “social justice” and “racial justice” to students as young as five-years-old. Learning for Justice is the education arm of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
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.”
Learning for Justice alleges that many of the non-white characters in Dr. Seuss’s books were men and were “subservient” to the white characters in his book.
“It’s also important to note that each of the non-white characters is male and that they are all ‘presented in subservient, exotified, or dehumanized roles,’ especially in relation to white characters,” the organization wrote.
According to a slew of biographers, scholars, and historians, much of the “racist” portion of Dr. Seuss’s work was done before his famous books. His “problematic” cartoons came during his career as a cartoonist and ad man.
Learning for Justice claims that anyone who defends Dr. Seuss’s problematic work is a racial “apologist” and is making excuses for why “bigotry doesn’t matter.”
The education group also tells teachers to directly discuss Dr. Seuss’s “racist” past with older students, though “older students” remains an undefined category. Teachers were asked to explain to students how racism shows up in places and people they may least expect.
“You can address these arguments directly, discussing the degree to which cultural norms excuse biased language or actions, how harmful stereotypical representation can be and whether — and how — a person can make up for hurtful mistakes.”