HHBMedia | Nightly Rant: Dr. Seuss a racist?
My mother sends me the most off-the-wall articles to read, usually followed with intense opinions and commentary. I'm talking stuff along the lines of "Don't let your kid drink tap water because another parent did in Timbuktu and now her kid has tape worms.” And don't let the little fella resemble Jace Michael (my son) in the least bit; she'll really be stressed.
But the article she shared with me this past Friday really tripped me out. The headline read Racist Dr. Seuss drawing up for auction. Call me naive or ignorant to previous reports, but never would I ever have thought that "racist" and "Dr. Seuss" would appear in the same sentence. My heart was bruised just a little.
Dr. Seuss is a childhood staple of mine, and now, my son's. We're members of a book club where we receive monthly selections of Dr. Seuss books - everything from Green Eggs and Ham to The Bernstein Bears series. My deep-rooted affection for him no longer mattered in that moment, however. With everything going on in the world today, I can’t bring myself to support anyone who's a known "racist.” No matter who you / they are…
Apparently, Dr. Seuss has a drawing that he created at the age of 25 up for auction. It's an offensive cartoon portraying blacks as slaves with blackface and over-exaggerated bright, red lips. Per usual, the illustration was complimented with racial slurs.
I'm now going to say something that will probably throw you for a loop.
After reading the article and gathering all the info I could about it on the web, I was left unbothered. Like...
You read that correctly.
Dr. Seuss created this cartoon at the age of 25, 8 years before he started publishing children's books. Yes, the cartoon is extremely offensive. I would never negate that fact. And if it, or anything else relative, were created in the latter part of Dr. Seuss' career I'd have a whole lot more to say.
People do dumb stuff when they think no one is watching. That shouldn't be a surprise with the direction social media is going.
Tangent - I've been a member of Twitter since 2009, and I'm sure if you were to dig through all 50,000+ of my tweets, you'd find some pretty offensive stuff.
I'm just being honest.
It sucks to have found that the beloved Dr. Seuss had a racist bone in his body, but is it too hard to believe that he may have created that crap in a dark and immature time in his life? And since he's not here to defend his self, I refuse to be the one to point fingers when I KNOW I've said, or tweeted, some pretty crappy things in my younger years.
It would suck to be crucified for the stupid actions of my past, especially since I'm not that person anymore.
I'm not making excuses for Dr. Seuss. I think what he did was disgusting. After learning about this and other racially offensive drawings from his past (that he may, or may not have apologized for) I choose not to purchase another book by Dr. Seuss, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to burn every childhood literature memory of my son's because the author may have been a prick at the tender age of 25.
I'll do my part by not financially supporting the foolishness, but I also don't think it's fair to tear down his legacy when he's not here to defend his self.
And if you ask me, removing his books from public libraries and banning them in schools is a bit extreme and only does a disservice to the children. Whether you like it or not, Dr. Seuss has made a positive imprint on childhood literature – but I digress.
I don't know all the facts, and I'm not about to jump on the "burn in hell Dr. Seuss" bandwagon just yet...
*** This piece was published on HHBMedia.com in June 2015