WTVM Editorial 3-12-21: Don’t cancel Dr. Seuss
(WTVM) - It takes a uniquely talented author to create not one, but two of the best-selling children’s books of all time and to write both those books in one year.
That’s what Dr. Seuss did in 1957 when he wrote “The Cat in the Hat” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Both were instant classics.
“The Cat in the Hat” was about two bored children challenged to have fun by a mischievous cat.
Dr. Seuss said he wrote it to create a love for reading in children, and the book was wildly successful.
But now several of Dr. Seuss’s other books are considered racist, mostly for his illustrations of Asians and Africans.
That means Dr. Seuss is the latest target of cancel culture, and that’s a shame.
Instead of understanding that Dr. Seuss was a person of his time, born in 1904, he is now being dismissed for work he did more than half a century ago.
But readers of Dr. Seuss know his clever books never talked down to children. He created vivid word pictures that sparked the imagination in generations of children.
That was his gift and it’s still valuable today, because learning to read – and loving to read – is essential for success in life.
Many of Dr. Seuss’ books taught solid moral lessons. For example, characters he created called “Sneetches” taught that bigotry is bad.
Even the Grinch who Stole Christmas gave it back in the end, teaching that it’s not presents that make people happy. Love makes people happy.
If some of Dr. Seuss’s old illustrations are stereotypical or offensive, those ought to be changed.
But when it comes to cancel culture, there never seems to be any room for nuance, no room to discuss an issue and put it into context. Cancel culture is designed to be brutal and final.
Because Dr. Seuss succeeded in accomplishing his life’s mission, to get kids to love reading, he should be celebrated. Dr. Seuss doesn’t deserve to be cancelled.
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