Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Biden CANCELS Dr. Seuss: President bucks predecessors and omits author from his Read Across America Day proclamation after Virginia school system's drops iconic children's books because of 'racial undertones'

 President Biden omitted Dr. Seuss from Read Across America Day - held annually on the children's author's birthday on March 2.

Biden made a proclamation on Monday, declaring Tuesday to be Read Across America Day, but he broke presidential tradition when he left out any mention of Dr. Seuss.

Both former President Barack Obama and former President Donald Trump both recognized Dr. Seuss' contributions several times in their proclamations each year. 

President Joe Biden did not mention Dr. Seuss during his proclamation for Read Across America day bucking a more than 20 year trend


Although the White House has not explained why Dr. Seuss was left out of this years proclamation, it is likely to be related to the recent call by progressives to cancel the legendary children's author. 

Seuss, whose real name is Theodor Geisel, had been the face of the annual Read Across America day for more than 20 years. 

On Sunday, Virginia's largest school district, Loudoun County Public Schools, reportedly removed Dr. Seuss from its Read Across America Day celebration, citing racial 'undertones' in his children's books. 

In his 2014 proclamation, President Obama stated: '[Dr Seuss'] tales challenge dictators and discrimination. They call us to open our minds, to take responsibility for ourselves and our planet.'

In 2015, Obama stated: 'The works of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to us as Dr. Seuss, have sparked a love for reading in generations of students. His whimsical wordplay and curious characters inspire children to dream big and remind readers of all ages that 'a person's a person no matter how small.'

The following year, Obama's 2016 proclaimed Seuss as 'one of America's revered wordsmiths' who 'used his incredible talent to instill in his most impressionable readers universal values we all hold dear.' 

Former first lady Melania Trump celebrated Read Across America Day in 2017 by reading Dr. Seuss books to hospitalized children. 

'Dr. Seuss has brought so much joy, laughter and enchantment into children's lives all around the globe for generations,' Melania said at the time.

'Through his captivating rhymes, Dr. Seuss has delighted and inspired children while teaching them to read, to dream, and to care.'

Trump, in his 2018 proclamation, urged Americans to 'always remember the still-vibrant words of Dr. Seuss: 'You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.'

Trump also referred to Dr. Seuss in his 2019 proclamation, but Biden's omission from his 2021 proclamation led to plenty of criticism online.

'Next to go will be nursery rhymes and the lullaby. Rock-a-bye baby may just become too tragic when the bough breaks as well as the London Bridge falling down and heaven forbid Ring around the Rosie and its song of plague. WHAT IS NEXT?!?,' wrote Amy on Twitter.

'We are so embarrassing as a country. Dr. Seuss taught us kindness and to look at the world around us. What should he apologize for? America isn’t going to take #cancelculture much longer. Because this is fascism, and our president didn’t stand against it.,' stated David La Torre.

'Heads are exploding on the Republican side because Biden didn't include Dr. Seuss in his proclamation for reading day. Wow,' tweeted Lady Ella.

'This is insane and has to stop. He should never have been president,' stated Smiley Ginger.

'Barack Obama liked green eggs and ham but Joe Biden is rejecting Sam I am,' said Robert Berman, cleverly using two of the author's books in his tweet.

'How did we get here?  What racial undertones? This country is exhausting!' posted one exasperated user. 

'Can't blame him... Dr. Seuss is above his reading level,' joked another. 

Meanwhile, in Virginia, the Loudon County schools are to shift the 'emphasis' of the annual day from Seuss and toward books more 'inclusive and diverse and reflective of our student community,' a spokesman said.   

A report has accused his children's stories of featuring 'orientalism, anti-blackness and white supremacy'. 

Loudoun schools spokesman Wayde B. Byard, said recent research had revealed 'strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,' The Washington Post reported.     

'Given this research, and LCPS' focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction, LCPS has provided guidance to schools in the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss' birthday exclusively,' Byard said.   


Byard insisted that the books had not been banned outright - and that students could still access Seuss in the district's libraries and classrooms, but that the March 2 event would not 'simply celebrate Dr. Seuss.'  

His comments come following a 2019 report called 'The Cat is Out of the Bag: Orientalism, Anti-Blackness, and White Supremacy in Dr. Seuss's Children's Books'.

Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump have all mentioned Seuss in conjunction with the day designed to encourage school children to read more. Obama is pictured in April 2010

Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump have all mentioned Seuss in conjunction with the day designed to encourage school children to read more. Obama is pictured in April 2010

Former First Lady Michelle Obama greets elementary school students alongside Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat during Read Across America Day in March 2017

Former First Lady Michelle Obama greets elementary school students alongside Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat during Read Across America Day in March 2017

Former first lady Melania Trump celebrated Read Across America Day in 2017 by reading Dr. Seuss books to hospitalized children

Former first lady Melania Trump celebrated Read Across America Day in 2017 by reading Dr. Seuss books to hospitalized children

Melania Trump and her husband appeared to be big fans of the Dr. Seuss's work

Melania Trump and her husband appeared to be big fans of the Dr. Seuss's work 

Oh the places you'll go: Melania Trump reads Dr Seuss in March
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President Joe Biden's omission of Dr. Seuss from his Read Across America Day proclamation led to a outburst of criticism of the decision on social media

President Joe Biden's omission of Dr. Seuss from his Read Across America Day proclamation led to a outburst of criticism of the decision on social media

A Virginia school system has accused Dr. Seuss books of 'strong racial undertones' following a report which accused author Theodor Geisel, pictured, of 'orientalism, anti-blackness and white supremacy'

A Virginia school system has accused Dr. Seuss books of 'strong racial undertones' following a report which accused author Theodor Geisel, pictured, of 'orientalism, anti-blackness and white supremacy'

American author and illustrator Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904 - 1991) sits at his drafting table in his home office with a copy of his book, 'The Cat in the Hat', La Jolla, California, April 25, 1957

American author and illustrator Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904 - 1991) sits at his drafting table in his home office with a copy of his book, 'The Cat in the Hat', La Jolla, California, April 25, 1957

A 2019 report called 'The Cat is Out of the Bag: Orientalism, Anti-Blackness, and White Supremacy in Dr. Seuss's Children's Books'.

That report states: 'White supremacy is seen through the centering of Whiteness and White characters, who comprise 98% (2,195 characters) of all characters. 

'Notably, every character of color is male. Males of color are only presented in subservient, exotified, or dehumanized roles. This also remains true in their relation to White characters. 

'Most startling is the complete invisibility and absence of women and girls of color across Seuss' entire children's book collection. 

'In addition, some of Dr. Seuss' most iconic books feature animal or non-human characters that transmit Orientalist, anti-Black, and White supremacist messaging through allegories and symbolism.'

Read Across America Day had traditionally featured on Seuss books including classics like The Cat In The Hat and The Grinch. 

Read Across America Day had traditionally focused on Seuss books, including The Grinch

Read Across America Day had traditionally focused on Seuss books, including The Grinch

But since 2017 the focus has shifted to 'Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers'. Learning for Justice is behind the calls to cancel Dr Seuss, Fox News reports

But since 2017 the focus has shifted to 'Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers'. Learning for Justice is behind the calls to cancel Dr Seuss, Fox News reports

But since 2017 the National Education Association has shifted its focus nationally to 'Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers'. 

Learning for Justice is behind the recent calls to cancel Dr Seuss, Fox News reports.  

Author Geisel has already come under fire for using 'stereotypical Orientalist tropes', according to a report by researchers Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens.

That found 'of the 2,240 (identified) human characters, there are forty-five characters of color representing 2% of the total number of human characters'.

A total of 43 of 'exhibited behaviors and appearances that align with harmful and stereotypical Orientalist tropes', they said. 

The Loudoun County Public Schools administration building in Ashburn, VA

The Loudoun County Public Schools administration building in Ashburn, VA

Other cultural icons have recently targeted for 'modern' refreshes: On Friday it was reported that Mr. Potato Head had gone gender neutral as toy maker Hasbro announced it is changing the branding of the 70-year-old figure because it needs to break free from gender norms.

The change - which will drop the 'Mr.' from Mr. Potato Head brand - sparked debate on social media, with many saying toy company Hasbro has bent to 'woke' culture by changing a cultural icon that's been on toy shelves since 1952.

Loudoun schools spokesman Wayde B. Byard confirmed to The Washington Post that they have 'shifted the emphasis' of March 2 Read Across America day to not only celebrate the much loved children's stories 'exclusively'

Loudoun schools spokesman Wayde B. Byard confirmed to The Washington Post that they have 'shifted the emphasis' of March 2 Read Across America day to not only celebrate the much loved children's stories 'exclusively'

But Rhode Island-based Hasbro, which revealed the change in a presentation to investors Thursday, said the gender-neutral name comes as societal roles are changing - with more single-parent households and same-sex parents coming into the picture. 

As for Seuss, it's not the first time the late Geisel has found himself in the cultural crosshairs.

In 2019 DailyMail.com reported how Geisel portrayed black people as if they were slaves being sold off at a white-owned department store.

He used the word 'n*****' to refer to African Americans and described women as 'insignificant and helpless', book Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination claimed. 

Decades later when Geisel was called out on these cartoons he said it was 'just the way things were 50 years ago' and claimed that feminists wanted to 'clean up everything'. 

In 2017 Cambridgeport Elementary School librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro rejected a gift of several Dr Seuss books from Melania Trump, saying their whimsical illustrations were 'steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes'. 

The White House had announced that one school in each state would receive a selection of Seuss' books chosen by Melania, including 'Green Eggs and Ham' and 'The Cat in the Hat'.

In 2019 DailyMail.com reported how Geisel portrayed black people as if they were slaves being sold off at a white-owned department store

In 2019 DailyMail.com reported how Geisel portrayed black people as if they were slaves being sold off at a white-owned department store

But Soeiro turned down the collection of almost a dozen books, saying in the open letter her school was award-winning and well-funded.

She continued: 'You may not be aware of this, but Dr Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children's literature.'

She added: 'Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr Seuss's illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes. 

'Open one of his books (If I Ran a Zoo or And to Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street, for example), and you'll see the racist mockery in his art.'

Neither of those books were included in Melania's selection.

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