From 1997 through 2018, the National Education Association (NEA) and Dr. Seuss Enterprises partnered to create Dr. Suess Day. This annual celebration on March 2 honors the birthday of author Theodor Geisel, the “Doctor” whose stories are well known and loved by many generations. It has become evident that a selection of his work holds racial connotations that cannot be ignored. Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced today that six titles in the author’s collection of work will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery. The NEA’s contract with Dr. Seuss Enterprises ended in 2018. Since then, the NEA has been marketing March 2 to be better known as Read Across America Day as a strategic attempt to focus on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources that are about everyone, for everyone.
This shift is not about Cancel Culture. Read Across America began as a project to instill a love of reading in young learners, but has been recognized as excluding whole sectors of student populations. This is more of an evolution of society. Learning something new or “re-educating and reorienting our consciousness” takes courage, acceptance and adaptability. Cultural Diversity is becoming a steadfast goal in organizations. Rather than use nostalgia as a defense for acceptance, it is time to use history as an educational platform for positive and effective change.
I sensed the lack of Seussical fanfare today after I shared a social media memory from 2015. A friend replied with this article that President Biden was “Erasing Dr. Seuss,” which caught me in a rabbit hole of internet research on this subject. Despite the cute red and white stripes, the Cat in the Hat injects racial innuendos of the Black Face Ministrels. The first lady of the last presidential administration was called out by a school librarian for her gift of Geisels in 2017. Said librarian offered a list of diverse books for students to read instead. Was the Cat in the Hat Black is part of that list and a must read for all those seeking to be “woke.” Deconstructing racism is just like peeling back the layers of an onion.
As we step towards the path of Peeling Back the Layers, I invite you to show up for yourself, so that you have capacity to show up for others. Can we call that a smooth transition? <(wink)> Mark your calendars for 11am this Saturday, March 6. Yoga with Elizabeth Moses will likely get you centered and ready to continue on the righteous journey of enlightenment. This class will be presented on Facebook Live and will be accessible at your convenience.
While change and pivoting can become exhausting, we are aware of the global Mental Health crises during this pandemic. Mindful exercise like Yoga is a great step toward self-care. Keep an eye on the Southeast Steuben county Library’s calendar of activities as new Mental Health Awareness programs will Pop-up in the near future. “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ― Rumi
That’s a wrap for this stationary moment. I’ll check you on the flip side!