David Ball: Racism and Dr. Seuss

Published: 4/23/2021 12:36:05 PM We can feel the pain in the guest column by Jennifer Page, Joy Ohm, Megan Paik and Mia Kim Sulliva...

Published: 4/23/2021 12:36:05 PM

We can feel the pain in the guest column by Jennifer Page, Joy Ohm, Megan Paik and Mia Kim Sullivan (‘So much more than any caricature,’ April 17) criticizing my recent letter to the paper. Using an image the authors found “strangely intimate,” my letter said the writer of a Gazette op-ed was obviously not a racist, yet he read Dr. Seuss as a child.

No one became a racist by reading Dr. Seuss, but four years of listening to a virulently racist president “woke up sleeping demons in many Americans” and “anti-Asian hatred was one of them.”

I was wrong about that: the authors of the guest column show the demons were never asleep. Trump simply raised more of their legions and made them bolder. But the authors assume that Dr. Seuss and “similar images” in the culture are the cause. There are other deep reasons for racism. In fact, the authors suggest one in passing: racism is often transmitted by parents.

Like most American children, I read Dr. Seuss as a child. I never thought a real cat wore a big striped hat on its head and a bow-tie on its neck, or that a real brass band looked like the weird band in “To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” or that the caricatures of Chinese people in the same book looked like real people, much less that they were “interchangeable,” as the authors say the image tells us. I doubt you could find any child who did.

David Ball


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Newsrust - US Top News: David Ball: Racism and Dr. Seuss
David Ball: Racism and Dr. Seuss
Newsrust - US Top News
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