3.3.2017 Yesterday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Yes, he is an iconic children’s book writer, and yes, he was a racist in his time. I really admire the letter these children’s parents wrote to their kids’ teacher/principal. I strongly believe the educational system is a platform and safe arena where we can share different truths within our academia and learn about historical injustices or racism issues. This is the one place where kids should be able to learn about and discuss their thoughts as well as express their opinions on these topics without igniting violence or inciting hatred.
In my children’s novel, Please Love Umma, Jenna’s father, Abba, makes a comment about Korean-Americans driving Japanese cars and watching TV on Japanese televisions. This is a direct result of what his ancestors endured during the Japanese annexation of Korea. At the same time, Abba is aware that he must teach Jenna that she should never carry hatred in her heart nor should she stop having friendships with any Japanese people.
Discussions on historical truths of people and any relevant topics should never be excluded from our pedagogy. Students should be able to explicate literature while examining the implications of those literary works.
Kudos to these kids and their parents!