You can’t make this stuff up. First Lady Melania Trump gifted schools in all 50 states a set of Dr. Seuss books for students, in honor of National Read a Book Day. However, Liz Phipps Soeiro, a librarian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, did not accept the gesture. Her reason? Dr. Seuss books are nothing but “racist propaganda.” Never mind, the same librarian never had a problem with Michelle Obama reading the same books to children – in the White House.
On a blog called The Horn Book, Soeiro shunned the White House for sending her school books, rather than sending them to more underprivileged communities. That, it would seem, would have been reason enough to be the only state in the country to thumb their nose at the First Lady. But no, Ms. Soeiro went further.
“Another fact is that many people are unaware of [forgive the librarian’s poor grammar] is that Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes,” Soeiro wrote, giving examples of “If I Ran a Zoo” and “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” as clear “racist mockery” in Seuss’s art.
Mrs. Trump’s director of communications, Stephanie Grisham, responded to the “unfortunate” situation, noting that the First Lady is not one bit deterred.
“She has demonstrated this in both actions and words since her husband took office, and sending books to children across the country is but one example,” she said. “To turn the gesture of sending young students some books into something divisive is unfortunate, but the First Lady remains committed to her efforts on behalf of children everywhere.”
As Fox News noted, former First Ladies like Michelle Obama also read Dr. Seuss classics to children – even right in the White House. Was the author a bigot then?
Soeiro said she was “honored” Mrs. Trump thought of her school, but was dismayed how little the First Lady knew about the racist roots of the literature and proceeded to offer her a list of reading materials to better educate herself.
As for me, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. Until now, I was blaming myself. It turns out it was my mom’s fault. She read me Dr. Seuss books every day when I was a child.
Ms. Seoiro has a right to her opinion, of course. And if she sees racism in the works of Dr. Seuss – racism that apparently only exists when Republican First Ladies are the readers – that’s her privilege. And she has a right to be the only one, among 50 librarians across the land, keen enough to catch the evils of Dr. Seuss. And she has a right to protect her children from such “racist propaganda.”
But it would seem that a simple “No thank you” would have sufficed.