Theodore Geisel has just made the news
For words that he rhymed in inappropriate cues.
The Left said “It’s cute, but too racist and rude —
We can’t expose our kids to the slightly-so-crude.”
Archaic his pictures, picturing gender and bias.
(Those Leftist Elites are so puffingly pious.)
They took on colonialism, and then the imperialists.
(It’s just kiddy lit, don’t take this so serious.)
“We love Dr. Seuss, you can’t cancel his culture,”
Screamed the Right at the Left, “Don’t act like a vulture.”
“Don’t act like you know. Don’t scribble and scrawl.”
(Like education helps in a world that’s this small?)
Who cares if he rhymed “wearing … eyes at a slant.”
That’s not so offensive, if you’re white and you can’t
Walk a mile in their shoes, see your face in their eyes.
Know the pain that he bears, see her child when she cries.
Yeah, the Right is indignant, of the “politically correct.”
But would you be offended if I noticed your red neck?
So maybe words matter, even cute little rhymes,
Even thoughtless expressions we use all the time,
Because our children learn from the images that swarm
In their pre-frontal cortices and help them to form
Basic ideas of people, of values, and rights,
Of what makes us moral, of what’s worth the fight.
So, let us stand firm — also be willing to turn —
Because the good that is real is so hard to discern,
And sometimes it means letting go of the past,
The stories we loved, even “truths” that were cast.
We need that dear poet, who lent us so much
With rhythmic rhyming, a rhymer’s deft touch,
And we need his wise kinfolk, it’s not over-reach,
They cancelled six books. Yes, Seuss continues to teach!
Russ Dean serves as co-pastor of Park Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C. He holds degrees from Furman University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Beeson Divinity School. He and his wife, Amy, have been co-pastors of Park Road since 2000. They are parents of two sons. Russ is active in social justice ministries and interfaith dialogue. He is author of the new book Finding A New Way.