Fox News host Tucker Carlson addresses the canceling of Dr. Seuss on the March 2 “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” (Photo credit: Fox News)
“Canceling Dr. Seuss isn’t stupid; it’s intentional,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Tuesday night. “They’re banning Dr. Seuss not because he was a racist, but precisely because he wasn’t.”
Some schools decided not to recognize Dr. Seuss on Read Across America Day Tuesday, which is also Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which publishes the author’s books, announced that it would cease to print six of the author’s titles because of allegedly racist imagery.
According to Carlson, “The Sneetches,” a book published by Dr. Seuss but not one of those six, displayed the opposite of racism: “The story is a plea for colorblindness. And that’s why the forces of wokeness hate it and Dr. Seuss.”
Below is a full transcript of this portion of “Tucker Carlson Tonight”:
Tucker Carlson: What’s surprising is how calculated all this is. Now, conservatives will be tempted to chalk the attacks on Dr. Seuss to the usual “cancel culture gone mad”: “Look how hysterical and stupid the professional left is. They are even calling Dr. Seuss racist!” And you’ve seen people say that on social media today, but it’s totally missing the point. Canceling Dr. Seuss isn’t stupid; it’s intentional. They’re banning Dr. Seuss not because he was a racist, but precisely because he wasn’t.
In 1961, Dr. Seuss wrote a story called “The Sneetches.” Martin Luther King’s march on Washington was still two years away, but Dr. Seuss’ story captured it’s essence. In case you haven’t already read it to your kids 50 times and know it by heart, here’s the plot: There’s a group of furry pear-shaped animals called sneetches who live on what looks like a far-away planet. Now if that sounds weird to you, be aware that Dr. Seuss rarely drew people probably because he didn’t want to elevate one kind of person over any other kind of person. He wasn’t a racist. In any case, there are two groups of sneetches in this story, those with star-shaped designs on their stomachs and those without. There’s no real difference between the two groups, but the sneetches don’t know that. They’re convinced that stars are all-important, so they spend the entire story jockeying for position based on the relative “starness.” At various points in the story, stars on the stomach are deemed socially favorable; at others they are considered a mark of disgrace. And the sneetches run around frantically trying to keep up with the changing demands of star fashion until they realize in the uplifting final pages of the story that none of it matters. Underneath the stars, they are all the same — they’re all sneetches. Who cares who’s got a star? What matters isn’t the group you come from. What matters is you. Even a five-year-old gets the point of the story. At the deepest level, it doesn’t matter what we look like because underneath it all, we are all the same. We are all human beings. We’re in this together. All that outward appearance stuff is pointless. It just makes people hate each other and it makes us look ridiculous.
If there is a more powerful statement on the universal brotherhood of man, it’s probably not in the children’s section of the bookstore. For 60 years, American children have read “The Sneetches” and books like it. And that’s one of the reasons we have the country we have today, in which most Americans — those who don’t work at the universities or for the Joe Biden administration — accept Martin Luther King’s most famous precept that what matters is the content of our characters, not the color of our skins. The sneetches affirm this. The story is a plea for colorblindness. And that’s why the forces of wokeness hate it and Dr. Seuss.
When the people in charge cancel Dr. Seuss, what they’re really trying to eliminate is a very specific kind of mid-century American culture, a culture that championed meritocracy and colorblindness and the superiority of individual achievement over tribal identity. These were once called liberal values. Modern liberals don’t want to be reminded that they once believed any of this. If your kids are allowed to read Dr. Seuss, they will know this was a different country not so long ago, a place where people tried hard not to hate each other, a place where the population was encouraged, begged by its leaders to reject identity politics in favor of universal values and the things that connect us all. Dr. Seuss was never a major literary figure, but his memory matters more than it ever has. The battle over Dr. Seuss, what he stood for, the battle over what it means to be racist, will have consequences that extend for generations. And if we lose that battle, America is lost.