“I'm afraid that sometimes you'll play lonely games too. Games you can't win 'cause you'll play against you.”
― Dr. Seuss
The American Library Association has a handy list of books that have been challenged or banned. Only 10% of those that have been challenged have been banned. If you read through it you will start to notice that the banning has mostly come from the right, not the left. Mostly it’s ongoing objections to books that feature homosexuality. That was a real threat for the religious right who held power in this country to censor. That’s why Obama did not back gay marriage before he was elected in 2008.
If you look at the ALA’s list you’ll see Alice Walker’s The Color Purple on the list, the reason being “homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit” - on the same list and the same year, right above it: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain and one reason given: “racism.”
In 2001 Of Mice and Men was challenged for “offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group, violence.” Recently, the Burbank School District took this book, along with some others, out of the classrooms for the same reason. But now, it’s being defended by the Left, not defended as a great work of literature regardless. The Catcher in the Rye was on the list that same year as was Maya Angeliou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
This meant that there were parents and community members actively working to remove these books from libraries as “offensive.” Here is how it broke down from 2000-2009:
1,577 challenges due to "sexually explicit" material
1,291 challenges due to "offensive language"
989 challenges due to materials deemed "unsuited to age group"
619 challenged due to "violence"'
361 challenges due to "homosexuality"
1,639 of these challenges were in school libraries; 1,811 were in classrooms; 1,217 took place in public libraries. There were 114 challenges to materials used in college classes, and 30 to academic libraries. There are isolated cases of challenges to library materials made available in or by prisons, special libraries, community groups, and students.
The vast majority of challenges were initiated by parents (2,535), with patrons and administrators to follow (516 and 489 respectively).
From 1990-1999 the list of most challenged books includes I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, The Chocolate War, Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men, Heather has Two Mommies, A Wrinkle in Time, Madonna’s Sex and on and on it goes. They almost always lead back to sex but many of them are books aimed at young adults.
For as long as I’ve been an adult my side of the aisle defended Mark Twain’s book, which has offensive language in it, like so many other films and books do. It was defended because it was a great book that spoke to our past, brilliantly and vividly written by Mark Twain.
Our definition of something offensive enough to justify censoring art was something overtly racist like Birth of a Nation. The idea that I was raised with was: art might be offensive to some but that is no reason to ban it or prevent it from people who might want to read it. The idea being, people should be able to judge for themselves what they want to read or watch or listen to and no one has the right to decide that for them. It was the fervent Christians and conservatives who wanted to police what people could and could not see.
While the banning and challenges came from only one side, mostly, for decades, now it’s clear that it’s coming from both sides. The Christian conservatives and born again woke.
But here’s the thing: the Left controls the major institutions of power in this country - education, the arts, big tech, politics. If Jeff Bezos controls Amazon and Jeff Bezos is now officially a religious zealot and that means Jeff Bezos can do whatever he wants with books the Born Again Woke doesn’t like.
They’re mostly rich, they’re mostly white and they’re fervently born again. They’re the rich white woke and they’re coming for the books. They’re coming for the movies. They’re here to bow to every complaint on Twitter, every letter by some well-meaning white teenager trying to relieve the guilt she feels for being born white.
They’re Ebay banning the sale of Dr. Seuss. They’re Amazon dumping Parler and banning books that look objectively at the sudden rise in transgender teens. They’re Facebook and they’re banning Trump. They’re Twitter and they’re policing tweets, banning users and dumping anyone who dares to use two words together, “voter fraud.” This is what happens when you combine religious zealotry with power.
Dr. Seuss meant no harm in his now offensive drawings. He believed he was being inclusive, as anyone who knows the canon of his work understands. America is 60% white now. Back in 1937 when And To Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street was written, America was roughly 90% white, about 10% black, and roughly .2% Asian. Dr. Seuss was writing mostly for white audiences. There can be no doubt about that since it was written before segregation. This is how Wikipedia describes what happened to that book:
Dr. Seuss Enterprises pulled Mulberry Street from publication in March 2021 along with five other works by Seuss citing racist imagery. While Dr. Seuss Enterprises did not specify which illustrations were offensive, the National Post cited an instance where Mulberry Street depicts a "Chinese man". This particular character has lines for eyes, wears a pointed hat, and carries chopsticks and a bowl of rice. The original publication referred to a "Chinaman" who also had a pigtail, and yellow coloring for the character's skin. These latter features were removed by Seuss in the 1970s when the character's name was changed to "a Chinese man.”
Because his books have been around a long time, they were able to alter them in 1970. It seems like that could have been an option here. Dr. Seuss was dropped from the NEA’s Read Across America back in 2018, even though in the Obama administration - you know, the nation’s first Black family? Seuss was celebrated because they were not and are not religious zealots.
The Seuss foundation said:
"Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles," it said.
I imagine this is to get the books back on the NEA’s Read Across America program. To me, omitting him and his books is an unforgivable crime against literature. To accuse him of hate speech is simply stupidity. To prattle on about how intent doesn’t matter, as so many born again white woke people do, is simply a way to justify that stupidity.
It is none of my business how the Seuss foundation wants to preserve the authors legacy, or how they want to run their business going forward. If people are offended by those books - and they can’t just, you know, not buy them or read them to their kids and can only be satisfied if they are OBLITERATED from the planet who am I to say? What about Breakfast at Tiffany’s? What about Tarantino movies?
It looks like only Trader Joe’s will be able to say ten or twenty years from now that they stood their ground and politely declined the accusation that their labels were racist. I think of that poor 17 year-old white girl in San Francisco who proudly proclaimed her family would never shop there again and how heroic that must have made her feel, how much she loved putting that on her instagram to show what a good ally she was.
Throughout the summer of 2020 the born again white woke interrogated their families to make them admit that they were colonizers and had baked-in systemic racism and they could only find salvation if they admitted it, begged for forgiveness and did everything they could everyday to prove they were in the fight against their own whiteness. Silence was violence. My own niece could not stop spamming my DM on Instagram pleading with me to understand my own racism so as not to have to admit that she was white girl. They point fingers at others because then they are not the ones being accused.
Witches, witches everywhere.
The rich, white, woke took down Parler. You know Bezos was so into that. See how woke Bezos is? See how woke Ebay is? See how woke Dorsey is? And AT&T and Coke and Gap and Disney! They’re the richest, the whitest and the wokest on the planet and they want you to know that. They also know what happens if they get called out on Twitter - their brand is tarnished and they will lose power.
The power is evident in the case of the employee who was fired for wearing a Black Lives matter mask at Taco Bell. He wore the mask rather than the ones provided by the company and refused to take it off. They said they don’t bring politics into the building and he stood firm. Taco Bell apologized and vowed to do due diligence to rectify the error. But if you wore a Trump hat, say, or anything that spoke of your politics as a white person you would not only be fired but the company’s brand would be enhanced by the action. They do what they think profits them the most.’
But what about government? The Democrats now full own “Cancel Culture.” Hillary Clinton has declared it thus:
There is no way any of the drones on Twitter would challenge Hillary but in fact deciding to call French fries “freedom fries” is not an example of cancel culture. If McDonald’s banned fries, which they’d do if the born again woke asked them to, that would be an example of cancel culture. If they banned books that used the term “French fries” that would be an example of cancel culture. But a group of people deciding not to call them French fries? That’s a clickbait news story and Hillary Clinton should know better.
It isn’t easy to stand up to the status quo when you want to belong, as she always has. That is why so many on Twitter dutifully defend stupid decisions at the hands of the born again woke. They have no other choice. Just like the Black List and the House of Un-American Activities Committees they too have no choice. You just need people to be afraid enough and they’ll go along with anything.
The truth is that the rich, white born again Woke use people of color as shields to make themselves look better - just look at your average’s popular instagram beauty. She can’t just display herself and her body day in and day out - she also has to signal to her followers that she is a true believer, which she will do with a Black Lives Matter square and when that is shamed on social media as performative, she’ll go deeper and maybe volunteer at an “environmental racism” meetup. Then put that on Instagram. That should do the trick. She is shielded from being called a Karen. Or worse, being shunned completely.
The Biden administration is 100% on board, because the Democrats now own it. He has no other choice. He has to write every policy to prioritize people by skin color and always make sure he says out loud that white people go to the back of the line.
But Biden’s religious fervor, and the fervor of the born again Woke isn’t really selling very well among the poor and working class no matter their skin color. Biden and the Democrats mistakenly believe that the whole country is with them with their zealotry. They aren’t. Trump gained with Black and Hispanic voters and lost with white voters. This article lays it out pretty well.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see who is really benefitting from the wave of mass hysteria and cancel culture. It ain’t the poor and working class. It’s the people at the top. The Democrats are now in bed with the tech oligarchs doing their bidding and something will have to give with the underclass. They can only take so much. This is French Revolution stuff. This is a “let them eat cake” moment. This is a clear cut divide between the aristocracy and the common people which is as old as civilization itself.
Imagine what we’re doing to elementary kids right now in this country — sanctioned and applauded and encouraged by the Biden administration — we are teaching young white kids to be ashamed of having been born with white privilege. At the same time, teaching kids who aren’t white that no matter what they do, no matter how hard they work or what they have achieved they will never succeed in this country because this country only rewards whiteness. It’s baked into the system and there is nothing you can do about it. They will be teaching generations to BE racist by being antiracist. They have no choice but to divide and conquer.
The Left believes they are good and pure and righteous and absolutely fixing the problems in this world with mass hysteria and cancel culture, thinking they are on the righteous side. But what are we silently allowing to go on? Genocide in China maybe? Pigs put in gestational crates in warehouses so toxic humans have to wear gas masks just to walk into them?
Where religious zealotry goes, so does hypocrisy.
We can talk about Oreo cookie on Twitter crowing about trans rights while they contribute to deforestation. Apple can remove Parler and broadcast how woke they are while getting away with all manner of pollution with their products and who knows what else. It doesn’t matter. They don’t really care about you. They care about themselves. They will sell anyone down the river to hold onto power.
My generation, Generation X, we were wary of corporations trying to buy our brand loyalty. Millennials were branded from birth. Out were original toys. In were branded toys. Franchises. My Little Pony, Teletubbies. It didn’t mean anything if it wasn’t tied to a brand. Now that they’re all grown up they are still being sold brands only now those brands have to go full woke in order to earn their loyalty. Taco Bell has a Black Lives Matter mission statement and if they didn’t they would be called out and boycotted. The younger generations seem okay with this because they too have an image to protect on social media. How easy to show who they are and what they care about by holding a bottle of Coke? Eating at Taco Bell. Using an iPhone. They have to be associated with a woke brand.
How long will Gen-Z fall for the scam? How long will people of color tolerate being used as shields for the good image of the very rich, the very white and the very woke? When will they get it that this is not about changing the world but about holding onto power?
The only thing that seems certain is that the Democrats have bought it and now they own it. It’s up to the Republicans now to stop it. If they can.