In a 2016 TED Talk, Rae Lynn Schwartz-DuPre, a communications professor at Western Washington University, argued that Curious George “provides a benevolent means for children to learn modern colonialism.” Rae Lynn said that she was “horrified by the depictions of slavery and the growing popularity of this icon” as she started to share the George books with her young daughters and thought she had to do something about it.
So Rae Lynn went to war against George books and started alerting the world about why they’re horrible for children. She came up with specific reasons and then laid them out. Buckle up, you’re in for a wild ride.
“I touch on three of the many reincarnations of George: his literature as a tool to teach a digestible narrative of slavery; his promotion of STEM education as a push towards curiosity that ought to be cautioned to remember the ways curiosity was used as a scientific justification for slavery; and his Holocaust remembrance discourses as a means to justify why Curious George might avoid criticism. When read together, Curious George medias can help explain how modes of modern colonialism can be taught to children,” Ms. Schwartz-DuPre says about her TED Talk.
Today, on “Read Across America Day,” we learned that the cancellation of Dr. Seuss is underway and that six books from the series will no longer be published after they were deemed offensive.
Buried within the Associated Press report on the Seuss news is a reference to critics who’ve said “Curious George” books are horrible because they are based on “a white man bringing home a monkey from Africa.”
I hate it here pic.twitter.com/043auas3On
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) March 2, 2021
“For the first time, I noticed the cover. Two plump white policemen escorting a short, brown monkey,” Professor Schwartz-DuPre said about her initial plunge into reading the books to her daughters.
Ms. Schwartz-DuPre then goes into how pop culture has turned George into a learning tool hero of the STEM community, which leads to her theory that George’s curiosity is “housed in his monkeyness, in his primate-being,” she argues.
“Science, curiosity and monkeyness is also what led to slavery. The idea that white men were curious about other places and other species is what led them to explore Africa. And when they did, they determined because of the skin and the body type of those who they found there were different and dark they must’ve been primates and then justified their imprisonment and ultimate slavery.”
What does it all mean? Don’t be shocked when Curious George is the next book series to be cancelled. Don’t be shocked when the wokes go after PBS, which has given George his own website, and which would cave in a second under a barrage of pressure.
Academia has been after Curious George for over a decade, but the timing wasn’t right. Now we’re living in a world where Mr. Potato Head was cancelled by Hasbro’s Diversity and Inclusion department before the company went into damage control mode.
Stock up on George books before the woke machine drops the hammer. We warned you.
“So what do you do with your George books?” Schwartz-DuPre asks her TED Talk audience. “While I don’t suggest you ban them, nor do I suggest censorship. Instead, they become an opportunity. An opportunity to teach our children from a young age how to think critically.”
Uh, it’s too late, Rae Lynn. Your side decided the only way to right these wrongs is to cancel the books and critical thought.