Dr. Seuss and the Fear of Obsolescence

The  way I feel about people being outraged about Dr. Seuss Enterprises  choosing to stop publishing books with offensive material is the same  way I feel about people who freak out about cursive penmanship not being  taught in schools anymore, new words they don't deem worthy enough  being added to the OED, and gendered prefixes being removed from Potato Head: why are you so afraid of your own obsolescence? Everything  changes. You can be part of the change; I promise you. When something  your privilege kept you from understanding as offensive is brought to  your attention as needing to change, and you would rather dig your heels  in and disregard the pain and offense that thing brings in favor of  your own nostalgic comfort, you are telling the world that you are  afraid of becoming obsolete, invalid. Don't be so fucking small.  Everyone is born with their own degree of privilege which inherently  comes with its own bag of invisible practices that may be considered  offensive by an often oppressed, silenced, and/or liminal demographic.  As oppressed voices grow in strength, as your bag of privileged,  invisible practices is unpacked and revealed to you as being hurtful, it  is your responsibility as a decent human being to stop that practice. I  am a white-passing, cis-gendered, 6ft2in man who was raised in a  mid-upper class, Southern California suburb. Listen, I get it. It stings  when someone tells you something you've said your whole life, something  you've believed your whole life—something you were forced to do in  school, or learn, or ideologize, or even something your parents and/or  grandparents believed and/or ideologized—contributes to systemic racism,  rape culture, ableism, homophobia, antisemitism, etc. Instead of  defensively freaking out, how about you be grateful for the opportunity  to make amends? How about you acknowledge the labor (and COURAGE) it  takes for someone to educate you on your privilege? How about you NOT  demand that labor of someone? How about you ensure that you don't become  obsolete, that you remain valid, by allowing yourself to change, to be  less problematic? Both of my grandmothers believed being gay was a  mental sickness. On my Mexican side, it was referred to as "the curse."  Like most in my demographic, I was raised to worship the mythological  ideals of misogyny, meritocracy, heteronormativity1, white supremacy,  transphobia—all of it. Being gay and bi-racial has been the greatest  gift of my life in that it has, I hope, (I PRAY) allowed me some  empathy. Wailing in the face of progress doesn't keep your offensive  past valid. Complaining doesn't keep the past great. Trust me, it's okay  that students aren't being taught cursive anymore. Trust me when I, as  an educator in English and writing, say it's okay that the grammar and  punctuation of the white patriarchy is FINALLY beginning to be  dismantled. You're so afraid of your own obsolescence that you don't  realize that the way to stay valid, the way to be a part of the future,  is to allow yourself to accept that your very existence may have been,  and/or is, problematic. Change today with the understanding that no one  is obligated to reward, absolve, or even acknowledge this change. I know  your privilege has led you to believe that you are owed something.  You're not. I'm not. Using someone's correct pronouns, advocating in  private space for oppressed peoples, learning how to be an actual ally,  accepting that written expression and media is rapidly looking different  from what you were past taught—none of this means your submitting to  anything. You are not "giving in" by learning to be less of an asshole.  In fact, what you're actually doing is growing. You can insist on  holding on to your problematic past and become the obsolescence you  fear, or you can change and be a part of the future. The access to that  very choice is itself part of your privilege. For fucks sake, use it for  good. Make the future safe for your own children and their children—and  their children—by letting go of what you thought was okay and learning  to be a better person.