It’s a beautiful spring day that should be filled with hope and promise. Instead, our country is again experiencing the trauma of policing that has resulted in the death of another Black man, Duante Wright. The roiling anger and sorrow in response to this and so many events are manifested through protests around the country.
One of the ways that racism works is by dehumanizing people who do not fit white norms. By viewing people of color as less than human, it becomes easier to justify violence against them. Popular culture has played and continues to play an insidious role in doing just this. That’s why it is important that we as a society are looking with fresh eyes at some of the most historically “beloved” films, children’s books, movies, television, advertising, and more. It’s not cancel culture that rejects some books by Dr. Seuss. It’s empathy for children. Shouldn’t we protect them from learning racial tropes through books like “If I Ran the Zoo'' or Shirley Temple movies that infantilize Black men?
These negative stereotypes are among the many ways that bias becomes ingrained in our earliest years. The real cancel culture is one that scorns the questioning of popular culture and instead, romanticizes and normalizes a world in which white people are superior to other races.