Dr. Seuss book removal dogs Ron DeSantis in New Hampshire

Seuss
The Governor was compelled to defend Florida's aggressive curation of learning materials.

Ron DeSantis is dealing with questions about Dr. Seuss on the campaign trail during his final day in the Granite State.

During a town hall in Hampton, New Hampshire, the 2024 Republican presidential candidate was confronted with remarks from an attendee, who said his sister had a friend who had to remove a Seuss book from a Florida library and thus would not vote for DeSantis.

The speaker didn’t mention which Seuss book was pulled, but it didn’t matter, as it compelled DeSantis again to defend the removal of texts from classrooms and libraries.

Answering the accusation, the Governor described “pornographic books that are in the schools” and how the state has “empowered parents to object to that and, and to have it removed because it’s just not right that that’s happening.” (He did not address left-leaning groups, notably the NAACP, calling for a blanket removal of Seuss books based on “racist propaganda, caricatures and harmful stereotypes.”)

Meanwhile, “activists” are trying to “create a reaction” by objecting, he said, noting that “someone said” Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” was pulled, but the book is actually on the “Department of Education’s summer reading list.”

The Governor defended one “school in Miami-Dade County” and its decision to remove a work by Amanda Gorman after a challenge in which the author was misidentified as Oprah Winfrey. He previously called this a “poem ban hoax” but didn’t use this phrasing Wednesday.

“There was this book of poems from, I guess a lady that did a poem at (Joe) Biden’s inauguration. And the school decided to move it from elementary library to middle school library. And that was it. And they said that this was somehow, they were banning these poems and it’s like, like, this had nothing to do with the state. So I would just say anything on that is a hoax, our standards are very clear, they are not controversial at all.”

The clarity of those standards is debatable, given Escambia County just pulled 2,000 books for review, including dictionaries, the Guinness Book of World Records, and multiple volumes from Bill O’Reilly.

The Governor also seemed to suggest there’s a threshold of exactly how many books are needed about civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

“They will say, ‘Oh, they’re not allowing this Rosa Parks book.’ So then you go into the library and there are 12 Rosa Parks books, they just didn’t happen to order this other one and they try to say you’re banning it. No. People have to make decisions and that’s the thing with a curriculum, you’re making judgments about what should be in or what should not be in.”

Despite the aggressive curation of titles available in Florida schools, the Governor has said previously he wouldn’t support a national system rating books like movies have been since 1968 by the Motion Picture Association of America.

“You do have this problem with these inappropriate books in the schools. You know, could there, could there be like a rating for some of them? I don’t think that’s necessary because the difference is, like, if there’s a movie advertised, you don’t know what’s in the movie just by watching a 30-second commercial,” DeSantis acknowledged.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


8 comments

  • Wow

    January 17, 2024 at 3:47 pm

    Governor hates free speech

  • Elmo

    January 17, 2024 at 3:47 pm

    “Meanwhile, “activists” are trying to “create a reaction” by objecting, he said.”

    Um, hello. If anyone was ever trying to create a reaction, is was Ron DeSantis.

  • ScienceBLVR

    January 17, 2024 at 3:59 pm

    Books are knowledge- Knowledge is Power.
    And DeSantis wants to take away knowledge any way he can.. keep the girls barefoot and pregnant and the boys dumb and numb.

  • Dont Say FLA

    January 17, 2024 at 4:22 pm

    The so-called “poem ban hoax” was not a hoax? No ways!

    LOL @ Lying Rhonda, claiming for so long it was a hoax.

  • My Take

    January 17, 2024 at 5:01 pm

    Dr. Seiss was a national treasure.
    Chevk out his WW2 antifascist cartoons.

  • ScienceBLVR

    January 17, 2024 at 6:16 pm

    My favorite Dr. Seuss for the classroom has always been
    The Sneetches. Credited as Seuss’s satire of discrimination between races and cultures, the lessons taught demonstrate his fervent opposition to racism and antisemitism. But hey, don’t want to indoctrinate the kiddos with that nonsense..

  • It's Complicated

    January 18, 2024 at 11:45 am

    Interesting. Things get difficult when one applies modern standards to literature produced in a different era. For example, PBS did a series on six Dr. Suess books that will no longer be produced by the company that owns the copyright because of stereotyped imagery related to Africans and Asians now considered insensitive. BBC also did an expose’ on the topic.
    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/6-dr-seuss-books-will-stop-being-published-because-of-racist-imagery

    Was Dr. Suess a racist? Of course not.
    Are PBS and BBC right-wing anti-free speech groups of fascists? Of course not.
    Did Dr. Suess pen hundreds of anti-fascist political cartoons during and after WWII objecting to the anti-semitism of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and the philosophies of isolationism and globalism? Yes. Yes he did.
    Is it appropriate for these six books (which by modern standards are insensitive to minorities) to be removed from library shelves accessible to children? That is the question at hand.

  • WGD

    January 18, 2024 at 12:30 pm

    The standards are not only unclear they are deliberately unclear. This is attempted political indoctrination being carried out by idiots, and DeSantis attempting to defend it sounds like an idiot. Pandering to the stupid does not lead to good policy but it is DeSantis’ guiding principle.

Comments are closed.


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