Southerners Continue to Ruin American Idol

Southern voters continue to ruin American Idol. Let me get this straight: Southerners are awesome, and they make up some of the greatest musicians in American history, and many of the greatest American Idol contestants come from the South. However, Southern voters often ruin American Idol by giving their vote to Southern singers when a superior non-Southern is an American Idol finalist. This week Laine Hardy, a Southerner, became the 17thAmerican Idol winner by upsetting the heavily favorite Alejandro Aranda. The Washington Post published a story the day after Hardy’s win that suggested that Aranda’s upset can be attributed to his decision to perform his original music. However, I do not think that this was a motivating factor for Hardy’s win. In the end, the young Louisianan won because he was the favorite Southern singer in the competition.

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Parable: The Best Buy Security Guard

There were once two teenage boys who on one night hung around a Best Buy after hours. One of them was applying to work there as a security guard, and his friend was not. The applicant thought that if he wore an Apple watch he would be more likely of getting the job.

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Should We Teach Dr. Seuss in School?

In Tiara Jenkins and Jessica Yarmosky’s “Classic Books Are Full of Problems. Why Can’t We Put Them Down,” recently published by NPR, the journalists question whether schools should continue to read Dr. Seuss’s books in their classes. Many schools around the country choose to either celebrate Dr. Seuss’s books or redirect the attention of young readers to more racially inclusive literature. The authors give their reasons why they side to completely eliminate Dr. Seuss from school bookshelves, and their rationale derives from the perception that by today’s standards Dr. Seuss was a racist. However, within the article, they do not fully answer their own question as far as why teachers refuse to put down Dr. Seuss books, which is essential to understanding why they still exist in these spaces.  Banning his books from school classrooms and libraries would pose unforeseen problems and reveal consequences that would render the practice as not practical.

To answer the authors’ question, Dr. Seuss, more than any other author, succeeds in introducing picture books that are designed to teach young children how to read. He mastered the use of rhyme and rhythm to reinforce phonographic associations with letters. He writes to a wide age range of children from two to eight years old and his books are humorous and witty. Unlike many of his contemporaries, his stories have successfully transcended generations. He rewrote the definition of children’s literature and is easily the most influential picture book writer in the English language. Every popular author of children’s picture books such as Sandra Boynton, James Dean, and Mo Willems have all mimicked his style of writing and drawing. However, Dr. Seuss was a man of his day, and most white men in his day were by our standards racist.

The authors are correct that we must reevaluate how we view and interpret his legacy. In many ways our classrooms have evolved, and teachers from around the country are already incorporating inclusive books into classroom curriculums. Many of these newer books are well-written, current, and connect with today’s readership. An over reliance on Dr. Seuss has the effect of taking away from other authors. It is important that as educators that we direct our children towards books that reflect the whole makeup of America. Though I cannot speak for the country as a whole, in the four elementary schools that my children have attended, I have not found that educators are not as particularly drawn to Dr. Seuss’s writings as they were in my generation (I attended elementary school in the early 90s).

Unlike the authors of this article, I am reluctant to toss out the entirety of Dr. Seuss books, even in his racism. As a child I remember that the Dr. Seuss section took up a large percentage of our bookshelves. Many of his books have issues because they present white-only characters, and the few racially diverse characters that he presents are often caricatures of culture. Ultimately, I take a moderate approach. Many of Dr. Seuss’s books do not depict overtly racist images because most of his books are not racial in nature; most of his books are focused on connecting words with sounds. I would encourage schools to carefully select a few of his best works such as Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, Oh the Places You’ll Go, and Cat in the Hatand integrate them into a larger pool of racially inclusive books. The complete removal of these books will ultimately create resentment among parents, and I predict that they will turn the book author into a martyr triggering enthusiasm for his more racialized books. We also must be careful to put Dr. Seuss in his historical context and judge his work for its literary significance. To define him solely on his most racist characteristics does not due justice to the person that he was.  Dr. Seuss’s influence on society was so large that I cannot imagine young people wouldn’t be exposed to these characters outside of class, and allowing teachers to read these books to their students could allow them an opportunity to frame and discuss them in an appropriate settings.

Above All: America Needs Someone Qualified

Washington Post published an interactive webpage titled “How Would You Narrow the 2020 Democratic Field?” where users are able to narrow a field of candidates by sorting them into categories that represent values, such as “someone from states where Trump did well,” “a woman or diverse candidate,” “generational change,” “an entrepreneur,” or “a veteran.” Continue reading “Above All: America Needs Someone Qualified”

My Experience on an Italian/Tunisian Ferry Boat

Brian's Editorials

During the summer of 2009 my wife and I took a ferry boat from Palermo, Italy to Tunis, Tunisia. Two weeks later we returned on the same ferry boat. We did not want to pay full price for a luxury cruise liner, so instead we opted for the migrant worker ferry boat, which saved us about 100 euros per ticket. During my two boat rides I was surprised at the lack of respect given to migrant workers on our Italian Ferry boat.
When we arrived at the dock I read the instructions provided to us on our ticket, which told us to find the line to facilitate the paperwork for international travel. I noticed that instead of a line, one big mosh pit of mostly Tunisian men was slowly making its way to the registry.  People were screaming, pushing, and shouting. It did not occur to me at the time…

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My Grandfather and Civil Rights

Thinking of Grandpa

Brian's Editorials

American History is steeped in inequality. The tradition that all men are not created equal stems from a myriad of racial pedagogies, many deriving from the Puritan tradition. Ever since the Civil Rights Movement, America has attempted to purge racial social injustice and break patterns of inequality. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, like many churches propagated these wrong traditions and has since the 1970s attempted to undo rhetoric after having given the priesthood to those of African descent. The church has recently furthered its efforts by denouncing all theories that justify racial discrimination. At a time and place where racial equality was frowned upon, my grandfather David S. King championed Civil Rights in the state of Utah, not only going against the sentiment of Church leadership, but also the majority of its general membership.
I sat in the chapel, where David King attended church, during his funeral…

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