I was in a bookstore the other day with my daughter and I stumbled upon a book I had read a long time ago. It’s written by Dr. Seuss and is entitled The Sneetches. If you’re not familiar with the book, I’ll give you a quick rundown. In the book there are two kinds of Sneetches, ones with stars on their bellies and ones without stars. Those with stars think they are better than those without and exclude them from everything. This obviously makes the starless Sneetches very sad. One day, a man shows up with a machine that puts stars on the bellies of the starless Sneetches for a small fee. Of course, this makes the Sneetches with stars upset since they are the real star Sneetches. So, the man says he can remove their stars. As you can guess, this removal and addition of stars goes back and forth for the entire day as each Sneetch desperately tries to distinguish himself from the others. At the end of the day, the Sneetches have spent all their money and nobody knows who is who anymore. It is only then they realize that it doesn’t really matter who has stars and who doesn’t. They can be friends with each other no matter what they look like.
As I reread this book as an adult, I realized what a great book this is for talking to our kids about race! It puts it in ways they can really understand and shows them how silly it can be to make distinctions about each other based on what we look like. At the end of the day, as the Sneetches found out, it really doesn’t matter at all.
Chelsea Flowers Anderson is a Marine Corps veteran and current student at Liberty University. She is passionate about helping kids in need through foster care and community outreach. She is the proud mom of daughter RJ.