A Reminder That How The Grinch Stole Christmas Isn’t NOT About the Black Lives Matter Movement
Ron Howard and Jim Carrey’s live-action version of Dr. Seuss’ beloved How The Grinch Stole Christmas may have plenty of its detractors, but the film is the second-highest grossing holiday movie of all time, and its zany visual effects and inventive adaptation of Seuss’ original story continues to live out the rest of its day in the convalescence home of ABC Family’s Christmas movie lineup.
But what fans of the film might not know is that, 15 years and an untold number of reported murders of minorities at the hands of an increasingly militarized police force earlier, The Grinch actually served as a chilling prediction of the rise of the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the struggles that it protests.
Perhaps not so after considering the facts behind acclaimed Frost/Nixon producer Brian Grazer and one-time Arrested Development narrator Ron Howard’s holiday hit:
Mayor Augustus May Who
Mayor May Who presided over a City Hall that tolerated, if not perpetuated, the systematic devaluation of Grinch life under his tenure. Howard’s film goes to great lengths to expose Mayor Who’s anti-Grinch education policies, and it’s clear that there’s no place for the Grinch in the Mayor’s vision of Christmas in Whoville. In the most blatant display of institutional power directed towards violent aggression against the Grinch, Mayor May Who even goes so far as to instruct his police force to use unnecessary force to subdue the Grinch following his detainment after admitting to stealing Christmas.
A Long History of Anti-Grinchism
As the flashback montage in The Grinch shows, the most recent documented signs of discrimination against the Grinch at the Holiday Hubilation ceremony wasn’t anything new, but rather part of a long, sordid history of systemic anti-Grinch prejudice. The Grinch’s legal and social dignity is denied at almost every corner of Who society, until he has little recourse but to grow bitter towards the populace that has rejected him, and live in the blighted, red-lined neighborhood on top of Mt. Crumpit, where even there he is subject to constant vigilance and harassment by the Who population.
Cindy Lou Who is a white ally
The earnest girl means well, but sometimes she loses sight of her Who privilege while campaigning for liberal reform on behalf of the Grinch. An ardent supporter of hashtag activism, Cindy generates broad social support behind her campaign to make The Grinch the Holiday Cheermeister at the annual Whobilation ceremony, a well-intentioned effort that unfortunately leads to her denunciation both by the conservative Who population and the Grinch himself. At the end of the day, the question remains — did Cindy Lou Who’s Who Guilt and sense of Who’s Burden ultimately help the Grinch by promoting gradual reform and acceptance within the Whoville sociopolitical structure, or could only the Grinch achieve the freedom to fully participate in Whoville social and political life through direct action and civil disobedience?
The Protest To Steal Christmas
Derided by the reigning figureheads of Whoville as “disorganized,” “chaotic,” “lacking a clear vision and stated goal,” and “Grinchy,” the Grinch’s protest against discrimination by stealing Christmas was a powerful call for an end of profiling and systemic inequality. By striking at the commercial core of the Whoville power structure and disrupting “Christmas as usual,” the Grinch was able to unite a disparate group of Whos to link arms big and small and jubilantly sing in protest against the inequality suffered by the Grinch.
This holiday season, remember that #AllLivesMatter, and that even though The Grinch culminated in equality and acceptance for the Grinch, the struggle against racial inequality and violence towards minorities continues.