Duggar fans are already painfully aware of Jinger Duggar’s childhood naivete.
For years, it made it so much easier for Jim Bob to exploit her and her siblings for financial gain.
As an adult, her total cluelessness about the world and the people who live in it continues to hold her back.
This time, it’s her children’s book. Fans accuse it of being tone deaf, ableist, and downright racist.
Jinger and Jeremy of course went on a Christian podcast to promote their book.
On Friday, Jinger then shared part of that podcast interview on her Instagram to remind fans.
After all, You Can Shine So Bright is a children’s book, but it’s adults who buy them. Thus, the promo.
“We loved talking to Candid Pod about our new children’s book ‘You Can Shine So Bright!’” Jinger captioned.
She and Jeremy are both clearly hoping that hyping up the book will get fans to buy, buy, buy.
Jinger explained their inspiration: “How fun would it be to have something for our girls to read.”
Of course, when it comes to what four-year-old Felicity and one-year-old Evangeline should be reading, not just any book will do.
Jinger and Jeremy have an agenda, as always.
In this case, it is simple — they want a children’s book that will “point them to Christ.”
Jeremy chimed in, announcing that “our girls are obsessed with books.
Jinger then affirmed that they “did all of this with our girls in mind.”
Reading is very good for developing brains. But not all of the reactions to the Vuolo book are positive.
Commenters spoke up, asking how Jinger and Jeremy are reacting to some very sincere criticisms.
“How are you guys responding to the critics saying this book is tone deaf?” one commenter asked.
The commenter specifically asked about “POC and [disabled] children being misrepresented.”
“You are still promoting this book with a black kid being portrayed as a thief,” another critic asked.
This same comment continued: “And a disabled kid treated as an afterthought?”
Another tidily summarized: “Unfortunately you fell short with this book.”
So what is this about?
Well, while Jinger says that they want all kids “to know that they have been created by God with a special purpose,” the book seems to fall short.
If you single out one of your few Black characters as a thief, you’re doing a disservice to an already marginalized minority.
The little Black girl in the story has “all the negative emotions attached to her,” another critic observed.
A creepily titled “try to obey” lesson involves her stealing a balloon.
Either it was deliberate and malicious, or it was not deliberate — making it a thoughtless choice for a children’s book.
As if that were not gross enough, then there is the depiction of the depiction of the disabled child.
“In addition to the racial undertones, the ‘God loves you, too’ to the little boy in the wheelchair… seriously?” asked another commenter.
God loves you too sounds like a well-meaning but hurtful message that an elderly and out-of-touch person might say to a disabled person. It’s not appropriate for a children’s book.
But then, there is a reason why Jinger and Jeremy could be so tone deaf and clueless.
Jinger grew up in an extremely restrictive fundamentalist cult. Jeremy’s background was not identical, but he’s not exactly worldly. It’s no shock that they cannot address these topics in a thoughtful manner.
Christian fundamentalism is inextricably linked to white supremacy in America. And this toxic subculture’s views of the disabled are not much better. It looks like Jinger and Jeremy just don’t know any better. That’s an explanation, not an excuse.