Adversity Births Superheroes : Meet Dr. Dyslexia Dude!

By Shareef Phillips, posted on

“As someone who is a visionary, I have to be okay knowing that I may not reap the benefits of my labor in this lifetime, but the generations after me will.” – Dr. Shawn A. Robinson

Benetech is pleased to highlight our very own Advisory Council Member, Dr. Shawn Anthony Robinson, a faculty member, scholar, and entrepreneur. His efforts toward social impact, equity, and inclusion in the world of education, along with his contributions to the Benetech organization thus far have been immense. Read on to learn more about Dr. Robinson’s trailblazing implementation of his new mascot, Doctor Dyslexia Dude, based on the superhero in his book series.

Students with Dyslexia Deserve Allies

The beauty of being a child is that the world is your oyster. Your imagination, your wildest dreams, and your overzealous curiosity have no limits as you begin to learn the way of the world. Imagine trying to navigate that world as a young black boy being shuffled through the education system with a minimum reading level, and an undiagnosed case of dyslexia, until just before your senior year of high school. This child would soon grow to be the incomparable Dr. Shawn Robinson.

As an adolescent that experienced the challenges and frustration of dyslexia, Dr. Robinson set a goal to create a superhero that would have encouraged him throughout his childhood battle. This hero would represent other boys and girls of color with dyslexia. Not just any superhero like Superman or Batman – but an African American superhero with dyslexia named Doctor Dyslexia Dude. Accompanying this character is a book series entitled Doctor Dyslexia Dude, which is a compelling story of how he uses his superpowers to overcome challenges at school.

After much success with the creation of this hero and book series, Dr. Robinson has taken his efforts further to create a mascot for Doctor Dyslexia Dude. After speaking with Dr. Robinson, we learned that people of color constitute 38% of the U.S. population, but only 15% of mascots represent minorities. We also learned that mascots of color are significantly more likely to be shown cooking or preparing food than their white mascot counterparts.

With the introduction of the Doctor Dyslexia Dude mascot, Dr. Robinson joins many others in breaking stigmas stacked against mascots of color. For Dr. Robinson, the Doctor Dyslexia Dude mascot represents black excellence and is culturally relevant to the black adolescent experience. Doctor Dyslexia Dude is a role model and positive reinforcement of hope to overcome adversity in education among black boys and girls with dyslexia. This mascot will serve as a solution to bridge the equity gap in education through positive representation.

The Doctor Dyslexia Dude mascot made his first public appearance at the NBA G-League game in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin on February 1 to kick off Black History Month with an appreciation event with other NBA and local mascots. This is the first of many upcoming events where the Doctor Dyslexia Dude mascot will make his debut.

In addition to this article, please check out Benetech’s very first VLOG featuring Dr. Robinson on YouTube. To learn more information about Dr. Robinson and his new mascot, Doctor Dyslexia Dude, follow @Doctor_Dysexia_Dude on Instagram or check his websites: &