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Six Dr. Seuss Books Won’t be Published Again Due to ‘Racist and Insensitive Imagery’

Six Dr. Seuss Books Won’t be Published Again Due to ‘Racist and Insensitive Imagery’

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI9Q6usFUeQ

Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press that publishers will no longer produce six problematic books by the beloved author due to “racist and insensitive imagery.”

The books are:

  • And to Think I saw It on Mulberry Street
  • If I Ran the Zoo
  • McElligot’s Pool
  • On Beyond Zebra!
  • Scrambled Eggs Super!
  • The Cat’s Quizzer

From The Associated Press:

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday.

“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” it said.

The other books affected are “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”

The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company told AP.

“Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles,” it said.

The news comes on Read Across America Day, which was once inseparable from Dr. Seuss.

Just a few days ago, the Loudon County Virginia school district announced its decision to stay away from Dr. Seuss when it celebrates Read Across America Day.

President Joe Biden eliminated Dr. Seuss from his Read Across America Day presidential proclamation:

I have always believed that America’s children are the kite strings that keep our national ambitions aloft — the more we do today to spark their curiosity, their confidence, and their imaginations, the stronger our country will be tomorrow. The key to developing young learners into engaged, active, and innovative thinkers is instilling in them a love of reading at an early age. Reading is the gateway to countless skills and possibilities — it sets children on the path to a lifetime of discovery. On this Read Across America Day, we celebrate the parents, educators, librarians, and other champions of reading who help launch our Nation’s children on that critical path.

Once a passion for reading takes hold in a young person, the benefits extend far beyond the classroom. Reading broadens our perspective, introduces us to new worlds, cultures, and languages, and cultivates our sense of empathy and understanding of other people’s experiences and views. Reading informs us, empowers us, and teaches us the lessons of history. It helps us make sense of the world as it is — and inspires us to dream of what it could be. Studies also show that reading improves our memory, helps us become better problem solvers, and even reduces the chance of developing cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s down the road. And with the right book in hand, reading can nourish not only our minds, but our souls.

Dr. Seuss has become controversial in the last 20 years:

In the 2007 book, “Should We Burn Babar?,” the author and educator Herbert R. Kohl contended that the “Babar the Elephant” books were celebrations of colonialism because of how the title character leaves the jungle and later returns to “civilize” his fellow animals.

One of the books, “Babar’s Travels,” was removed from the shelves of a British library in 2012 because of its alleged stereotypes of Africans. Critics also have faulted the “Curious George” books for their premise of a white man bringing home a monkey from Africa.

A librarian in Cambridge, MA, lashed out at First Melania Trump for giving the library 10 Dr. Seuss books.

Springfield, MA, removed a mural at the Dr. Seuss Museum because it “included an Asian stereotype.”

Then a study came out in 2019:

A 2019 study from the Conscious Kid’s Library and the University of California, San Diego researchers studied 50 children’s books and over 2,200 characters created over decades by the children’s author.

What it found: That “of the 2,240 (identified) human characters, there are forty-five characters of color representing 2% of the total number of human characters.” And of that fraction, 43 have Orientalist depictions and two align with the theme of anti-Blackness, the study found.

“Notably, every character of color is male. Males of color are only presented in subservient, exotified, or dehumanized roles,” the study authors, Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens, wrote. “This also remains true in their relation to white characters. Most startling is the complete invisibility and absence of women and girls of color across Seuss’ entire children’s book collection.”

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Comments

Who would ever thought the day would come that there could be a black market in children’s books?

    exfed in reply to irv. | March 2, 2021 at 9:24 am

    When you read this paragraph, THIS is all you need to know:

    “Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles,”

    SeiteiSouther in reply to irv. | March 2, 2021 at 11:57 am

    “He say you under arrest, Mr. Deckard.”

    “Got the wrong guy, pal.”

    *Gaff Cityspeaks*

    “He say you Book Runner.”

    Sternverbs in reply to irv. | March 3, 2021 at 8:40 am

    George Orwell, only he thought it would happen MUCH quicker!

    RightStuff1944 in reply to irv. | March 3, 2021 at 8:40 am

    . . . and the Hegelian Dialectic rolls on.

It is a matter of time before Bradbury, Vonnegut and Wells are banned. Get your copy now.

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/harrison-bergeron-and-equity/

Kurt Vonnegut, in his short story “Harrison Bergeron,” explores the logical end to equity — the use of state power to effect ostensibly equal outcomes in society. He depicts a world where everyone must be handicapped to the lowest common denominator so that no man, woman, or child has a competitive advantage over another.

Ann in L.A. | March 2, 2021 at 9:30 am

I’m surprised “Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose” isn’t on there, but it’s already hard to find. Thidwick is about what happens when you start giving away things for free, and people take advantage of your generosity. Easily reads as a parable against the welfare state.

Just insane
Says Sam
I am…

“Notably, every character of color is male. Males of color are only presented in subservient, exotified, or dehumanized roles,” the study authors, Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens, wrote. “This also remains true in their relation to white characters. Most startling is the complete invisibility and absence of women and girls of color across Seuss’ entire children’s book collection.”

By no means, look at the decade in which it was written, it might ruin your narrative. Today’s prism looking at yesterday’s times.

“Springfield, MA, removed a mural at the Dr. Seuss Museum because it “included an Asian stereotype.”

At a certain point, aren’t we all stereotypes? One man’s stereotype today, is his empowering moment tomorrow. I wish these people would take a stand and stick with it.

    henrybowman in reply to herm2416. | March 2, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    Academics, “People of Color,” and other leftists are currently creating the stereotypes by which they will be portrayed 20 years from now. Sometimes justice is even slower.

    KEYoder in reply to herm2416. | March 2, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    Furthermore, one supposes that Dr. Suess mostly wrote the kind of characters he knew. Had he written lots and lots of variously colored characters from places and cultures he was unfamiliar with, the cries of “cultural imperialism” and “cultural appropriation” and “whiteness” would likely be just as loud. You cannot win the moral purity lottery for long.

nordic_prince | March 2, 2021 at 9:48 am

Because God forbid anyone should let the people decide by buying books they like and passing on books they don’t like.

Nope, dear Citizen Subject, you are too stupid to make these decisions yourself. We will do the thinking for you.

2smartforlibs | March 2, 2021 at 9:54 am

I don’t remember giving anyone the right to control my narrative. No matter what the left tells you you have no right to not be offended.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Zachriel. | March 2, 2021 at 10:21 am

    Highly offensive. Thanks for gratuitously sharing.

    However, the offensive image you shared has nothing to the with works withdrawn and banned by various groups, so is not really relevant to the discussion, is it?

    Unless you are saying that if a person at some point in their lives does something offensive or despicable, then they are both irredeemable and everything they produce in their lifetime must be discarded, no matter what their worth. Such an attitude would itself be despicable and extreme in its lack of tolerance, mercy, and even logic. We can recognize that people do good things and bad things. We all do. We also change and grow with time.

    Dr. Seuss also supported the internment of Americans of Japanese decent in WWII. But so did FDR. Are we, then, supposed to discard all of FDR’s achievements? All his legacy? I am not a fan of a lot of what FDR did either, but each thing stands or falls on it’s own merit in time, or should we go looking for something objectionable you have done in your life and cast the entirety of everything you have done and your life’s reputation away. This is fascism. It’s a despicable tool of the left. Thanks for sharing.

    What you did was nothing less than a nasty smear. And I do not even like Dr. Seuss.

      Brave Sir Robbin: Unless you are saying that if a person at some point in their lives does something offensive or despicable, then they are both irredeemable and everything they produce in their lifetime must be discarded, no matter what their worth.

      Not at all. And Seuss apologized for the racism inherent in his early work.

      Brave Sir Robbin: However, the offensive image you shared has nothing to the with works withdrawn and banned by various groups, so is not really relevant to the discussion, is it?

      From If I Ran the Zoo:
      https://library.nashville.org/sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/images/embedded/racism-natives_if-i-ran-the-zoo.jpg

      Dr. Suess’ WWII cartoons were extremely pro-internment, but others were openly critical of segregation in the armed forces and war effort to the point that FDR had them censored in newspapers in the south. This recent cancellation is one of the more obvious inconsistencies of competitive wokeness. By the same reasoning, we should repeal social security because FDR was a racist, and close Planned Parenthood because Margaret Sanger was a racist.

        ahad haamoratsim in reply to Mr85. | March 2, 2021 at 12:58 pm

        Let’s make sure to cancel Disney, because some of those Mickey Mouse cartoons had some depictions of African tribesmen that would definitely not pass muster today.

        Mr85: By the same reasoning, we should repeal social security because FDR was a racist, and close Planned Parenthood because Margaret Sanger was a racist.

        No, that would be different reasoning. Seuss wasn’t canceled. A few of his lesser known works were voluntarily taken out of publication by the copyright owner. One school district de-emphasized Seuss, but his books are still available there and elsewhere.

        Consistent reasoning would be to denounce FDR’s accommodations with segregation and internment, while acknowledging what he got right, including leading the allies to victory over fascism.

      swampdave in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | March 2, 2021 at 9:57 pm

      Great idea. Lets get rid of FDR and start over.

    Mac45 in reply to Zachriel. | March 2, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    Interesting cartoon. However, you seem to leave out the context of the piece.

    According to the article, from which you lifted it [https://news.artnet.com/market/racist-dr-seuss-drawing-auction-302586], this cartoon was published in 1929, two years after Geisel was first published. He was 25 years old and was, at the time, a satirist.

    “The drawing on offer at Sanders, made when Theodor Seuss Geisel was 25 years old, is from the satirical Judge magazine. It is titled, Cross-Section of the World’s Most Prosperous Department Store, and shows customers shopping for items that will make their lives more, not less, difficult.” – Artnet

    So, as an acknowledged satirical piece, of the early 20th Century, this would hardly be considered evidence of ANY racist bent. Did Geisel harbor any racist outlooks? Probably. He was a product of his times after all, and people viewing him as a racist are doing that, today.

    The problem today, is that people are judging historical pieces by the standards which they hold today. They first ASSUME the outlook and beliefs of the creator, who is usually dead. Then they demand that his/her works be banned from the public, not because they are “wrong”, but because they do not meet the political narrative held by the observer. Our Western Society has been fighting against this type of censorship for centuries. And, now, the freest nation on the planet, one which was founded upon the espoused opposition to arbitrary censorship, is heading down the path of every totalitarian dictatorship, tin-pot and otherwise.

    Scary.

      Mac45: So, as an acknowledged satirical piece, of the early 20th Century, this would hardly be considered evidence of ANY racist bent.

      The cartoon is obviously racist, and Seuss rightly apologized.

      Mac45: Then they demand that his/her works be banned from the public, not because they are “wrong”, but because they do not meet the political narrative held by the observer.

      Seuss is not banned. Rather, the owner of the copyright has decided not to continue publishing certain specific titles that exhibit “racist and insensitive imagery” — which is their right.

        Mac45 in reply to Zachriel. | March 2, 2021 at 12:27 pm

        Please. You have to stop making these blanket statements of “fact”. When did Geisil apologize and under what circumstances? Remember, the panel referred to rather popular saying which was around at that time. And, in order to fit in with the rest of the cartoon, it is safe to assume that the panel was not done for racist purposes. You are making an unfounded assumption based upon YOUR personal viewpoint.

        Wrong again. The current POTUS publicly eliminated him from the Reading Across America Day, which was established on Geisil’s birthday, for a reason. His works were essentially banned by a Virginia School Board and has come under intense attack by the liberal Progressive political culture.

        This position kicked up such a backlash, that those responsible are now trying to walk this back and claim it was a decision by the copyright holder and only applies to six books. However, this is just not true. It is gas-lighting at its worst.

        Sorry, the thought police got caught, again.

        Mac45: Remember, the panel referred to rather popular saying which was around at that time.

        And the saying was racist. It was racist then. It’s racist now.

        Mac45: The current POTUS publicly eliminated him from the Reading Across America Day

        So? Not mentioning Seuss is canceling him? Are you saying we should force Biden to utter the name “Seuss”?

        Mac45: His works were essentially banned by a Virginia School Board

        That is incorrect. Loudoun County Public Schools provided guidance “to schools during the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day exclusively with Dr. Seuss’ birthday. We continue to encourage our young readers to read all types of books that are inclusive, diverse and reflective of our student community, not simply celebrate Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss books have not been banned and are available to students in our libraries and classrooms, however, Dr. Seuss and his books are no longer the emphasis of Read Across America Day in Loudoun County Public Schools.” {emphasis added}

        https://library.nashville.org/sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/images/embedded/racism-natives_if-i-ran-the-zoo.jpg

        Mac45: This position kicked up such a backlash, that those responsible are now trying to walk this back and claim it was a decision by the copyright holder and only applies to six books.

        You are conflating two different things: the de-emphasis of Seuss for “Read Across America Day,” and the publisher no longer publishing specific Seuss titles that include ethnically questionable cartoons. The former doesn’t stop students or teachers from using Seuss books, and the latter only applies to certain titles.

          FOAF in reply to Zachriel. | March 2, 2021 at 1:06 pm

          Hey zach since you’re so big on apologies for “racism” riddle me this:

          When did Al Sharpton ever apologize for saying, “If the Jews want to get it on they can pin their yarmulkes back and come on over to my place”? Or for instigating antisemitic violencce that led to the deaths of ten people?

          This is a major operative of your Dem party we’re talking about. A guy who was repeatedly invited to the Oval Office by Obama for private meetings and who Biden had to bow to after he was nominated.

          Seems of no concern to you. What do you have against Jews anyway zach?

          Mac45 in reply to Zachriel. | March 2, 2021 at 2:45 pm

          “Mac45: Remember, the panel referred to rather popular saying which was around at that time.

          And the saying was racist. It was racist then. It’s racist now.”

          Exactly. But, this was a satirical piece. It was pointing up the absurdity of various phrases popular with white society. But you have to remember something about liberal Progressives and race. They only view it negatively, unless it is directed against whites.

          Remember the attacks on Little Black Sambo, 30 years ago? The whole complaint tht it was racist was based upon the illustrations, which were caricatures drawn in the 1890s and the names of the main characters. What the race hustlers completely ignored was the fact that Sambo was an extremely intelligent young man, who essentially tricked two much stronger enemies into destroying themselves. It was only “racist” in thee eues of the liberal Progressives and that was based entirely upon appearances, not content.

          FOAF: Whatabout?

          While Sharpton didn’t apologize, after being rebuked by Coretta King, he could have “done more to heal rather than harm.”
          https://www.timesofisrael.com/al-sharpton-admits-to-using-cheap-rhetoric-about-jews/

          Mac45: But, this was a satirical piece.

          Don’t worry. We read satire.

          There’s nothing in that cartoon that justifies its inherent racism.

          Mac45 in reply to Zachriel. | March 2, 2021 at 10:01 pm

          “Mac45: But, this was a satirical piece.

          Don’t worry. We read satire.

          There’s nothing in that cartoon that justifies its inherent racism.”

          I am glad that you read satire. This will not be lost on you then. I apparently did not get the memo that you have been appointed Racism Czar. Quit projecting and spinning.

          The panel, in question, may have been insensitive. Though this is debatable, given the fact that this cartoon was a satirical piece published in 1929, in a publication which was known for cutting edge satirical illustrations. But, to label the cartoon as racist, based upon the appearance of characters in a single panel, while the other panels seem to be totally devoid of ANY racism at all, is ridiculous.

          I notice that you said, “we read satire”. Does this indicate that you are not a single person, but a conglomerate posing as a single person? Or have you just assumed the royal WE?.

          Mac45: But, to label the cartoon as racist, based upon the appearance of characters in a single panel, while the other panels seem to be totally devoid of ANY racism at all, is ridiculous.

          Gee whiz. Selling n*****s is the punchline. Knee-slapping fun for the whole family.

    rhhardin in reply to Zachriel. | March 2, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    Study it carefully. It’s a cartoon about cliches.

    nordic_prince in reply to Zachriel. | March 2, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    Can’t wait for future generations to condemn you based on future mores. The ideals you deem oh-so-progressive will be laughably antiquated and no doubt bigoted by tomorrow’s thought police.

Brave Sir Robbin | March 2, 2021 at 9:58 am

Years of publication of the following:
– And to Think I saw It on Mulberry Street (1937)
– If I Ran the Zoo (1950)
– McElligot’s Pool (1947)
– On Beyond Zebra! (1955)
– Scrambled Eggs Super! (1953)
– The Cat’s Quizzer (1976)

I wonder why the characters do not represent todays cultural or demographic mix?

If something does not meet someone’s current exacting and arbitrary standards, it must be purged.

Antifundamentalist | March 2, 2021 at 10:00 am

Censorship is always wrong.

    Antifundamentalist: Censorship is always wrong.

    A private business making publishing decisions is protected by, wait for it, the First Amendment.

      PrincetonAl in reply to Zachriel. | March 2, 2021 at 10:59 am

      Legal doesn’t make it the right thing to do … cowards are going to be cowards … and those who want to erase all history do not have good intentions …

      If you think general censorship based on the latest woke mob action is a good thing …

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hn1VxaMEjRU

        PrincetonAl: Legal doesn’t make it the right thing to do

        Very true. However, the claim was that “Censorship is always wrong.” That would mean that no one can ever edit anything even when they own the rights, or they can be forced to publish against their will.

          henrybowman in reply to Zachriel. | March 2, 2021 at 5:41 pm

          Ming the Merciless continues to conflate “can” and “should,” as he has no other argument.

          That would mean that no one can should ever edit anything even when they own the rights, or they can should publish against their own judgment or values.

          That sort of standard would be nonsensical.

      But woe unto you if you decline to use your talents as a baker to bake a cake for a gay wedding.

      nordic_prince in reply to Zachriel. | March 2, 2021 at 2:35 pm

      Does the same standard apply to bakers, florists, and photographers regarding which ceremonies they choose to lend their artistic expression to?

        nordic_prince: Does the same standard apply to bakers, florists, and photographers regarding which ceremonies they choose to lend their artistic expression to?

        If the publisher refuses to sell to persons due to their race, religion, or other protected class, then yes, the publisher would be in violation of anti-discrimination law.

      Burn_the_Witch in reply to Zachriel. | March 2, 2021 at 4:58 pm

      “Censorship” is not something relegated to…wait for it…first amendment conversations.

      Evil Otto in reply to Zachriel. | March 3, 2021 at 6:36 am

      “A private business making publishing decisions is protected by, wait for it, the First Amendment.”

      That wasn’t the argument and you know it. Antifundamentalist used the word “wrong,” not “illegal.” It was an ethical argument, not a legal one.

      And yes, censorship is always wrong. You’re arguing on the side of the censors… one would think that might get you to reevaluate your position, but… naah.

        Evil Otto: Antifundamentalist used the word “wrong,” not “illegal.”

        Yes, and that would mean that any editorial decision not to publish is wrong, regardless of the reason. In fact, editorial decisions to publish or not publish are made every day for a variety of reasons, not all of them wrong.

        Here’s a simple example: a Christian publisher refuses to publish erotica.

Farenheit 451, anyone?

In the entire history of humanity, any group attempting to censor and destroy previously printed books or art has never, EVER been the good guys. Ever.

JusticeDelivered | March 2, 2021 at 10:59 am

This is insane. There are books I have no interest in, and would not buy, if someone doesn’t like a Seuss book they don’t have to buy or even look at one.

People pushing this crap really need a smack down. It would be equitable to super glue their lips and also pinkies to thumbs. maybe their rectums to stop them from spreading any more crap?

I am surprised they didn’t ban “Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose” yet.

The only moose in the Tea Party …

Someday Mao’s Little Red Book will be the only one the Wokestapo will allow to be published.

When was the last time history that the people embracing censorship were the good guys

The cynic iny suspects that these ones were not selling well in general, so they decided to “cancel” them to gain “street cred” and goose demand for the remaining stock.

Mulberry Street and “If I ran the Zoo” are good, but the other four are very weak books.

If they’d just closed the print run no-one would have noticed, but by making them martyrs, they’ve made them *very* valuable.

yelp, I guess we gotta cancel Michelle Obama while we are at it
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgJgIYEIkHQ

What is the more relevant “racism” against Asian-Americans? An obscure cartoon image from decades ago, or the fact that they are being royally screwed in college admissions today?

nordic_prince | March 2, 2021 at 2:38 pm

How about this novel idea: If you don’t like a book, don’t buy it.

After all, that’s what we’re told about baby killing abortion.

Laying the groundwork for the 21st century version of book burning.

If Bradbury was writing Fahrenheit 451 in today’s world the ‘firemen’ would be working for Big Brother Tech. They’d be scouring the internet and personal PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones, etc. looking for banned digital content.

Some mechanisms for doing this are already in place. Microsoft regularly scans your PC (or tries to) for non-licensed software on Windows PCs. ‘Virus’ and ‘malware’ scanning apps could also start snooping for banned digital content.

But such olde classics as The Communist Manifesto, Mao’s Little Red Book, Mein Kampf, and The Protocols of the Elders Of Zion are available for purchase on Amazon.

You are the “whatabout” zach you malignant troll. A carton from decades ago as opposed to a vicious antisemitic demagogue who is being lionized by Democrats RIGHT NOW.

Eddie Coyle | March 3, 2021 at 8:49 am

Look, nothing is ever 100%. My knee jerk impulse was to get my back up against cancel culture GRRRR!!! What really blows this out of proportion is the clumsy way it is done. The publisher could have quietly commissioned revisions made to offensive portrayals, or quietly just let the 6 books go ‘out of print’. If you are fair (on ‘our’ side, you can see some of his early work is offensive, and put yourself in the shoes of a 5 year old of color just starting the joy of reading. If you are fair (on the progressive side) you can take into account the totality of the author’s work, and the positive, inclusive nature of most if not all of his later work. Biden missed an opportunity to be courageous by including this man’s work.

I recall when I was 11 (I’m 57 now) watching an ‘Our Gang’ / Little Rascals show in the morning. This series had Black, ethnic characters as completely accepted members of the group for 10-20 years of it’s existence. This one episode which I’ve seen twice, had the gang sitting around telling what they’d do if they won prize/reward money (via dream sequence). Buckwheat (or Stimey) dreamed he was in a Cadillac convertible with the fanciest clothes & tophat, a little girl decked out in finery next to him, and as the adults of ‘Shinetown’ subserviently address him, he says ‘I gots watermelon & fried chicken for everyones’. Even at 11-12 I was thinking, ‘Isn’t there an adult at that station?’ I wasn’t thin skinned, I was developing into an early conservative, but fair is fair.

I think if most people saw the art in question, they’d agree that at least some of them aren’t fit for children. Hey a broken clock is right twice a day.

NonyaBeeswax | March 3, 2021 at 1:52 pm

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand the truth comes out!

Try to find these books online and you will discover that they have been out of print for YEARS! No skin off of the company’s back in lost revenues because they aren’t printing these books anymore anyway!

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