Dr. Seuss books have been popular among both children and adults for generations. However, six of them will no longer be published.
The business that preserves the author’s legacy made the announcement this week. Ironically, it began circulating on social media on Dr. Seuss’s birthday.
The company, called Dr. Seuss industries announced the six books are being removed from circulation because they contain racist imagery. “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “Scrambled Eggs Super!” — “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the company proclaimed.
The firm said those books, as well as “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer” will no longer be sold anywhere. The decision was reportedly made after talking with educators. It also reviewed the catalog of those issues and decided it was best to end publication on them.
The decision was actually made last year. It’s not clear why it took so long to make it public. The decision also comes on the same day that President Biden also omitted mention of Dr. Seuss on Read Across America Day … which is held annually on the author’s birthday.
Dr. Seuss And His Troubling History
The author, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, has come under increased scrutiny in the last few years. A history of racist and anti-semitic works have come to light thanks in large part of a study of over 50 of his books.
The 2019 study found that 43 of 45 characters of color had characteristics aligning with “Orientalism.” Two “African” characters also had qualities identified as “anti-Black.”
Of the six books that were officially pulled on Tuesday, “The Cat’s Quizzer” and “If I Ran the Zoo” were specifically cited in the study. The books were said to have examples of Orientalism and white supremacy.
Reactions From All Sides
Some social media users pointed out that even Dr. Seuss himself later apologized for some of his most offensive depictions.
Dr. Seuss ended up condemning these but they still exist.
This is what isn't ok. And it's why his estate decided some of his work should not continue to be published. pic.twitter.com/AVRxYR6xny
— Case (@Ccaseso1991) March 2, 2021
One user responded to CNN anchor Jake Tapper celebrating the author’s birthday. They posted images showing racist stereotypes, including one that seemed to show “Orientalism” combined with an apparent statement that they were getting ready to attack America.
Others pointed out that the backlash against Dr. Seuss is quite recent.
One former Republican candidate for Congress posted a picture of former First Lady Michelle Obama celebrating the famed author.
Why wasn’t Dr. Seuss racist when Michelle Obama invited him to the White House? pic.twitter.com/riaDSkzfbB
— Errol Webber (@ErrolWebber) March 2, 2021
Still others are claiming that someone who has a problem with removing racist imagery, might in fact be the ones with a problem.
Look, man, if you think obviously racist imagery is an essential element of your own culture, that says more about you than about Dr. Seuss. https://t.co/3t0Vra8XF5
— Philip Bump (@pbump) March 2, 2021
Still others equated taking the six books out of circulation to “banning” his books. It should be pointed out that while those books will no longer be published, there are several dozen other volumes still being produced and made available for sale.
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