During Black History Month, many people began the process of educating themselves more on anti-Black racism, and how it has presented itself in our country and culture. In doing so, a classic children’s author has come under fire for deeply offensive imagery and writing in his works. The Seuss Estate, in cooperation with a panel of experts and educators, has announced that they will cease to produce and sell limited selections of Dr. Seuss’ works from now on. Yes, that Dr. Seuss.
Some of the pieces include his first ever book published under the pen name Dr. Seuss, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” (1937), and “If I Ran the Zoo” (1950). Both books hinge on disgusting caricatures of Chinese and African people, with exaggerated stereotypical facial features illustrated and designed by Seuss himself. The New York Times reported that Dr Seuss Enterprises stated recently that “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” mainly after viral Instagram posts highlighting such materials had been spread all over social media in the past week. The other books that will no longer be published are “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”
These materials aren’t an exception in Seuss’ catalogue at all. Prior to writing and illustrating children’s books, Seuss created controversial political cartoons for newspapers. These included an anti-Asian caricature of a Japanese soldier, no Seuss is no stranger to this style and creation of flawed character designs. As time progressed and voices of color spoke up, change was enacted against an American classic in education.
By Leah Ollie, Senior, Whitney Young Magnet High School