Offensive Dr. Seuss Books Removed For Promoting Prejudice and Racism

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Photo By Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune, via Associated Press

“If I Ran the Zoo,” “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “On Beyond Zebra!” and “McElligot’s Pool” were among the six Dr. Seuss books that are said to “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong” according to a statement made by Dr. Seuss Enterprises. Photo courtesy of Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune, via Associated Press

Six Dr. Suess books are no longer being published due to harmful and offensive portrayals of people of varied cultures and ethnicities. It was announced on the author’s birthday, Tuesday, March 2, that the titles And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer are being removed from school libraries and education catalogs. As a result, the prices for the children’s books are skyrocketing.

Although he wrote numerous beloved classics such as The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which sold over 650 million copies worldwide, a published journal entitled “Research on Diversity in Youth Literature” explains the history of Suess writing racist and anti-Semitic material. 

“Dr. Seuss published hundreds of racist political cartoons, comics, and advertisements for newspapers, magazines, companies, and the United States government. In spite of Dr. Seuss’ extensive body of explicitly racist published works dehumanizing and degrading Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and people from other marginalized groups (including Jewish people and Muslims), many differentiate and defend the author’s children’s books as ‘promoting tolerance,’ and even ‘anti-racist.’”

The study found that in over 50 of Suess’ books, 43 out of 45 characters displayed offensive portrayals of individuals of Asian descent and the two “African” characters both had anti-Black characteristics. Also, books such as The Cat’s Quizzer: Are YOU Smarter Than the Cat in the Hat? describes a Japanese character as “a Japanese” that has “a bright yellow face, and is standing on what appears to be Mt. Fuji.” 

Former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama mentioned Dr. Seuss in their previous speeches on their Read Across America Day proclamation. Current President Joe Biden logically decided to leave any mention of the author out of his speech.  

After it was announced that six of the author’s publications were being pulled because of racist imagery, the books began to flood Amazon’s U.S. bestseller list. 

The number one bestselling book is currently The Cat in the Hat, closely followed by One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. In all, a total of 15 of Dr. Suess publications were in Amazon’s Top 20 as of Friday morning. 

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Suess Enterprises said in a statement, as the books have faced criticism in recent years. 

Book sellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble are sold out of many of the author’s bestsellers. Some of the books are even listed up to $500 on eBay by resellers. 

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

Although there has not been any acknowledgement from the author’s estate of the discontinuation of other titles, many fans and collectors are stocking up on his books while they are currently accessible. 

Prices for books are drastically increasing as some popular titles that were found for as little as $4.99 last week, are now listed for $40-50 on Amazon. Many believe that by pulling racist Dr. Seuss books off of school shelves will make children’s literature better and by ending the publication of said books that reveal stereotypes. Children should read stories that are proactively teaching lessons to be inclusive and to expose children to viewing themselves as the ‘protagonists’ in imaginative stories. 

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