Dr. Seuss Controversy

By: JENNA DIEPSTRATEN

The topic of Dr Seuss’ books has been an ongoing conversation since 2017. But recently, due to Biden’s failure to mention Dr Seuss in his presidential speech on Read Across America Day, the topic of Dr Seuss’ books being racist has emerged. No, they aren’t banning the books, contrary to popular beliefs. 

Dr Seuss Enterprises are stopping the publishing of six of his books; And to Think I Saw That On Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer. They said that the books “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” 

If I Ran a Zoo depicts stereotyped African American caricatures and “helpers that all wear their eyes at a slant’” clearly describing Asian people. And To Think I Saw That On Mulberry Street, depicts an Asian man with a bowl of rice, a conical hat and slanted eyes captioned “a chinese man who eats with sticks.” 

Granted, these books have been read in classes across America for decades, but does that mean we should still celebrate them? 

Read Across America Day, created by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1989, was specifically aligned with Dr Seuss’ birthday, March 2nd. But in recent years the NEA has tried to shift the focus away from Dr Seuss and to more diverse books. 

Conservatives have been bashing the idea, claiming that this yet another “Cancel Culture” thing, and have been in a complete uproar about it. As stated before, Biden didn’t mention Dr Seuss in his presidential speech on Read Across America Day, unlike his priors, Donald Trump and Barack Obama. When brought up in a press conference later, Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated “it’s important that children of all backgrounds see themselves in the children’s books they read.” Dr Seuss’ books are vastly white, 2,240 human characters and only 2% are people of color. 

These six books aren’t being banned, or being burned, they’re just not publishing them any longer.

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