NEW YORK: Six children’s books written decades ago by Dr. Seuss were withdrawn from publication because they contained racist and insensitive images, the company created to preserve the legacy of the dead author said Tuesday (March 2nd).
The books – And to think I saw it on Mulberry Street, If I ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra !, super scrambled eggs! and The Cat’s Quizzer: are among more than 60 classics written by Dr. Seuss, named after the American writer and illustrator Theodor Geisel, who died in 1991.
“These books portray people in harmful and wrong ways,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement explaining why it was no longer published.
The books, originally published between 1937 and 1976, contain numerous caricatures of black and Asian people incorporating stereotypes that have been criticized as racist.
Dr. Seuss’s most famous titles – The Cat in the Hat and The Green Eggs and Ham – were not on the list of books to be removed from publication. Oh, the places you will go! he often tops the New York Times bestseller list during graduation season and is also not on the list of scrapped books.
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The controversy over Dr. Seuss’s images has lingered for years. In 2017, then-First Lady Melania Trump offered a donation of 10 books from Dr. Seuss to a school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His librarian turned down the gift, saying images criticized for “racist propaganda and harmful stereotypes” filled his pages.
“Open one of her books (If I ran a zoo or I to think I saw it on Mulberry Street, for example), and you’ll see the racist taunts of her art,” librarian Liz Phipps Soerio told Melania Trump in a letter .
Dr Seuss Enterprises said he worked with a group of experts, including educators, to review its catalog and made the decision last year to complete the publication and licensing. Publishers include Random House and Vanguard Press.
The company said the measure was a first step in its efforts to promote the inclusion of all children.
“Stopping the sale of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure that Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families, ”the company said.
SEE: The American book industry is experiencing an increase in sales of anti-racist literature
Not everyone liked to hear the news. In New York City, Greg Zire, 46, said the decision was another example of “canceling culture.”
“It’s getting to the point where, you know, it’s being removed from history,” the commercial kitchen worker said. “What people need to realize is that if Dr. Seuss can be canceled, what can’t he be?”
On eBay, some of the out-of-print securities rose in value on Tuesday. A copy of If I Ran the Zoo, with a starting price of US $ 48 in the morning, sent an offer of US $ 410 in one hour.
Philip Nel, a children’s literature scholar at Kansas State University, compared the decision to stop publishing to the withdrawal of an obsolete and dangerous product.
“In the 1950s, cars didn’t have seat belts. Now, we recognize that it’s dangerous, so cars have seat belts. In the ’50s, a lot of books recycled a racist caricature. Now, Random House recognizes that as to dangerous, “Nel said.
Nel said the author, who also wrote The Sneetches, a parable about discrimination and racial intolerance, was unaware of how racism influenced his visual imagination.
“At the same time, he writes books that try to oppose discrimination … he also recycles stereotypes in other books.”
Dr. Seuss Enterprises made the announcement on March 2, Geisel’s birth anniversary in 1904. In 1998, the National Education Association designated its anniversary as Read Across America Day, an annual event aimed at encouraging children and adolescents to read.