“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” they said in the announcement.
Born Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr.Seuss wrote many of the books adored by children around the world. Today, March 2nd, is the birthday of Dr. Seuss, the famed children’s author.
He was responsible for “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
More than 650 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide, according to the Washington Post
. However, there’s a dark side to his success story.
It turns out Dr. Seuss also had a long history of publishing racist and anti-Semitic work. This material reaches as far back as the 1920s when he was a student at Dartmouth College. His controversial designs included drawing Black boxers as gorillas and featured Jewish characters as financially stingy.
was published in the journal “Research on Diversity in Youth Literature” back in 2019. Researchers examined 50 books by Dr. Seuss.
Of the 50 books, 43 out of the 45 characters of colour have “characteristics aligning with the definition of Orientalism,” or the offensive portrayal of Asia.
According to the study, the two “African” characters are portrayed with anti-Black characteristics.
“In “The Cat’s Quizzer” the Japanese character is referred to as ‘a Japanese,’ has a bright yellow face, and is standing on what appears to be Mt. Fuji,” the authors wrote.
Meanwhile, “If I Ran the Zoo,” also features themes of Orientalism and White supremacy.
In addition, the study authors noted: “The three (and only three) Asian characters who are not wearing conical hats are carrying a White male on their heads in ‘If I Ran the Zoo.’ The White male is not only on top of, and being carried by, these Asian characters, but he is also holding a gun, illustrating dominance. The text beneath the Asian characters describes them as ‘helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant’ from ‘countries no one can spell,'”
Also in the study, they argue that the works of Seuss focus heavily on white people and therefore perpetuate white supremacy.