June 24, 2021


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Six books by Dr Seuss with racist images will no longer be published | News about race issues

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Six books by Dr Seuss, a prominent American author of children’s books who gained international notoriety, will no longer be published due to racist and callous images, the company that preserves and protects the legacy of the author.

“These books portray people in hurtful and false ways,” Dr Seuss Enterprises told the Associated Press on Tuesday. The statement coincided with the birthday of the deceased author and illustrator.

“Stopping the sale of these books is only part of our commitment and our larger plan to ensure that the Dr. Seuss Enterprises catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” he said. .

The titles affected are the popular “And Thinking I’ve Seen It On Mulberry Street” and “If I Run The Zoo” and the lesser known “McElligot’s Pool”, “On Beyond Zebra!”, “Scrambled Eggs Super! ” and “The Cat’s Quizzer”.

The decision to stop publishing and selling the books was made last year after months of discussions, the company told the AP.

A man walks past a mural with the character ‘Sam-I-Am’ from Dr Seuss’ book Green Eggs and Ham at The Amazing World of Dr Seuss Museum, in Springfield, Massachusetts [File: Steven Senne/AP Photo]

“Dr. Seuss Enterprises has listened to and considered input from our audience, including educators, academics and experts in the field, as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles, ”he said.

The books of Dr. Seuss, born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 2, 1904, have been translated into dozens of languages ​​as well as Braille and are sold in over 100 countries. He died in 1991.

It remains popular, earning around $ 33 million pre-tax in 2020, down from just $ 9.5 million five years ago, the company said. Forbes ranked him number two on his highest-paid deceased celebrities of 2020, behind only the late pop star Michael Jackson.

As adored as Dr. Seuss is by millions around the world for the positive values ​​of many of his works, including environmentalism and tolerance, there has been growing criticism in recent years of how which blacks, Asians and others are drawn to in some of his most beloved children’s books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations.

The National Education Association, which founded Read Across America Day in 1998 and deliberately aligned it with Geisel’s birthday, has for several years downgraded Seuss’ importance and encouraged a more diverse reading list for children.

School districts across the country have also moved away from Dr Seuss, prompting Loudoun County, Va., Schools just outside Washington, DC to quell rumors last month that they would ban books altogether.

“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written / illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” the school district said in a statement.

In 2017, a school librarian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, criticized First Lady Melania Trump’s 10 Seuss book donation, saying many of her works were “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures and harmful stereotypes.”

In 2018, a Dr. Seuss museum in his hometown of Springfield removed a mural that included an Asian stereotype.

Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, reads a book by Dr. Seuss to a group of young students in 2012 [File: Brian Blanco/Reuters]

“The Cat in the Hat,” one of Seuss’ most popular books, has also received reviews, but will continue to be published for the time being.

Dr Seuss Enterprises, however, said he was “committed to listening and learning and will continue to look at our entire portfolio”.

Many other popular children’s series have come under fire in recent years for alleged racism.

In the 2007 book, “Should We Burn Babar?”, Author and educator Herbert R Kohl claimed that the “Babar the Elephant” books were celebrations of colonialism due to the way the main character leaves the country. jungle and later returns to “civilize” his animal companions.

One of the books, “Babar’s Travels,” was taken off the shelves of a UK library in 2012 because of its alleged stereotypes about Africans. Critics have also criticized the “Curious George” books for their assumption that a white man brings home an African monkey.

And Laura Ingalls Wilder’s portrayals of Native Americans in her “Little House on the Prairie” novels have been so often criticized that the American Library Association withdrew her name in 2018 from an award of excellence that it awards each year. year.

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