They Insist, and Persist, Dr. Seuss is Racist!

The Baltimore Sun reports today that six books written by Springfield MA native and prolific cartooner, author, and illustrator Dr. Seuss – Theodor Seuss Geisel – will no longer be published because they contain “…racist and insensitive imagery…” according to the Dr. Seuss estate.

The six books soon to become valuable collector’s items are: “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” (1937), “McElligot’s Pool” (1947), “If I Ran the Zoo” (1950), “Scrambled Eggs Super!” (1953), “On Beyond Zebra!” (1955), and “The Cat’s Quizzer” (1976).

And, frankly, I’m not surprised after seeing this obviously racist cartoon drawn by Dr. Seuss back in 1942 during the height of World War II:

Dr. Seuss Cartoon, 1942

(June 11, 1942, Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons. Special Collection & Archives, UC San Diego Library)

Now there’s no doubt that some of the cartoons and stories created by Mr. Geisel during his early career had racist overtones, and I won’t provide any examples here when a quick search would easily find them. But the rhetorical question is did they reflect Mr. Geisel’s beliefs or was he simply mirroring society at that time? And note his clearly anti-racist cartoon above was drawn before the publish date of almost all the books being banned.

Regardless, I remember my Mom reading Dr. Seuss books to me as a young child, and don’t recall becoming culturally insensitive or racist as a result. In fact, I quickly re-read the book “McElligot’s Pool” and frankly couldn’t determine where a book about all the various kinds of imagined fish from around the world one might find while fishing in a very small pond – including the enormous “Thing-a-ma-jigger- contained anything culturally insensitive or racist…

…perhaps because my parents, relatives, teachers, and neighbors had already received their dose of “Mental Insecticide”.

Did you know? Dr. Seuss is the 2nd-richest dead person based on annual revenue from his works, behind singer-songwriter Michael Jackson.

Thanks for Reading!

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