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6 Dr. Seuss books no longer published due to racist imagery

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

Were they right when they decided to no longer publish these books?

Yes. These books contain racist imagery.
53
18%
No. This is censorship.
99
33%
Maybe. I have mixed feelings about this decision.
55
18%
Who cares? Not like these were his most popular books.
68
23%
I don't know.
8
3%
Other
18
6%
 
Total votes : 301

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Xmara
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6 Dr. Seuss books no longer published due to racist imagery

Postby Xmara » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:09 pm

https://apnews.com/article/dr-seuss-boo ... 594c174513

BOSTON (AP) — Six Dr. Seuss books — including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo” — will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, the business that preserves and protects the author’s legacy said Tuesday.

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday.

“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” it said.

The other books affected are “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”

The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company, which was founded by Seuss’ family, told AP.

“Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists 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,” it said.

In “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” an Asian person is portrayed wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks, and eating from a bowl. “If I Ran the Zoo” includes a drawing of two bare-footed African men wearing what appear to be grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads.

Books by Dr. Seuss — born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904 —- have been translated into dozens of languages as well as in braille and are sold in more than 100 countries. He died in 1991.

He remains popular, earning an estimated $33 million before taxes in 2020, up from just $9.5 million five years ago, the company said. Forbes listed him No. 2 on its highest-paid dead celebrities of 2020, behind only the late pop star Michael Jackson. Within hours of Tuesday’s announcement, Dr. Seuss books filled more than half of the top 20 slots on Amazon.com’s bestseller list. “Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo” were on the list, along with “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”, “Green Eggs and Ham” and others still being published.

Random House Children Books, Dr. Seuss’ publisher, issued a brief statement Tuesday: “We respect the decision of Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) and the work of the panel that reviewed this content last year, and their recommendation.”

Dr. Seuss is adored by millions around the world for the positive values in many of his works, including environmentalism and tolerance, but criticism has grown in recent years over the way Blacks, Asians and others are drawn 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 deemphasized Seuss and encouraged a more diverse reading list for children.

School districts across the country have also moved away from Dr. Seuss, prompting Loudoun County, Virginia, schools just outside Washington, D.C., to douse rumors last month that they were banning the books entirely.

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

For the country’s libraries, what to do with the Seuss books being withdrawn continues a longstanding conflict between the values of free expression and acknowledging that some content may be hurtful. Libraries rarely pull a book even when some find it racist or otherwise offensive, says Deborah Caldwell Stone, who heads the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. They are more likely to place it in a less prominent location, or otherwise choose not to promote it.

“Shelf space is precious and librarians do periodically cull the book collections and remove some titles. But they usually do so because no one is asking for that book anymore,” she said.

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

“The Cat in the Hat,” one of Seuss’ most popular books, has received criticism, too, but will continue to be published for now.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, however, said it is “committed to listening and learning and will continue to review our entire portfolio.”

The move to cease publication of the books drew immediate reaction on social media from those who called it another example of “cancel culture.”

“We’ve now got foundations book burning the authors to whom they are dedicated. Well done, everyone,” conservative commentator and author Ben Shapiro tweeted.

Others approved of the decision.

“The books we share with our children matter. Books shape their world view and tell them how to relate to the people, places, and ideas around them. As grown-ups, we have to examine the worldview we are creating for our children, including carefully re-examining our favorites,” Rebekah Fitzsimmons, an assistant teaching professor at Carnegie Mellon University, tweeted.

Numerous other popular children’s series have been criticized in recent years for alleged racism.

In the 2007 book, “Should We Burn Babar?,” the author and educator Herbert R. Kohl contended that the “Babar the Elephant” books were celebrations of colonialism because of how the title character leaves the jungle and later returns to “civilize” his fellow animals.

One of the books, “Babar’s Travels,” was removed from the shelves of a British library in 2012 because of its alleged stereotypes of Africans. Critics also have faulted the “Curious George” books for their premise of a white man bringing home a monkey from Africa.

And Laura Ingalls Wilder’s portrayals of Native Americans in her “Little House On the Prairie” novels have been faulted so often that the American Library Association removed her name in 2018 from a lifetime achievement award it gives out each year. The association still gives out the Geisel Award for “the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.”


So, to summarize, 6 books by Dr. Seuss (And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street, If I Ran The Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat's Quizzer) will no longer be published due to racist imagery. Honestly, the only ones I've heard of are Mulberry Street and If I Ran The Zoo. I'm guessing the other four aren't that popular anyway.

Here are a few of the images from these books (courtesy of Kowani)

Image
Image
Image


I understand that times have changed, and that depictions that might have once been acceptable are now considered offensive. My opinion on this matter is probably problematic, but I personally don't agree with this decision. However, I understand that it is the estate's choice.

Opinions, NSG?

EDIT: So, after learning some more about Dr. Seuss and what his views on the matter may have been, I’ve changed my vote from “no” to “other." I say that in most instances, they should simply alter or remove the offensive artwork from the books. Changing the artwork shouldn't change the stories too much. But again, it's up to the estate.
Last edited by Xmara on Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:15 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Kowani
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Postby Kowani » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:12 pm

it's not censorship when his own estate is the one deciding not to sell them
has anyone who complains about this actually seen the images?
they're beyond irredeemable
jfc this is why culture war melts your brain
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Xmara
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Postby Xmara » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:16 pm

Kowani wrote:it's not censorship when his own estate is the one deciding not to sell them
has anyone who complains about this actually seen the images?
they're beyond irredeemable
jfc this is why culture war melts your brain

Okay, I see your point that "censorship" was probably the wrong word to use. I disagree with the decision, but I respect the fact that it is their choice.
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Wallenburg
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Postby Wallenburg » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:17 pm

Kowani wrote:it's not censorship when his own estate is the one deciding not to sell them
has anyone who complains about this actually seen the images?
they're beyond irredeemable
jfc this is why culture war melts your brain

If I can't buy my racist picture books, Western civilization will be destroyed and we'll all be replaced by....uh.....uh....African American individuals.
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Postby Neanderthaland » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:18 pm

They're just not publishing them anymore. It's not like they're gathering them up and burning them.

And just so we're clear
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Postby Shu Chengdu » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:19 pm

IMO, as Kowani said “ it's not censorship when his own estate is the one deciding not to sell them”. That said, I haven’t seen any of the images despite that I’ve been looking for them online (granted I just may not have been looking correctly). Part of me feels like it’s people being oversensitive, but again I haven’t seen the outrageous images per se. Anyone have any links or paste-it’s for me?

EDIT: Just saw Neanderthaland’s posted image. Okay yeah... the more I look at that the more it bugs me actually.
Last edited by Shu Chengdu on Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Xmara
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Postby Xmara » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:20 pm

Wallenburg wrote:
Kowani wrote:it's not censorship when his own estate is the one deciding not to sell them
has anyone who complains about this actually seen the images?
they're beyond irredeemable
jfc this is why culture war melts your brain

If I can't buy my racist picture books, Western civilization will be destroyed and we'll all be replaced by....uh.....uh....African American individuals.

Please understand that I don't think we're all doomed or something. That's an over-exaggeration. I just don't completely agree with the decision. If you do, that's your opinion.
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Kowani
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Postby Kowani » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:21 pm

oh yeah
here are just a few of the images from the books that aren't being published
Image
Image
Image
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Postby Shu Chengdu » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:23 pm

Kowani wrote:oh yeah
here are just a few of the images from the books that aren't being published


Eh... oh... alright. Point taken very much. Just oi.
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Postby Rusozak » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:23 pm

I don't know, the estate can do what they want with it. Besides, the idea of racists fighting over unsavory scribblings in children books amuses me.
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Postby Saiwania » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:24 pm

Its quite a travesty what's happened. But for those who have the books- they'll be big winners. Hold onto an "out of print" book for long enough, and if its truly rare- you can sell it for millions and really become rich if you can find the right collector. And hopefully, a full pdf of all 6 discontinued books can be created for people to read online. With the cover and illustrations intact for all time.
Last edited by Saiwania on Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Rusozak » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:24 pm

Rusozak wrote:I don't know, the estate can do what they want with it. Besides, the idea of racists fighting over unsavory scribblings in children books amuses me.


Saiwania wrote:Its quite a travesty what's happened. But for those who have the books- they'll be big winners. Hold onto an "out of print" book for long enough, and if its truly rare- you can sell it for millions and really become rich if you can find a collector. And hopefully, a full pdf of all 6 discontinued books can be created for people to read online. With the cover and illustrations intact for all time.


See?
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Postby Xmara » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:26 pm

Kowani wrote:oh yeah
here are just a few of the images from the books that aren't being published

Those images are pretty offensive. I understand their decision, but IDK. I still have mixed feelings about this whole thing. But it ultimately is the estate's choice.
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Postby Punished UMN » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:35 pm

Xmara wrote:
Kowani wrote:oh yeah
here are just a few of the images from the books that aren't being published

Those images are pretty offensive. I understand their decision, but IDK. I still have mixed feelings about this whole thing. But it ultimately is the estate's choice.

If the estate feels that the books or their contents no longer reflect the aims of the estate, it's their prerogative.
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Postby Sundiata » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:38 pm

It's fine, with the turning of the world it gets more just.
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Postby Saiwania » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:39 pm

Its censorship even if its the official company doing it. It was produced and published before, hence at least some people out there are going to want it to complete the collection of Seuss' works or their to do list in terms of reading. You can't just pretend it never existed when there is too many copies out there.

So far as the offensive "Chinaman" image, the hairstyle was made famous by the Qing dynasty which made the hairstyle mandatory in China for much of its reign. The Qing were Manchus but the Han majority didn't approve of the Qing government and Qing were overthrown in due time. When the book was published, it was only a few decades or so removed from when Qing dynasty collapsed in 1912, so there were some holdovers for what appearance Chinese were stereotyped as.

When California Gold Rush happened, most male Chinese immigrants coming to the US for railroad labor jobs and the like, had the Qing empire mandated hairstyle. The Queue hairstyle has the front portion of the head shaved with the hair on top of the head grown long and braided into a ponytail. Basically looks like Long Feng from Avatar: Last Airbender.
Last edited by Saiwania on Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Borderlands of Rojava » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:40 pm

Wallenburg wrote:
Kowani wrote:it's not censorship when his own estate is the one deciding not to sell them
has anyone who complains about this actually seen the images?
they're beyond irredeemable
jfc this is why culture war melts your brain

If I can't buy my racist picture books, Western civilization will be destroyed and we'll all be replaced by....uh.....uh....African American individuals.


*people who don't look like most Americans
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Postby Picairn » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:56 pm

Kowani wrote:oh yeah
here are just a few of the images from the books that aren't being published

Dr. Suess is still stuck in the 1900s, I see.
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Postby Nilokeras » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:57 pm

Cancel culture strikes again, this time against six books that have been out of print for longer than most of us have been alive because they were unpopular and that the company/estate figured it could get some free publicity about in announcing it was continuing to not publish them.
Last edited by Nilokeras on Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Infected Mushroom » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:59 pm

This will go a long way to combat sinophobic racism in America, not just in children’s books but also across politics at large. I have every confidence that racist groups in America will see this act of restrictive publishing and go:

“God damn it. Our days of racism are over. We better change now.”

Over millions of wokists, political-correctness-inclined individuals, and other groups will see this as a massive morale boost to press ahead and take risks to correct other essential issues of injustice. In 2021 these are the things that matter.

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Postby Sundiata » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:59 pm

Nilokeras wrote:Cancel culture strikes again, this time against six books that have been out of print for longer than most of us have been alive because they were unpopular and that the company/estate figured it could get some free publicity about in announcing it was continuing to not publish them.

Cancel culture? Like how Colin Kaepernick was "cancelled" for kneeling by conservatives? Come on.

This is a good thing.
Last edited by Sundiata on Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nilokeras » Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:03 pm

Sundiata wrote:
Nilokeras wrote:Cancel culture strikes again, this time against six books that have been out of print for longer than most of us have been alive because they were unpopular and that the company/estate figured it could get some free publicity about in announcing it was continuing to not publish them.

Cancel culture? Like how Colin Kaepernick was "cancelled" for kneeling by conservatives? Come on.

This is a good thing.


Yes, obviously. This is clearly an attempt to silence beloved living children's book author Dr. Seuss.

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Postby Saiwania » Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:04 pm

Sundiata wrote: Come on. This is a good thing.


Its very bad because this is hindering or destroying literary history. If it got produced and published before, people expect it to be as it originally was. There are plenty who gripe about original version of Star Wars original trilogy being almost impossible to find because George Lucas made too many tweaks/edits to his work because he was too perfectionist. What he saw as better, many others wouldn't appreciate the changes.

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Postby Sundiata » Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:07 pm

Saiwania wrote:
Sundiata wrote: Come on. This is a good thing.


Its very bad because this is hindering or destroying literary history. If it got produced and published before, people expect it to be as it originally was. There are plenty who gripe about original version of Star Wars original trilogy being almost impossible to find because George Lucas made too many tweaks/edits to his work because he was too perfectionist. What he saw as better, many others wouldn't appreciate the changes.

Some history is awful, it's why we shouldn't lazily leave things as they are. Change can be good.
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Postby Western Theram » Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:09 pm

i mean even Dr. Seuss acknoledged some of his older works were racist and wanted to be better, so i don't really see a problem with a couple of his less than reputable works were pulled especially by his own company, people can cry and moan all they want but in the end it's not really that big of a deal that they were pulled
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