Add Dr. Seuss to the “cancelled” list.
The company that publishes Dr. Seuss children’s books said it plans to stop selling six of his titles —”If I Ran the Zoo,” “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer” — after consulting with a panel of educators and other experts who claim the books contain racist and insensitive images.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement Tuesday — on the late author’s birthday — it is “supporting all children and families with messages of hope, inspiration, inclusion, and friendship.
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the company added. “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.”
The books by Dr. Seuss — whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel — have been studied and criticized in recent years for how they portray Black people, Asian people and other groups, according to the New York Post.
The media outlet noted a 2019 paper analyzing Geisel’s work found Africans were depicted in “If I Ran the Zoo” as “potbellied” and “thick-lipped,” while Asian characters were “helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant.”
“Mulberry Street” shows an Asian person using chopsticks to eat a bowl of rice accompanied by the text: “Chinaman who eats with sticks,” the 2019 paper, published in the journal Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, said.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises told the Associated Press the company “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.”