Dr. Seuss is one of the most well-known and beloved children’s book authors, and has been for generations. He has written and illustrated over 60 books in his career, many of which continue to be read and adored by families today.
However, Dr. Seuss Enterprises has recently made the decision to pull six of his books from shelves. The decision was driven by racist portrayals of minority groups, specifically the Asian and Black communities, in their illustrations. The books being withdrawn are “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”, “If I Ran the Zoo”, McElligot’s Pool”, “On Beyond Zebra!”, “Scrambled Eggs Super!”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”. The works have been deemed “insensitive” and “hurtful” since they portray explicit ethnic stereotypes.
This decision has caused tension due to many Dr. Seuss fans saying Seuss’ legacy was being erased, and that history was being erased. Dr. Seuss Enterprises acknowledged the criticism and stated the situation should be seen as a product recall rather than an example of “cancel culture.”
Many people defending the decision to withdraw the books have stated it was not from public pressure, but was solely a decision made by the company itself. The statement created by Dr. Seuss Enterprises states, “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.”
Companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble have since experienced a spike in sales of Dr. Seuss books. Third-party sellers on Amazon are able to sell the 6 withdrawn books, which have people wondering if the company will stop those sales.
Many people, including students here at Eastern, were raised reading a variety of Dr. Seuss’ books and consider them a beloved part of childhood. Different views have been shared within the campus community, and a variety of people agree with the decision to pull the books from store shelves permanently. “It’s understandable. Racism is still alive and well in the country today, so we have to be careful what we show the younger generation in books they read,” one student shared.
“I wouldn’t call it erasing history, but the books should still be made available so we can learn from [Dr. Seuss’] mistakes,” another student shared, against the idea of taking the books off the market.
As a school, Eastern focuses on seeking justice for others and attempts to encourage students to have conversations, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Social justice and diversity are key aspects of what Eastern stands for, so it is no wonder why students have strong views on such topics.
Sources: New York Times, Seussville, Wall Street Journal