Six Dr Seuss books will no longer be published because of racist imagery

3 March 2021, 12:57

Watch the official trailer of Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat

Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

Books like 'And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street', 'If I Ran the Zoo' and 'The Cat's Quizzer' will no longer be produced.

Several Dr Seuss books have been withdrawn from publication over their "hurtful and wrong" portrayal of people of colour.

A 2019 study that looked into themes of anti-Blackness and white supremacy in Dr Seuss' children's books by the University of California and the founder of the Conscious Kid Library found that only 2% of the human characters were not white, while the overwhelming majority are portrayed in a way that perpetuates racist stereotypes.

On Tuesday (Mar 2), Dr Seuss Enterprises, the company that manages famous author Theodor Seuss Geisel's estate, released a statement announcing six books will be pulled after hearing feedback from a number of experts.

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Six Dr Seuss books will no longer be published because of racist imagery
Six Dr Seuss books will no longer be published because of racist imagery. Picture: Imagine Entertainment, Scott Olson/Getty Images

"Dr. Seuss Enterprises, working with a panel of experts, including educators, reviewed our catalog of titles and made the decision last year to cease publication and licensing of the following titles. These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong," the statement read.

"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."

The six titles that will cease production are: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (Dr Seuss' first children's book), If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat's Quizzer.

Dr Seuss Holds 'The Cat In The Hat'
Dr Seuss Holds 'The Cat In The Hat'. Picture: Gene Lester/Getty Images

The announcement came on Tuesday, which is also Read Across America Day in the US. The event was created in 1998 to encourage children to read more. It also falls on Dr Seuss' birthday and is often linked to his work, which is why there has been renewed discussions about the racist undertones and tropes in his books.

There's been an extremely mixed reaction to the news and Dr Seuss' stepdaughter Lark Grey Dimond-Cates defended him in the The New York Post, telling the publication that her stepfather was not racist but ultimately the decision to pull the books was the right one. She said: "There wasn’t a racist bone in that man’s body – he was so acutely aware of the world around him and cared so much."

She added: "I think in this day and age it’s a wise decision. I think this is a world that right now is in pain, and we’ve all got to be very gentle and thoughtful and kind with each other. This is just very difficult, painful times that we live in. We’re taking that into account and being thoughtful. We don’t want to upset anybody."