Six classic Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published due to racist and insensitive imagery, it has been revealed. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company that represents the author’s works and protects his legacy, told the Associated Press in a statement on Tuesday, March 2 — which is the birthdate of the late author, born Theodor Geisel – that the decision was one that took many months to arrive at and would take effect immediately.
The six books affected will no longer be printed or sold. It seems as Dr. Seuss’s most popular works haven’t been affected. Instead, the six books leaving production are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, The Cat’s Quizzer, and Scrambled Eggs Super! These books were named in feedback from teachers, academics, and other specialists, The Guardian reports. Dr. Seuss Enterprises said that the books “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
Dr. Seuss Enterprises wants the author’s world to be as inclusive as possible. “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,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement. While certain depictions and portrayals in the books may not have been seen as offensive at the time the book was published, that doesn’t make that content acceptable or inclusive now, so this was an important decision.
A 2019 study found Dr. Seuss’s books to be seriously problematic. While Seuss is beloved by children everywhere, a 2019 study out of the University of California, San Diego found that only 2% of Seuss’s characters were not white and that those that are non-white are portrayed in offensive ways that promote racist stereotypes. “Minimizing, erasing or not acknowledging Seuss’ racial transgressions across his entire publishing career deny the very real historical impact they had on people of color and the way that they continue to influence culture, education, and children’s views of people of color,” the study said.
It’s unlikely the removal of these books will have much of an effect on Seuss’s place in popular culture. Despite the fact that he died in 1991, Seuss’s estate is said to have made $33 million before taxes in 2020, proving just how popular he remains. In fact, he came in at $2 on Forbes’ list of highest-paid dead celebrities last year, just behind Michael Jackson.
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