The company said it’s been working with experts and educators to understand the books’ impacts
The decision was made late last year after a thorough review of the late author Theodor Seuss Geisel’s library. “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,” they said in a statement to The Associated Press.
The books that will no longer be published include, “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.”
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in the statement posted to their site, which was shared on 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,” they said.
Dr. Seuss' company will stop publishing 6 books because of racist portrayals of Black and Asian people, including "If I Ran the Zoo" and "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street."
A study found just 2% of Dr. Seuss characters are nonwhite — almost all racist caricatures. pic.twitter.com/vPir2X3Iqz
— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 2, 2021
Seuss is one of the best-known authors in the world, and has written hundreds of books including the popular, “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” among others. But he’s not above criticism.
It’s no secret that Dr. Seuss had a long history of publishing racist and anti-Semitic work. He often drew Black boxers as gorillas and furthered Jewish stereotypes by portraying characters as penny pinchers, according to a study published in the journal “Research on Diversity in Youth Literature.” He also used the n-word in captions in several of his cartoons.
He himself apologized for some of the racial undertones of his work while he was alive, and his own family believes that he would agree with the criticism he has subsequently received. https://t.co/V8Q6lUAVwZ
— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) March 2, 2021
The study examined 50 books by Dr. Seuss and found 43 out of the 45 characters of color have “characteristics aligning with the definition of Orientalism,” an offensive portrayal of Asians. The Asian characters are described in one book as ‘helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant’ from ‘countries no one can spell,'” the study authors wrote.
The two “African” characters, the study cited, both have anti-Black characteristics, often depicting them as aggressive.
Despite the obvious instances of racism, his books have remained popular, earning an estimated $33 million before taxes in 2020. Forbes listed him No. 2 on its highest-paid dead celebrities of 2020, coming in just behind the late pop star Michael Jackson.
Random House Children’s Books, Dr. Seuss’ publisher, issued a brief statement about the decision to stop publishing these six books: “We respect the decision of Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) and the work of the panel that reviewed this content last year, and their recommendation.”