Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced Tuesday that it stop publishing some titles that include “hurtful” portrayals of cultural stereotypes.
Last year, after consulting educators and other experts, the company that manages the author’s work decided to discontinue six titles, which 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”.
‘These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,’ Dr. Seuss Enterprises, a division of Random House Children’s Books and Penguin Random House, said in a statement.
The announcement comes on what would have been American children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel’s 117th birthday. The famed author, who has sold hundreds of millions of books across the globe, has been criticized for his racist depictions of people of color.
The announcement also comes as corporate and sports worlds have had to reexamine their use of racial images and stereotypes amid a societal reckoning on race and equality following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in May 2020.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ announcement comes on national “Read Across America Day”, which has been celebrated in conjunction with Dr. Seuss’s birthday since its inception in 1998, to champion reading for U.S. children.
The National Education Association attempted in the past years to disentangle the day from Dr. Seuss and celebrate “a nation of diverse readers”. Unlike past presidents, Biden did not mention Dr. Seuss when he gave his “Read Across America Day” proclamation earlier this week.
Before his work as a children’s author, Geisel penned scores of racist ads and political cartoons that included racial slurs and that depicted Black people as savages in grass skirts, Asian people with slits for eyes and Middle Eastern characters wearing turbans and riding camels. In college, he wrote a minstrel show and performed it in blackface.