Dr. Seuss books containing racist remarks


Dr. Seuss was an American children’s author, poet, illustrator, political cartoonist, filmmaker and animator. He is known for creating the most popular and memorable children’s books. 

His most popular books are The Cat In The Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, One fish two fish red fish blue fish and Oh the Places You’ll Go

These books as well as their author soon faced much backlash as time passed. Parents and other adults were alarmed by the controversial words.

    Recently, Dr. Seuss’s family spoke out and said that they were going to stop printing multiple of his books because “it portrays people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” After the Dr. Seuss estate announced this, many conservatives have said Dr. Seuss is the most recent victim of ‘cancel culture.’ Many of his books were updated before being published to the public to remove many racist Illustrations, so a lot of people haven’t seen the original books.

In the 1950 book “If I Ran the Zoo” Dr. Seuss displays many stereotypical and racist images. 

One image that got a lot of attention shows an offensive distortion of Africans wearing grass skirts, being barefoot and dehumanized to be seen as monkeys. “I think this picture is completely wrong and racist, especially because many people look at black people as monkeys,” senior Sirena Clemons said. 

At the time when Dr. Seuss was writing his books, stereotypes like this were normalized. “Although these pictures were racist, back then this was okay, he probably saw nothing wrong with this,” senior Zariyah Brown said. 

These allegations of Dr. Seuss’s work being racist is not new. 

Many librarians knew about this issue for a long time, but removing books goes against what libraries stand for. Since a library’s purpose is to enlighten and inform people in the community, removing a book is completely unacceptable. 

In Dr. Seuss’s museum, located in Massachusetts, one of the morals showed an Asian man with chopsticks. 

This caused many protests, leading to it getting removed.

This image depicts three Asian men wearing wooden sandals carrying a bamboo cage, with a white boy wielding a gun on top of the cage. The rhyme on this page quotes “I’ll hunt in the mountains of Zomba-ma-Tant / With helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant.” 

The words shown on this page could really upset several people, especially those who have been criticized and bullied for their physical appearance. “When it says ‘wear their eyes at a slant’ I felt incredible shock and anger,” junior Taylor Nuggen said. “Asian people get mocked so much for their eyes especially as I was growing up.”

“It’s insensitive and allows kids reading these books to think that It’s okay to mock people for their eyes and things like this is exactly why we face so much hate growing up, children shouldn’t be raised to think commenting on anyone’s appearance is okay,” Nuggen said. 

The book And to Think I saw it on Mulberry Street contains racism against Arabs and Asians. 

This illustration shows a yellow skinned man with slanted lines as eyes, a pigtail and conical hat, holding chopsticks and a bowl of rice, on top of the words “a Chinese boy who eats with sticks.”

40 years after this book was published, Dr. Seuss removed the yellow skin and the Pigtail. He also changed the words to “A Chinese man” instead of “A Chinese boy.” 

“Growing up as an Asian American wasn’t easy, especially when I’d take chopsticks to school for my packed lunches and get made fun of for it,” Nuggen says. 

These are pictures that young children are exposed to and could really affect them and their outlook on themselves because these books are so popular.

It’s really disheartening to see an author who I loved so much growing up deliberately take an image and make fun of it as a boy eating with sticks like he’s 3 some primitive human,” Nuggen says.

There has been a Seussical play at AHS in the past years. One of the books shown in the Seussical is the book And to Think I saw it on Mulberry Street which is one of the books that was pulled from printing for being cruel to other races. “I think it’s really messed up that we still have Seussical plays at our school considering that he [Dr. Seuss] is making racist remarks,” Clemons said. 

Overall, Dr. Seuss was not ‘cancelled’ considering that he has already passed away. The only things that were ‘cancelled’ are the 6 books that had racist remarks in them.