How many books does Dr. Seuss published
Do they promote racism? Books by America's most famous children's author are no longer published
Dr. Every child in the USA is familiar with Seuss. His estate administration is now withdrawing works because of drawings intended to promote “white supremacy”.
Dr. Seuss ’children's books have a huge following in the United States, including presidents. In 2015, Barack Obama still raved about book classics such as “The Cat in the Hat” or “The Sneetches”. In a speech at the White House, he said the works made him a better, more empathetic person.
In fact, pretty much every American child grows up with "The Grinch" or Sam-I-am from "Green Eggs and Ham". The little ones are enthusiastic about the rhyme structure of the books, the free play with words, the feeling of “anything is possible” - cats with hats or green eggs with ham. The gaudy Dr. Seuss figures can be found everywhere; They are used to paint walls in primary schools, and characters like Thing 1 and Thing 2 from “The Cat in the Hat” make popular Halloween costumes.
Until his death in 1991, Dr. Seuss nearly sixty books full of wondrous adventures. Born in 1904 as Theodor Seuss Geisel, he died as one of the richest Americans. But now this story is being rewritten. At the start of a traditional week-long reading promotion initiative in American schools that is presented to Dr. Seuss ’birthday begins, his estate administration published a statement. At least six of Dr. Seuss' books, written between 1931 and 1990, will no longer be published in the future. They represent “people of color” in a way that is “hurtful and wrong”.
So far, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”, “If I Ran the Zoo”, “McElligot’s Pool”, “On Beyond Zebra!”, “Scrambled Eggs Super!” Are affected. and "The Cat’s Quizzer". It is about “ensuring that the catalog from Dr. Seuss Enterprises represents and supports all communities and families, ”it also says.
The decision of Dr. Seuss Enterprise was preceded by increasing public pressure and an academic essay published in 2019: “The Cat is out of the Bag: Orientalism, Anti-Blackness, and White Supremacy in Dr. Seuss’s Children's Books ”. Most of Dr. According to the authors, Seuss ’books propagate“ white supremacy ”, since 98 percent of all characters are white and male. The 2 percent of the “people of color”, on the other hand, are “presented in submissive, exoticizing or dehumanized roles”. Dr. Seuss ’books are also chauvinistic, women and girls of any color are almost completely absent in the entire work.
Child of his time
As early as 2017, the American Teachers' Association was skeptical about the continued inclusion of Dr. Seuss ’books in the curriculum. In fact, “If I Ran the Zoo” shows two African natives in bast skirts, carrying a bird on a litter. "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street" shows Chinese people with very narrow eyes and chopsticks in hand, in "McElligot’s Pool" there is the "Eskimo fish".
But the drawings are humorous and affectionate, not malicious. In Dr. Seuss' books have no place for humiliation or malice, but gentle mockery does. And this is also aimed at "white" characters that Seuss portrayed as lanky and simple, in baggy clothes, with silly pigtails and strange hats.
One thing is clear: Theodor Seuss Geisel was a child of his time. The first sound film, "The Jazz Singer" (1927), which marked the end of the silent film, showed the Jewish comedian Al Jolson with black make-up. One of Geisel's favorite books was Peter Newell's "The Hole Book" (1908), in which you can find the stereotypical black "Mammy", a submissively stupid domestic worker figure. At his high school in Springfield, Massachusetts, Geisel also wrote the minstrel show "Chicopee Surprised," in which he appeared as an African American. Only later did he call himself Dr. Seuss; the pseudonym should mark a turning point, the distancing from racist stereotype.
Serenity would be required
In 1951, Dr. Seuss wrote the anti-fascist parable “Yertle the Turtle”, in 1953 the anti-Semitism-critical essay “The Sneetches”. An essay from 1952 criticized racist humor in the harshest terms. Children laughed differently, he wrote there, more uninhibited, more joyful, more innocent than adults. Unfortunately, they would pass on fun-free and biased humor to children: “They begin to laugh at people whom their families fear or despise - people to whom they feel inferior or superior. (...) They learn to laugh when adults tell stories in which Swedes are stupid or Scots stingy, English people petty and Mexicans don't wash. "
Not everything that touches bad or malicious today was meant that way or has to be understood that way. Old pictorial or linguistic representations of skin color or "race" - whether they are with Dr. Seuss can be found in “Huckleberry Finn” or “Pippi in Taka-Tuka-Land” - they can be forbidden. But that does not solve the problem of the present, it does not prevent racism. Only the critical and halfway relaxed reading on can defuse and banish.
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