Greetings and Salutations.
Recently, the Right-Wing has found something far more interesting than the Pandemic, or the spike in attacks on Asians in America caused by racist rhetoric about the source of Covid-19 to get all hot and bothered over. What is this burning issue? Dr. Seuss books! Recently, the Estate, which, of course, owns all rights to the books, decided that five of the sixty plus books that Dr. Seuss created had ethnic and racial stereotypes that were hurtful to the people depicted, and, so, decided to take these books out of print. In the past week or three since this was announced there has been a firestorm of protests from the fanatics on the Right. They have been screaming “Cancel Culture”, Censorship, and claiming that the books are not that bad. Their rants rank right up there with the screams of agony over removing the monuments honoring Confederate Generals from the Public Square…and are JUST as valid.
Over the past day or two, I have dropped into a dialogue on a Thrifter’s Group on Facebook. The Original Post was by RR, who was proud of the good deal she had gotten in finding a complete set of the Dr. Seuss book. Well, the thread drifted, as can happen…starting with someone making a snide remark about the Dr. Seuss books being censored. I dropped into the conversation for a bit, because I saw some amazingly blind remarks posted, that I could not ignore. I have quoted a section of the dialogue below, as a perfect example of the sort of systemic racism that is so embedded in American Society that it is invisible to many folks. I should note that EVERY one of the people in this thread are White, middle aged and apparently doing OK economically. The level of cluelessness exhibited by many of them is an excellent example of the points I raise in the comments about systemic racism and the cultural blindness that supports it. Oh yes, and one other point, as I indicate in my comments to LM, she IS very Blonde.
I happen to have read the Dr. Seuss books in question, and, in the day did not even consider that the caricatures in the images and words would be hurtful to folks…but in the day, I was also ignorant of the history of non-white people in America. This screaming about “Cancel Culture” is, of course, sketchy at best, and is little more than deflection by the Right-Wing fanatics who do not WANT the oppression of non-white citizens to be looked at.
LD: Dr Seuss isn’t banned, just not being published anymore. Don’t spread fake news.
LD: eBay and Amazon are taking down the listings and not allowing new listings of the “out of print” Dr. Seuss books.
MB: That doesn’t mean the books are banned, it means a private business decided you can’t use their platform to sell them. Businesses make policies all the time. Wedding cakes, for example.
LT: I did not say they were banned, I was just sharing information based on my experience.
MB: why are they out of print ??? Because the estate decided they were racist ..another cancel culture hit ..
NB: yes, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the official manager of books published under the moniker Dr. Seuss, announced Tuesday that it will no longer be publishing six Dr. Seuss titles because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
NB: Have you even LOOKED at the books in question? Apparently not because they do have a number of racist, ethnic stereotypes scattered through them. Even Ted Geisel was embarrassed by them in later years.
Or are you OK with pushing racist stereotypes, and taking the control of the books away from the descendants of the man who created them?
We are also talking about 5 books out of more than 60.
LT: equals new term: Digitally Banned
LM: As I pointed out, there are racially insensitive caricatures in the five books that have been taken out of print. The family decided that, instead of editing the books to remove the images and words, and replace them with less questionable content, to stop publishing them.
Your comment demonstrates the white privilege and systemic racism that is a huge problem today.
To try and make this clearer…You are blonde. How would you feel if all you heard were blonde jokes about how stupid you were? That you could not take more than half an hour for lunch, because management knows that any longer and you would have to be retrained; that you heard people laughing about how they could tell what computer you had used to type up a document because of the white-out on the screen…and on, and on and on….
Imagine hearing that every day for your entire life? And then, the first time you said you were tired of it, someone said “Wow…people are just too sensitive these days!”
Dave Mundt these books are not “pushing” anything. I get it, but let’s stop trying to change the past and worry about the future. People need to quit being so sensitive and use their “own” heads. I’m fine with the books being discontinued or whatever but I think there is a lot more hurtful racial things going on today that are overlooked than a few sentences out of hundred year old books.
Dave Mundt: funny I’m not white privilege or have systemic racism. This is ridiculous. These are books and taken to far… this cancel culture is taken to far
Not sure how this fits into my post …
LM: How many of the 6 books have you ever read? Many folks have never even read or heard of most of the six, but suddenly they are “SO important” now that the family has decided to stop publishing them. “Cancel Culture”– has nothing to do with these books being discontinued, it is a family business decision.
I have the whole series thank you and read them to my kids. They aren’t bad books
totally understand the sensitivities that some are feeling, but if we get rid of everything, we will have nothing. It’s super easy to find anything wrong with just about everything I think it’s important to keep in mind that kids use their imagination and they are not reading into things the way that many of us do when we get older. They are children. I really don’t like that my post is turning into a political or cultural issue. I’m merely sharing my find and my love for these old finds.
LM: I am referring to the Dr. Seuss books that are no longer being published, as mentioned above,, not the great find that the OP posted.
LM: Thank you for proving my point by not addressing my entire comment.
This thread has drifted far enough. I see you are hopeless…so I pray that one day, reality will dawn on you.
Beyond that, I am done.
JA: Ok..well, tell you what. If you can find an Asian person or a person of color that will talk to you, ask THEM what they think about the stereotypes in the books, and what it says about society…Oh yes, and perhaps, about their experiences in today’s society.
You, as a white guy, have NO CLUE what these folks go through.
Dave Mundt: thanks but it already has. You are the hopeless one
If y’all do not remember the books in question, here is a link to “If I Ran The Zoo” The racist content is minimal, true enough, and, if I had a choice, I would suggest to the Estate that they simply update the few, racist images and words to reflect a more inclusive world view. However, it is their decision to keep the books intact, apparently….
That having been said…the sort of societal blindness that some of the folks in the quoted thread exhibit demonstrates very clearly the roadblocks that non-whites have to overcome to be “equal” in this society. It is up to each of us to work to see those roadblocks are removed, as quickly as possible.
God Help Us All
Be safe, wear your mask, social distance, practice sanitation, and get your vaccination shot!
Bee Man Dave.