Recalling Rhymes: Cancelling Dr. Seuss


In today’s world, everybody has to walk on eggshells with their actions to protect their careers. No one is safe from what is known as “cancel culture,” which calls people out or threatens to destroy careers for perceived slights, insults, and racism/sexism. The victims of cancel culture can range from actors, singers, social media stars, to even athletes.

But now, people have gone as far as cancelling children’s books for potential racism. The late author Dr. Seuss is being criticized for potentially racist imagery in his books. Six books, including And To Think I Saw That On Mulberry Street, will be no longer produced and pulled from shelves due to perceived racism. 

His books contain many illustrations and rhyming words that include racism that flew over the heads of many until recently. For example, in his book If I Ran The Zoo, he includes characters portrayed as Africans who wear no clothes except for grass skirts and are drawn with ape-like features. This situation isn’t the only instance of possible racism. In another book by Dr. Seuss titled And To Think I Saw That On Mulberry Street, there is a character called “Chinaman” who is written to “eat with sticks” and has been illustrated with Asian features.

Sadly, these parts of the books have been overlooked for years and they are finally being brought to the public’s attention. These images and portrayals entertain racist stereotypes that are being implanted in the minds of children. These stereotypes are being introduced to children at such a young age that once they grow up, kids will perhaps start to believe them. Teachers believe that “these books are hurtful to children’s knowledge and hurtful to most races.” 

What action do we take to make this right? People have decided it is mandatory that they stop printing and stocking the six titles that display racism. Titles like Cat In The Hat have been picked apart for racist and stereotypical elements of the book, but will continue to be sold as it was in the past.

This is only the beginning of picking out the problems and racism in children’s books, shows, and items and soon many more items directed toward young kids will be recalled from shelves to create a better society. Is this for the best?  Time will tell, and surely opinions will vary.