On the day of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises released a statement that the company will stop the sale and publication of six books that "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong."
"Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families," the statement reads.
"We are committed to action. To that end, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, working with a panel of experts, including educators, reviewed our catalog of titles and made the decision last year to cease publication and licensing of the following titles."
The six books 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."
There is an extensive history of Dr. Seuss publishing racist and anti-Semitic cartoons, including in Dartmouth’s humour magazine, Jack-O-Lantern, in the 1920s.
A study by Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens, published in 2019, titled "The Cat is Out of the Bag: Orientalism, Anti-Blackness, and White Supremacy in Dr. Seuss's Children's Books," assessed 50 Dr. Seuss books and looked at how character are depicted, and themes within his work. They found that he published works "dehumanizing and degrading Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and people from other marginalized groups (including Jewish people and Muslims)."
It also found the of the 45 characters of colour, 43 are have "characteristics aligning with the definition of Orientalism" and "most iconic books feature animal or non-human characters that transmit Orientalist, anti-Black, and White supremacist messaging through allegories and symbolism."
The topic featured on The View Tuesday morning, with the panel discussing whether the books should be pulled.
"I do not like erasing art, I do not think it's wise or smart, that is my position, "Joy Behar said on the show.
"I think that these books are teaching tools... If I were teaching a class now I would bring them right into the class so that people can see what he was thinking. Do you think it's racist? Is it racist? Is it anti-Semitic? Let's discuss it. If you eliminate these books, if you take things away, there is no way to discuss what's in the book."
"I always believe that you should include in the book, here's what this is," Whoopi Goldberg said.
"I say, you know, put it in the front, this book was written at a time when people thought this was OK. We no longer think that's OK and that's why we're letting you know... I feel like people don't have to be so crazed that they think they have to eliminate everything. What you have to do is acknowledge it's there."
Following the announcement, people took to social media to react to the news, many supporting the decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises.