Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22308 – 792:
Here’s the haps:
Sixteen years ago I wrote a post called, “Which Books Should Be Banned?” In that post I described the processes that should be undertaken if a particular book is considered offensive. Now, I read where Dr. Seuss’s publishing company, which is owned and operated by his family, has decided to discontinue publishing six of his books. They apparently went to great lengths to find out what material was offensive in his books. I owned and have read two of the books to my kids over the years. It never came into my mind that there was anything offensive in them. It is probably a smart business decision on their part, however, to take a proactive approach to what could become a volatile situation. The Washington Football team could have done the same thing and been ahead of the game.
But books and sports teams are very different and I wonder if this is the best approach, however, to deal with the offensive images in these books. Couldn’t we use the pictures as talking/teaching points? “Do you think all Asian people look like this? Do you think all African people look like that?” You can find the same images in National Geographic. Was Seuss a racist? I don’t think so or if he was he had grown up and learned better by the time he wrote The Sneetches. While it’s true that he did do a number of cartoon advertisements that contained racial stereotypes, that wasn’t all that he did.
I guess that this was something that was going to come up eventually so who better to deal with it than the family? A couple of articles I found interesting about the man, Theodor Geisel were, DR. SEUSS USE OF RACIST IMAGES and Dr. Seuss’ great-nephew calls museum mural removal ‘extreme,’ criticism ‘a lot of hot air over nothing’.