• Richard Easson

Publishing of Dr. Seuss Books Stopped Over “Racial Undertones” on Read Across America Day

Today, on Read Across America Day, one that coincides with Dr. Seuss’s birthday and promotes reading, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it would discontinue the publishing of six of the late author’s books over growing concerns that the titles include “racial undertones.”

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the announcement read. “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”

The titles to be discontinued include “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.”

The decision to discontinue the production of the named titles came last year after months of discussion. The statement from the company said, “Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles.”

To point out some examples that contributed to the decision to discontinue publishing include in “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” an Asian person is portrayed wearing a conical hat and eating from a bowl with chopsticks.

“If I Ran the Zoo” includes a drawing of two bare-footed African men wearing grass skirts and their hair tied above their heads.

Various school districts across the country have already reacted and began banning the books.

In the wake of the newly surfaced controversy, in his proclamation on Read Across America Day, something traditionally given every March 2nd since the day’s inception in 1998 by the President of the United States, Biden left out any mentioned of Dr. Seuss. His predecessors, Donald Trump and Barack Obama, did mention Seuss in their proclamations.

The news of the abrupt discontinuation of publishing the mentioned titles caused a frenzy on eBay this morning.

A 1955 edition of “On Beyond Zebra!” caught a leading bid at $670 after being listed less than a day ago for $14.99.

A copy of “The Cat’s Quizzer” from 1976 is now going for $510 after being listed yesterday for only $9.99.

Copies of the other titles are also fetching offers in the hundreds of dollars after being listed for $10 or less only days ago.

The mass-banning of anything that could be considered to have a “racist undertone” began last summer in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests across the country. Companies such as PepsiCo Inc. and Mars Inc. said that they would retire or change their Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s brands, respectfully, due to what many believe to be racist depictions. Other popular brands and images followed suit.

You can bet that the banning and cancellation of anything thought to be remotely racist, even if it’s far from, is only going to grow under a progressive Biden-Harris administration.