On March 1, 2021, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that they would stop publishing 6 books by the famed author. Their reasons were simple. They viewed some of the depictions in those books as racially insensitive and unfit for publication. Their goal was cemented in good intentions but many conservatives, laymen, and politicians alike, cried foul.
Woke Gone Wild
Cancel Culture is to blame, according to Republicans across the country. They say this is just another example of far-left politics getting its hooks into the mainstream and taking something good out of existence. They are pointing fingers at liberals and claiming this is just one more step towards socialism. But their facts have hardly been accurate.
Only 6 Books Removed From Publication
One major omission from conservative pundits and politicians is that this decision only involves 6 of Dr. Seuss’s books. Seuss wrote 60 books in his lifetime, so 54 of his books are still in publication. And he remains extremely popular, not canceled. He’s the second highest-earning deceased celebrity, trailing only Michael Jackson.
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.”
Liberals are Not to Blame
Conservatives are unapologetically pointing a finger at an overall liberal agenda and crusade that they say is meant to silence and control free speech in America. However, this decision was not made by liberal politicians or activists. This was a thoughtful decision made by Dr. Seuss Enterprises itself.
After examining Seuss’s works to determine if racial undertones were utilized in the art and/or storytelling, they stated, “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong”. Furthermore, “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”.
Fascism, Free Speech, and False Narratives
Some have stated this is a leftist form of fascism and that free speech is under attack. Where these criticisms miss the mark is that fascism is a philosophy built about an authoritarian system of control, generally by one party that utilizes the government and military to execute this control.
Considering that this decision was made by the author’s own legacy publications company, it is more accurately stated that this was a business decision made by a private company that decided this without the influence of a dictator or government input.
However, conservatives have not relented their attacks online nor in Washington. Many hours have been spent the last week, occupying the microphone on the floor of the House and Senate, opining about the loss of freedom and the dangers of socialism because of this decision.
Senator Ted Cruz(R) from Texas even took time to read “Green Eggs and Ham” to his colleagues to show his frustration regarding Cancel Culture. Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, read the same book on his social media outlets to show support for Seuss and free speech.
But these attempts inflate the false narrative that the country is in jeopardy of losing its core values due to these books not being published any further. They also avoid the historical truth that Dr. Seuss drew cartoons for print and other works that were blatantly racist. This is an unpleasant reality, but one that Dr. Seuss Enterprises is fully aware of.
Decision Not Made in a Vacuum
“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,” they stated.
The debate will continue, regarding the value of Seuss Enterprise’s decision. And as we consume the various narratives we’re seeing online and in cable news, it’s important to start with the facts so we can make educated opinions.