No One is Cancelling Dr. Seuss. Calm Down.


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Claire Weltz, Opinion Writer

I’m one of those kids who was an obsessive reader. If I had less than one hundred pages left in a book, I’d bring another along to make sure I wasn’t stranded without reading material. My love of reading started early, and a pivotal author in that journey was Dr. Seuss. It wasn’t enough for me to be able to simply read his rhymes but to also spit them out as fast as possible and integrate the words into my vocabulary. With Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the board which oversees the publications of the late author, announcing that they would “cease publication and licensing” of six titles, Theodor Seuss Geisel has come under fire for racially insensitive illustrations and language. Of the six titles, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street and If I Ran the Zoo are the most widely known. The group stated that the reason for the discontinuation was due to the “hurtful and wrong” portrayal of people.  


Dr. Seuss lived in a time of extreme racial profiling. Born in 1904, he lived through both World Wars, the Korean War, the Cold War, the civil rights movements of the sixties, and the Vietnam Conflict. Considering that those major historical events are based on ethnocentrism, it’s no wonder he held racist views and utilized minorities as the punch lines of his humor. Dr. Seuss also created wartime propaganda cartoons for the New York Times in the 1940s. However, not all of the author’s experiences were rooted in profiting off of racial and cultural differences. Dr. Seuss published The Sneetches in opposition to anti-Semitism and The Lorax for environmental awareness. In addition to this, he also edited his works to redraw certain offense cartoons or remove specific words. Since his death in 1991, Dr. Seuss Enterprises has made several revisions, but ending the publishing of certain titles had not been done until recently.  


Dr. Seuss isn’t being canceled. The group who control his works have decided what is most profitable for his legacy, and that includes eliminating harmful stereotypes from his library. Dr. Seuss Enterprises is a business and will make more money off of publicity from this conversation than they will lose for discontinuing six relatively obscure titles. Many teachers I know have written lengthy posts on social media stating how works in question are a learning opportunity for kids and a tool for conversations about race. Of course, there is truth in this line of thinking, but there are other pieces of literature that can fill that criteria. There is no one trying to cancel Dr. Seuss. The only agenda behind this decision is to run a business in a way that appeals to the public, or maybe Dr. Seuss Enterprises truly is committed to eliminating racism in children’s literature. I can’t determine that, but to act like liberals are out to cancel everyone is complete garbage. Calm down.  


Claire Weltz is a Dakota Student Opinion Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]