Timothy Nguyen ’23
Dr. Seuss is arguably the most well-known poet in the modern world. With a variety of best-sellers, such as The Cat in the Hat, and Green Eggs and Ham, he has made a name for himself as a brilliant author for children. His rhymes and storytelling skills are some of the best, and his ability to write these stories with a limited pool of words fascinated many. In the past month, however, some of Dr. Seuss’ books have been accused of containing racial stereotypes, and so they have been removed from publication. The besmirching of Dr. Seuss’ name is grouped in by many as part of “cancel culture”, a sort of modern-day social exile.
On March 2nd 2021, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises revealed that they planned to cease publication and licensing of at least six of Dr Seuss’ books: 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 main reason cited was that, after much deliberation on behalf of the enterprise, it had been agreed upon that much of the imagery in these books had racist, and even white supremacist themes. For instance, the book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street contained an illustration of an Asian male with slanted eyes, a common and hurtful stereotype. Many people had hoped that the removal of these books from publication would lead to newly released and edited versions, which would remove these problematic aspects.
The thought that Dr. Seuss could even experience cancel culture is appalling and shocking. It brings up many questions regarding the limits of such a thing as cancel culture, and the impact that it could have on something as highly regarded as literature. It brings up questions on the impact that it could have on the world. Should authors allow their works to be continuously changed to fit with the evolving social attitudes? Is everyone a possible victim of cancel culture? Did Dr. Seuss purposely incorporate immoral concepts, such as racism and white supremacy, in his children’s books? With this incident concerning Dr. Seuss and cancel culture, it has become apparent that cancel culture is an important topic of discussion in the present-day.. Whether the existence of cancel culture is desirable in today’s society or not, is something that you must decide for yourself.