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Dr Seuss books 'hurtful'

(17 Posts)
FarNorth Sat 06-Mar-21 13:04:16

6 Dr Seuss books are being withdrawn because of hurtful racist stereotypes.

Baggs Sat 06-Mar-21 13:31:44

One of the apparently bad stereotypes is of a Chinese boy wearing a conical hat and holding chopsticks. I'm not familiar with that particular book but apparently part of the rhyme is "eats with sticks".

Not all stereotypes are bad. In fact, most have arisen because of usefulness in conveying information. Conical hats and chopsticks are, and even more so were when the book was written, typical of Chinese culture. I always ate with chopsticks when I worked in Thailand (also a very Chinese society in many ways).

A Chinese person I follow on Twitter posted the other day: "I eat with sticks."

Would Westerners be hurt if an Asian person wrote a rhyiming book that included phrases like "eats with cutlery", "eats with metal tools", etc?

The difference was, and is, an interesting difference between cultures. Commenting on it should not be seen as hurtful, especially as I'm sure it wasn't intended that way but just as an illustration.

I'd be interested to know who exactly decided such things were hurtful. Something about the extremes of Wokeness suggests to me that it probably wasn't Chinese people.

Baggs Sat 06-Mar-21 13:32:17

PS I'm not saying all wokeness is bad, just that some of it is silly in my opinion.

Aveline Sat 06-Mar-21 13:38:18

I agree Baggs

Alegrias1 Sat 06-Mar-21 13:52:15

Well I just about got my breath back after reading that defence of racial stereotyping, so I thought I'd post this.

This is what stereotyping gets you.

FannyCornforth Sat 06-Mar-21 13:55:59

But his books are just full of playful silliness. Not an unkind or harmful word in them. Quite the opposite.
I don't usually get worked up by this sort of thing, but it's just so bloody joyless isn't it?

Doodledog Sat 06-Mar-21 14:23:25

*For example, in And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, a character described as Chinese has two lines for eyes, carries chopsticks and a bowl of rice, and wears traditional Japanese-style shoes.
Another title, If I Ran the Zoo, depicts two men from Africa as shirtless, shoeless and wearing grass skirts as they carry an exotic animal.*

This is not, IMO, appropriate for the 2020's, and I have no problem with images like this being withdrawn, or just altered to make them more sensitive.

I don't see it as 'cancel' culture at all (that is far more invidious, I think), but more on the lines of no longer playing with golly dolls.

FannyCornforth Sat 06-Mar-21 14:26:59

Doodledog I think that alteration as you suggest is perhaps the way forward.
I'm sure that Dr Seuss would not want to cause offence.

FarNorth Sat 06-Mar-21 14:32:10

It is Dr Seuss Enterprises which has decided not to publish these particular books any more.

BlueBelle Sat 06-Mar-21 14:57:23

The same with Enid Blyton with her ‘smacking teddy very hard’ and ‘mother smoking in the kitchen’ they are books of their time Dr Seuss has many books with a big meaning behind them that are great teaching of morals for young children it would be a shame to lose them
Anything racist could be change, removed I don’t think dr Seuss would ever want to be considered racist it would be a loss to literacy to lose them all It seems by farnorths link that’s exactly what they are doing

I wonder how long before the Mr Men books are on the list Mr nosey (judgemental) or Mr skinny( body shaming) Mr nonsense (mental health) mr Tickle (possible child abuse)

FarNorth Sat 06-Mar-21 15:12:22

I hope we don't start seeing things like this Danish children's cartoon involving a man with a long, naughty penis.

Aveline Sat 06-Mar-21 15:15:21

And no more Mr Potato head. ?

Missfoodlove Sat 06-Mar-21 15:22:35

Our boys adored Tin Tin, I cannot believe how dreadful they are, we dug some out recently..... I’m far from woke but I was shocked.

GrannyGear Sun 04-Apr-21 14:24:08

I'm no expert on Dr Seuss and I've not read the books that are going to be withdrawn, but I can't help feeling that sales of these "banned" books will rocket as they become collectors items valued because no longer available.
Perhaps I am just being cynical.

Lollin Sun 04-Apr-21 15:18:15

You have to admit some old things are okay and still amusing or entertaining. However you must admit some old things are absolutely awful, some cringe-worthy and some actually shock me and have made me realise why I never thought it possible to question things. An example - I used to cringe at the Benny Hill sketches and mother-in-law jokes and couldn’t quite understand why others especially women would laugh. Of watching snippets of old programmes and being older I can see how it was harmless fun and I was just over sensitive. My adult children however see it very differently.

GrannyGear Mon 05-Apr-21 10:20:37

I loved The Lorax smile

GagaJo Mon 05-Apr-21 12:14:53


It is Dr Seuss Enterprises which has decided not to publish these particular books any more.

Exactly. Which is exactly how it should be handled. Saying, that was then, this is now. Times have changed for the better.

I remember being a nanny at a very posh house in London in the 1980's. The 2 year old had a book on her bookcase, 'Little Black S**bo'. I am white and I was 17 at the time, but I was horrified and threw it out, without telling the parents. They should have known better.