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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Dr Seuss cancelled: Six books to cease publication over racist, insensitive portrayal

    Dr Seuss cancelled: Six books to cease publication over racist, insensitive portrayals

    Six iconic children’s books by Dr Seuss are getting the axe – years after academics pointed out some of their racist and outdated imagery.

    Natalie Wolfe
    natwolfe94

    MARCH 3, 20219:11AM



    If I Ran The Zoo.Source:Supplied



    Six Dr Seuss titles will be pulled from publication in response to ongoing backlash against racist and insensitive imagery said to be in them.
    Dr Seuss Enterprises, the company that protects and preserves the late author’s legacy, said today it would cease publication of six 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 company made the decision after listening to feedback from teachers and academics, who have studied the children’s books and their potential impact on a diverse society.













    And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street was first published in 1937.Source:Supplied

    RELATED: Dr Seuss celebration dropped after books found to have ‘racial undertones’
    Famed children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel died in 1991. His books have since become some of the most popular children’s books in the world, with more than 600 million copies sold globally.
    His popularity means his estate continues to earn millions of dollars each year, with Forbes listing him as the second highest-paid dead celebrity in 2020, with earnings of $33 million.
    “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the company said.
    “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr Seuss Enterprises’ catalogue represents and supports all communities and families.”
    And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, the first children’s book from Dr Seuss, which was published in 1937, depicts an illustration of a “Chinese man with sticks”, who has two lines for eyes and is holding chopsticks and a bowl.
    If I Ran The Zoo (first published in 1950) has two men in the book, described as African men, who are wearing grass skirts, are barefoot and have their hair in knots.

    If I Ran The Zoo, 1950.Source:Supplied

    The dropping of the six books comes as a school district in the US announced it would shift its focus away from Dr Seuss after a study found the popular children’s books displayed “harmful and stereotypical Orientalist tropes”.
    The Loudoun school system, in the US state of Virginia, triggered the debate after it revealed it had called on its institutions to promote a more diverse group of books to kids.
    Read Across America Day is held on March 2 each year, the birthday of Dr Seuss.
    But a study from 2019 shed a different light on the author’s books, revealing only 45 of the more than 2200 human characters in 50 of Dr Seuss’ books were people of colour.
    Of those 45 characters, 43 showed behaviour that had harmful, racist undertones.

    What do you think of Dr. Seuss' books being banned?

    It's ridiculous! People need to stop reading into things

    It's a fair call, but plenty of classics would be the same

    I think they have definitely done the right thing!

    Addressing the controversy, Loudoun schools spokesman Wayde Byard said they were not banning the books, but simply shifting to a more diverse pool of literature.
    “Dr Seuss books have not been banned in Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS). LCPS believes that rumour started because March 2 is ‘Read Across America’ day,” Mr Byard told The Washington Post.
    “Schools in LCPS, and across the country, have historically connected Read Across America Day with Dr Seuss’ birthday.
    “Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr Seuss.
    “Given this research, and LCPS’ focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction, LCPS has provided guidance to schools in the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day with Dr Seuss’ birthday exclusively.
    “We want to encourage our young readers to read all types of books that are inclusive and diverse and reflective of our student community, not simply celebrate Dr Seuss.
    “Dr Seuss and his books are no longer the emphasis of Read Across America Day.
    “That being said, Dr Seuss books have not been banned; they are still available to students in our libraries and classrooms.”

    American author Theodor Seuss Geisel.Source:News Corp Australia

    Dr Seuss has been the face of Read Across America for more than two decades but schools are increasingly moving away from the books.
    The 2019 study, titled “The Cat is Out of the Bag: Orientalism, Anti-Blackness, and White Supremacy in Dr Seuss’s Children’s Books”, found “white supremacy is seen through the centring of whiteness and white characters, who comprise 98 per cent of all characters”.
    “Notably, every character of colour is male. Males of colour are only presented in subservient, exotified, or dehumanised roles,” the report added.
    “This also remains true in their relation to white characters.
    “Most startling is the complete invisibility and absence of women and girls of colour across Seuss’ entire children’s book collection.
    “In addition, some of Dr Seuss’ most iconic books feature animal or non-human characters that transmit orientalist, anti-black, and white supremacist messaging through allegories and symbolism.”
    The National Education Association, which created Read Across America Day, moved to “celebrating a nation of diverse readers” from 2017.
    Dr Seuss books have increasingly been in the news over the years.
    In 2017, the librarian at Cambridgeport Elementary School, in the US state of Massachusetts, rejected a gift of Dr Seuss books from then-First Lady Melania Trump.
    Librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro said the illustrations were “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes”.
    “You may not be aware of this, but Dr Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature,” she said at the time.
    “Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”

    https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/books-magazines/books/dr-seuss-cancelled-six-books-to-cease-publication-over-racist-insensitive-portrayals/news-story/2babca85598c05a6b2938f20e448e7f8



  2. #2
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with that . . . but brace yourselves for the inevitable 'whine-assault' from those who are whining about others' whining.



    "Asian characters are described by Dr. Seuss in the text as “helpers that all wear their eyes at a slant" from “countries no one can spell”."











    , but in his books as well . . . no biggie. 6 out of 60 books . . . different times that don't need to be brought into today.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    I'm surpised it took that long, tbh.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    Addressing the controversy, Loudoun schools spokesman Wayde Byard said they were not banning the books, but simply shifting to a more diverse pool of literature.
    “Dr Seuss books have not been banned in Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS). LCPS believes that rumour started because March 2 is ‘Read Across America’ day,” Mr Byard told The Washington Post.
    A minor point that the offended brigade will miss...

  4. #4
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Dodgy looking bloke.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Historian uncovers Dr. Seuss's complicated history as a political cartoonist


    He was progressive in some ways but not when it came to his depiction of Japanese people, says Richard Minear

    CBC Radio · Posted: Mar 06, 2020 5:41 PM ET | Last Updated: March 7, 2020



    Dr Seuss, whose real name is Theodor Seuss Geisel, sits at his drafting table in his home office in La Jolla, Calif., on April 25, 1957. (Gene Lester/Getty Images)


    Richard Minear was worried when he first met Audrey Geisel.
    It was 2001, and the historian and author was about to give a presentation on Geisel's late husband Theodor Seuss Geisel — better known as the beloved children's author and illustrator Dr. Seuss, who would have celebrated his 116th birthday this week.
    It was two years after the release of his book Dr. Seuss Goes to War, which detailed his lesser-known career as a political cartoonist, who tackled issues such as racism, antisemitism and Adolf Hitler.
    "I was a little bit concerned going in," Minear said. "She showed up and sat in the front row, and I didn't pull my punches in the presentation."
    Geisel approached Minear after the presentation. She said it was "fascinating" and admitted that she had no idea about her late husband's past.
    "For her in 2001 not to know about this aspect of Seuss startled me," he told Day 6 host Brent Bambury.


    Audrey Geisel was the widow of famed children's book author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Even she didn't know about the author's past as a political cartoonist. (Reed Saxon/The Associated Press)
    But Geisel, who died in 2018, was not alone.
    For many generations of readers, Seuss was known for imaginative and colourful books like The Lorax and The Cat in the Hat, not tackling hot-button political topics.
    Some progressive stances, but racist Japanese depictions

    According to Minear, Seuss first started drawing political cartoons for a "liberal left New York newspaper" called PM from 1941 to 1943.
    "He was actually drawing almost a cartoon a day," he said.
    Europe was in the midst of the Second World War. Seuss, who was of German descent, focused a number of his early cartoons on related topics, such as Hitler and anti-Semitism.
    "What stands out in the early cartoons is that he takes a strong stand against anti-Semitism," he said. "That wasn't common among mainstream American newspapers ... so that's a major bright point of his legacy."





    Seuss was also critical of non-interventionists, including the America First Committee, a non-partisan pressure group who opposed intervening in the war.
    One of his most famous political cartoons depicts a mother reading a book about Adolf the Wolf, an obvious satire of Hitler.


    ... and the wolf chewed up the children and spit out their bones... but those were foreign children and it really didn't matter., October 1, 1941, Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons. (Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego)
    Minear also pointed to Seuss's sympathetic view of black Americans with one image dated 1942.
    "He has one cartoon of a U.S. War Industry building, surrounded by a maze," he said. "And if you enter the door, there's no way you can get to the factory. And over the door it says 'Negro Job Hunters Enter Here.'"


    The old run-around, June 26, 1942, Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons. (Special Collection & Archives, UC San Diego Library)
    Unfortunately, Minear said, Seuss did have an "Achilles heel": stereotypical and offensive portrayals of Japanese people.
    Unlike his diverse and varied portrayals of black Americans and Jews, Seuss used a "cookie-cutter face with a moustache and glass-bottle eyeglasses" to depict Japanese citizens and Japanese Americans, Minear said.
    "It's a very grim, very unhappy story.... Those cartoons are racism barely concealed."
    He described one specific cartoon published days before the internment of Japanese Americans in February 1942.



    "He had one cartoon that showed Japanese Americans — or his stereotypical Japanese — on the west coast ... marching down toward a bungalow," he said.
    "The guy in front of the bungalow is handing out bricks of TNT, and there's a fellow on the roof with a spyglass pointed across the Pacific."


    Waiting for the signal from home..., February 13, 1942, Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons. (Special Collection & Archives, UC San Diego Library)
    Minear suggested that Seuss likely had "very little contact, if any with Japanese or Japanese Americans," which might explain their portrayal.
    "These cartoons certainly demonstrate that ignorance," he said.
    Nonetheless, Minear says these "racist depictions" are a teachable moment.
    "Even Dr. Seuss — liberal and good on anti-black sentiment, good on antisemitism — even this guy was totally blind about the Asian side of the picture," he said.
    Impact on his post-war works

    Not long after publishing his final political cartoon in January 1943, Seuss joined the United States Army. With the rank of captain, he commanded the Animation Department of the Air Forces' First Motion Picture Unit.
    There, he wrote propaganda and military training films including Design for Death, which won an Academy Award,and the animated Private Snafu series, which starred Mel Blanc.

    Seuss's political themes also stretched into his post-war children's books. Minear points out the clear references to Japan in Horton Hears a Who, which was published after Seuss visited Japan in 1953.
    "[The passage] 'A person's a person no matter how small'" was "clearly a reference to Japan," he explained.
    "And, there's a [vulture] named Vlad Vladikoff [who represents] the Russians, and their monkeys, presumably representing Red China."
    He also mentions Yertle the Turtle, who initially "had a Hitler moustache," and the Sneetches from The Sneetches and Other Stories, who are a commentary on antisemitism due to the stars on some of their bellies.
    Seuss included these themes in his books because he believed that children's literature was an extension of satire.
    "Children's literature as I write it and as I see it is satire to a great extent – satirizing the mores and the habits of the world," he said.

    Written and produced by Mouhamad Rachini. To hear more from Richard Minear, download our podcast or click Listen above.
    You can access all of Dr. Seuss's political cartoons by visiting UC San Diego's Special Collections & Archives website.

    https://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/covid-19-and-nursing-homes-china-s-state-surveillance-the-political-dr-seuss-repopulating-fukushima-more-1.5486647/historian-uncovers-dr-seuss-s-complicated-history-as-a-political-cartoonist-1.5486654



  6. #6
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    We have some childrens educators here. So what classic English language books (but translations OK), that could broadly be described as literature (as opposed to doggerel, or Dr Seuss) are on the approved reading list for young minds between the ages of 7- 17 these days? Any authors I might have heard of will be rewarded with a green.

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    We have some childrens educators here. So what classic English language books (but translations OK), that could broadly be described as literature (as opposed to doggerel, or Dr Seuss) are on the approved reading list for young minds between the ages of 7- 17 these days? Any authors I might have heard of will be rewarded with a green.
    Harry Potter?

    Oh no, that upset the jesus wheezers

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    We have some childrens educators here. So what classic English language books (but translations OK), that could broadly be described as literature (as opposed to doggerel, or Dr Seuss) are on the approved reading list for young minds between the ages of 7- 17 these days? Any authors I might have heard of will be rewarded with a green.
    AA Milne might survive, maybe Michael Bond. No chance for Dahl, Blyton, Twain, Wilder, Kipling and Herge.

    (PS: Not a childrens educator)

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    No way- devil worship. I was thinking Dickens but nope- anti-semitic depictions.

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    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Dr. Seuss at his Finest

    Dr Seuss cancelled: Six books to cease publication over racist, insensitive portrayal-ewn__wzwgaitat-jpg
    Dr Seuss cancelled: Six books to cease publication over racist, insensitive portrayal-ewn__waxaam3xm_-1-jpg
    Dr Seuss cancelled: Six books to cease publication over racist, insensitive portrayal-ewn__wxwuaq9blp-jpg

  11. #11
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    Shame Seuss isn't still alive- he could provide a few cartoons for the current anti-Chinee hysteria.

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    • Slap / The Jap / With / Iron / Scrap : Burma-Shave

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    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Doubtless China was renowned for its broad minded enlightenment in those times.

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    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    Dr. Seuss at his Finest
    He was a product of his times, coming of age in the 20's and 30's and going through wars, besides he was probably at his finest when he later recanted and apologized for his earlier views and work.

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    Thailand Expat YourDaddy's Avatar
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    Too bad there wasn't twitter or teakdoor back then so we could be outraged

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    Personally as a teacher of young kids, (albeit mainly science), I'd use Dr Seuss, Dickens, Dahl etc etc, and point out that there are good and bad people in the world, and that when faced with the 'bad' ones, you should let the sticks and stones pass in one ear and out the other..... What's important for kids to understand is that people have different opinions, and some of these opinions may be distasteful, but their context should still be understood.

    I hate this white-washing of history, (am I allowed to say that?). Long after these wokes are dead and gone, kids will still love to read Dr Seuss, Dahl etc.
    Groping women when you're old is fine - everyone thinks you're senile

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    This will be next


  18. #18
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon43 View Post
    you should let the sticks and stones pass in one ear and out the other.....


    This seems to assume plenty of empty space on the journey.

  19. #19
    Neo Cameralist Backspin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Shame Seuss isn't still alive- he could provide a few cartoons for the current anti-Chinee hysteria.

    Yep. And Panama scat, 'Arry and all the other seppo supremacists would love it

  20. #20
    Neo Cameralist Backspin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YourDaddy View Post
    Too bad there wasn't twitter or teakdoor back then so we could be outraged

    It just depends on the target of the day. Today its ethnic Russians/slavs. This is from 2019

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Dr Seuss cancelled: Six books to cease publication over racist, insensitive portrayal-1-47ft7ofen8q4-zwqtyw0mg-jpeg  

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon43 View Post
    P

    I hate this white-washing of history, (am I allowed to say that?).
    First check what it means.

  22. #22
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Well, there was a time when it was only written by the victors and that was that.

    Nowadays there's an understanding amongst a lot of people that there are at least two sides to every story, and that reality is a little more nuanced.

    So far the 'losses' incurred from that long overdue leap of enlightenment have included a brand of Australian cheese that had dave fretting and a few cartoons previously apologised for by their creator.

    It seems to me that we're ahead.

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