Dr. Seuss a racist?

A school librarian in Boston rejected a box of Dr. Seuss books sent from First Lady Melania Trump, saying Dr. Seuss’s work was “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes”

The librarian also stated that President Donald Trump’s policies were hurting the poor, saying “School libraries around the country are being shuttered.”

this-was-an-ad-for-flit-a-brand-of-insect-repellent
This was an ad for Flit, a brand of insect repellent drawn and written by Dr. Seuss

These racist allegations against Dr. Suess, who’s real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, were new to me but after some quick investigation I found that they were spot on.  From the 1920s to the 1940s long before “Green eggs and ham” Dr. Suess worked in advertising and drew political cartoons. His work promoted racist images and stereotypes that were more commonplace in American society.

many-of-these-drawings-are-from-the-collection-of-the-springfield-library-and-museums-association
Another advertisement for Flint penned by Dr Seuss

When telling the story on one’s life I think it is important to always try and tell the entire story and not sugarcoat anything.

seuss-inveighed-against-the-japanese-in-his-political-cartoons-during-world-war-ii-he-drew-them-bucktoothed-with-squinty-eyes

Seuss’s racist rants weren’t only at black people but he also called out Jews and Japanese.

you-can-see-in-this-cartoon-that-seuss-changed-his-mind-about-racial-hiring-quotas-by-the-end-of-the-war

Later on in his career his views seemed to soften and he attempted to use his gift to reverse some of the damage he had done but the sad and great thing about art is it will be here forever. Dr. Seuss is dead but Flint insect repellent is still alive and well and should be just as embarrassed about having promoted these images as Dr Seuss seemed to be towards the end of his life.

 

 

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