The Cease of Dr. Seuss Books: Book Burning or the Right Path?


Samiha Mahmood, Editor-In-Chief

On March 2nd, Dr. Seuss Enterprise (DSE) announced that they will stop publishing six Dr. Seuss books, including beloved “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo.” The content that was present in these pieces consist of an Asian person wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks, and eating from a bowl in “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” and a drawing of two bare-footed African men wearing grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads in “If I Ran the Zoo.” Those in support of this change have listened to the critiques of these books by pointing out the influence the stereotypical caricatures may have on youth. Those against this, claim how it is modern-day book burning, and how it is the result of “cancel culture.” In reality, what is more crucial is how we approach such topics in the first place. Are we trying to sugar-coat the reality of stereotypes by painting a pretty picture for children? Or are we going to use such material as examples of what not to do? Is this instance a product of cancel culture, or accountability? Re-thinking the way we see things from our very childhood is what leads to our growth. Comments such as “Oh, is everything racist now?” speak volumes, as some don’t realize that much of the media we consume indeed has problematic undertones. Picking those out to acknowledge them is not a matter of cancellation, but a step forward towards progress regarding our mindsets. It is also amusing when people paint such instances as a matter of “book burning,” which is a path towards ignorance, when in contrast, ignoring certain undertones in the very literature that children consume by using the excuse of, “it is just a picture,” is ignorance in itself. It is time to understand what the reality is now, and instead of using this as an instance to grieve a set of books, we should strive towards the seeking and inclusion of better-suited literature for children to build a better future.