The Real Reason These Dr. Seuss Books Will No Longer Be Published

Although he has come under fire in recent years due to racist imagery and undertones in several of his children's books, author and illustrator Dr. Seuss has been raking in the dough in the afterlife. According to Forbes, Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, was the second-highest-paid dead celebrity in 2020, just behind Michael Jackson. The deceased children's author pulled in a whopping $33 million after his estate signed several film and TV deals and his books continued to sell like hotcakes.

But calls to reexamine the content in his oeuvre have not fallen on deaf ears at Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company that manages his estate. According to the Associated Press, the company announced that it will discontinue publication of six Dr. Seuss books due to racist and stereotypical imagery and text. The titles are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, The Cat's Quizzer, Scrambled Eggs Super!, On Beyond Zebra!, and McElligot's Pool. Let's take a look at some of the imagery in these books and see why the Dr. Seuss estate has decided not to print them anymore.

The racist imagery in the Dr. Seuss books that will no longer be published

You may remember Dr. Seuss' books fondly and wonder what could be wrong with them. However, after looking at them now, you'll see that your memory of what's in those books is filtered by the nostalgia of reading them as a kid. As the New York Post reports, some of the stuff in them really is insensitive and stereotypical. For example, If I Ran the Zoo is full of racist imagery of African and Asian people. A paper published in the academic journal Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, and posted online by SOPHIA, noted that the African characters are "thick-lipped" and "potbellied." Asian characters in the book are described as "helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant" and they come from "countries no one can spell." Such a statement assumes one of two things: either the very characters in his book are illiterate, since they can't even spell their own country's name, or they're not counted as people. That's racist, doc.

For Dr. Seuss Enterprises, pulling the books off the shelves is just the first step in a larger process of making things right. "Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises' catalog represents and supports all communities and families," the company said in a statement released on March 2, the author's birthday.