Yes, the Dr. Seuss estate has decided to cease publication of six of his more obscure books, with arguably two of them possibly being noteworthy. Read the estate’s statement here. Yes, that’s right, due to the ever-rumbling controversy surrounding Theodore Geisel’s rather antiquated and offensive portrayals of race in these six obscure books intended for children, the estate, in the year 2021 when we’re still in the midst of the movement of Black people asking to not be shot unarmed by police, this estate made its own business decision to cease publication of these six books. So, of course, cue the conservative outrage.
It’s so pathetically predictable, at this point. This is where some people are actually direct their anger, again, in the year 2021 when Black people are asking to please not be murdered. And again, we’re not talkin’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go or Grinch or the premier Cat in the Hat, we’re talkin’ books that most of those who are outraged likely don’t own and never read. Those seminal Seuss books and more are still on the shelves and we’re still celebrating Dr. Seuss Week, but, sure, he’s “cancelled.” The very same people who tout that companies should be able to make their own decisions suddenly hate the concept when a company voluntarily makes the right decision because it involves race and sensitivity. This is not censorship.
Just to be clear, if a publicly-funded library decided to pull the books off the shelves for these reasons, then, sure, you’re looking at censorship and I would be on the other side of the issue, taking a stance against it but lamenting that such content ever existed in children’s books, since I firmly believe it should be a parent or guardian’s decision. However, this is, again, an estate deciding what is best for itself and making its own business decision. That’s it. And I agree, it’s the right one.
For a brighter prospective, check out this article on the various ways librarians engage with controversial books.