Why we are boycotting Dr. Seuss

TulipTreeElm House Blog, tuliptree1 Comment

By Mage

In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist. -Angela Davis

Last week during one of the planning periods that we have together, Bee was telling me and Megan about how she had been reading on the author and artist Theodor Giesel, aka Dr. Seuss, and his early racist literature. She showed us some illustrations which were unquestionably racist, absolutely appalling, and said she’d like us to remove all of his books from our schools if everyone agreed to it. So she sent an email to all of the teachers at both Elm House and Tulip Tree. Below is the email she sent, which includes links documenting and explicating the racist history of Theodor Giesel’s published works.

Hi Everybody,

I’ve been meaning to bring this up for awhile, but the year has flown by. I would like for us to strongly consider removing all Dr. Seuss books from our program. It is very well documented that Theodor Geisel produced incredibly racist cartoons early in his career. I have attached an example. [thumbnail below opens on click]
Often his behavior is excused because thats “just how things were” back then, which is insane to me. Not only did did he promote racism in his cartoon work, he also had a minstrel show in which he performed in full black face, and his children’s books are incredibly biased when dissected. I am attaching a few articles that I have read, which go into this topic in more depth.
I’m certainly open to feedback and disagreement, I just wanted to bring this up because I feel strongly about it. Thank you!
I thought you might want to know our position on Dr. Seuss, and why we are choosing to remove him from our curriculum. Bee has also informed the librarians who select and deliver our books to us that we no longer want to receive any of his published works. As an anti-bias program, we strive to be anti-racist and to combat stereotypes of all people. Dr. Seuss does not promote positive, affirming representations of people of color, and so his works have no place on our shelves.
image content warning: racist depictions of black people, racist descriptions of black people

One Comment on “Why we are boycotting Dr. Seuss”

  1. Ugh. Thank you so much for this enlightening and disturbing info. We’ll be taking Mr. Giesel out of our library at home, too.

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