Why Dr. Seuss Is Worth Defending

Oh, the extreme places they’ll go. Last week, when Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it would no longer publish six Seuss books said to contain racially offensive imagery, foes of cancel culture (this author among them) cried foul. Many others shrugged, noting correctly that this isn’t an issue of censorship: A book publisher is free to decide it wants to cease publishing a very old book.

But now those books are being pulled from the shelves of some public libraries as well. “We are part of the broader community who have identified these books as being harmful,” Manny Figueiredo, director of education for a school board in Ontario, Canada, said in a statement. “The delivery of education must ensure that no child experiences harm from the resources that are shared.”


They actually had it right the first time. But nonracism—the idea that skin color should be overlooked—has lost popularity among progressive activists, and anti-racism—the idea that skin color matters a great deal—is in vogue. The former is an egalitarian message at the heart of many Dr. Seuss books; the latter is a smokescreen for all sorts of policies that have very little to do with combating racism: like abolishing standardized tests or spending more time renaming schools than reopening them.


I would not be surprised to find the entire Seuss canon under attack a few years from now. To quote the last lines of The Butter Battle Book, “Who’s gonna drop it? Will you or will he?” (To which the narrator’s grandpa replies: “Be patient. We’ll see. We will see.”)

Source: Why Dr. Seuss Is Worth Defending