A new study argues that many of Dr Seuss’ classic children’s books are racist and problematic — and only two percent of his characters represent people of colour.
“[This study reveals] how racism spans across the entire Seuss collection, while debunking myths about how books like Horton Hears a Who! and The Sneetches can be used to promote tolerance, anti-bias, or anti-racism,” Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens write in their February 2019 report.
“Findings from this study promote awareness of the racist narratives and images in Dr. Seuss’ children’s books and implications to the formation and reinforcement of racial biases in children.”
The study continues by explaining that some of the most iconic characters relay the troubling messages of Orientalism (the representation of Asia and Asian people based on colonialist stereotypes), anti-blackness and white supremacy, shares PEOPLE.
“Notably, every character of colour is male. Males of colour are only presented in subservient, exotified, or dehumanized roles,” the authors write as part of their findings.
“This also remains true in their relation to White characters. Most startling is the complete invisibility and absence of women and girls of color across Seuss’ entire children’s book collection.”
While there has been a wave of criticism against Dr. Seuss and other children’s books (like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Chronicles of Narnia) for being racist, many readers continue to support these longtime favourites.
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