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.

dr-seuss-books-collections

“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.

Share your comments below

 


  • I don’t know them well enough to have an opinion but I think they might be stretching it to complain about a lack of diversity.

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  • Wow! Don’t buy or read books then. Perhaps just look at screens for diversity instead.

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  • I really think people are trying hard to look for any reason to blame/label someone as racist.
    Who said the criteria for writing story books must cover xyz percentage of diversity in characters…. geez give it a rest people

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  • What colours? The characters are orange, green, purple or striped. Far out – people need to settle down!

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  • They’re still great books!

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  • No-one has ever had problems with these books before. What are they going to attack next? It’s ridiculous.

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  • Now suddenly after all these years there is a problem with these books. Some people just have to stir up trouble. I don’t agree that they are racist or problematic.

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  • Oh this is interesting to read…

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  • That’s kind of funny as I see all of the characters in these books as so many colours. They are orange, green, aqua, blue etc.

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  • These books came out after my children needed to be read to – personally I never liked them, but didn’t see them as racist. Just couldn’t see any good reason for them and didn’t really like what they were saying – the start of the helicopter parents.

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  • Really these books have been around longer than these complainers have been and probably loved reading these books growing up people probably never even thought about it over reaction get a life I say and stop causing trouble

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  • Honestly, these complainers just have nothing better to do. Anonymous trolls. With my children, we loved reading these books and found no problems with them – get a life, maybe even get a job!!

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  • I have a few of his books and read a lot as a child, and I have never picked up on this! His characters are yellow and green, black and white, there is also mr brown. I don’t think the issue is with his characters but with colonialism stereotypes! With those people would just see that he has created colourful characters to avoid racism

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  • I haven’t noticed this

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  • The link in the article is actually quite interesting and worth reading.

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