questionsdoes dr. seuss' controversial history affect your…


Well, Walt Disney was a racist as well, and yet people love the works he and his company produced. I think the most appropriate thing to say here is "Don't judge a book by it's cover".


I don't see it as controverial when viewed with the times. That sort of work was considered the "norm" then - we were at war and that tainted everything anyone saw, read, etc. If you look closely at many forms of media today it still occurs, but from a different perspective attacking different people.


Disney was also friendly and cooperative with the Joe McCarthy witch hunts and black lists. The avuncular Uncle Walt gave up names of people he suspected were Communists, most of whose lives were ruined as a result of the McCarthy hearings.

I guess it was part of the times and the culture, but a whole lot of people managed to take a different path and refuse to be part of the ugliness.


"The act of taking quotes or deeds of dead people out of context for the purpose of branding them as racists"....this activity is so popular these days, we need to come up with a new word for it.


Arrogant, condescending and self-serving politcal correctness as practiced by the same folks who would ban Mark Twain from public libraries.


The story you linked to came out 20 years after his death, so he couldn't exactly respond on his behalf. As others have pointed out, his statements were aligned with the popular views of the time. I don't recall anyone ever asking him later for how he felt about those illustrations and statements as popular views changed. It seems rather unfair to beat up a dead guy over this now.


IIRC, Dr. Seuss later regretted those cartoons from WWII propaganda. Thus we have the Sneetches and Horton Hears a Who. Do a few bad decisions damn a person for the rest of their life? He realized his mistake, he made amends. Why do people keep digging this up?

(I agree with the Disney comparison. Only to my knowledge Disney NEVER made any admission that his past actions were perhaps wrong or hurtful.)

Was the propaganda racist? Yes. But aren't people doing the same thing today, only replace "Japanese" with "Muslim"?


Have you ever seen WWII era German, Japanese, or cold war era Russian depictions of the United States or Britain and Uncle Sam?

Same, same.


Maybe you're forgetting that the reason we get to be politically correct today is that, back then, the monumental war effort (that included regrettable things like racism and atomic bombs) basically saved the world. They didn't have the liberty of political correctness.


Some of the posters here seem to under the impression that Seuss was a racist. Perhaps he was, but the text of the article implies otherwise, claiming he was for black integration before it was fashionable. The text also tries to connect his prose with modern rap. All political cartoons are full of exaggerations. Sometimes the artist is explicitly supporting the implied position and sometimes they are ridiculing it via absurdity. One has to interpret these things in context, which at the time was the context of war.I honestly don't know what Seuss' positions actually were, but it is interesting that he drew the controversial cartoons for a left wing publication.


I do so like green eggs and ham. And I still do.


So shocking that people in the 40s didn't have 2010s politics! It's almost as if that was a whole different era or something!

The article doesn't seem to notice that:
1). Cartoonists working for a publication don't always get to choose their own subject matter
2). Seuss' Japanese people are actually pretty gently portrayed compared to other depictions of the time, where the Japanese were often given grotesque buck teeth, huge soda-bottle glasses, and ridiculous rat-tail hairstyles. Seuss' cartoons are unflattering but they at least look like people.


@purplefeather: That's a good observation about Horton Hears a Who, where Dr. Seuss (or Theodore Geisel) changed his sentiments and dedicated the book to a Japanese friend.


It's not racist, it's just old-fashioned!
It wasn't racist, he totally had a good reason to hate the Japanese!
Political correctness is for pansies!
Other people were racist too!

Keep going, y'all.


Anyway, as far as the question goes, no. Surprising, right? Not really. His books have beneficial content as taken without his colored past (as any reader, especially a child, would). There's no hidden racist agenda in his writing.

With that said, I'm not about to apologize for racist depictions of the Japanese just because other people were [i]more[/i] racist, or because he was writing to an audience that had a demand for racism.


The first comment listed after the article was from his niece. I think it puts those works into perspective.

Sally Geisel ChamblissSpringfield, Ma.
My great-uncle Suess was a man that was deeply concerned with the things that are wrong with this world. His books are all filled with moral issues, environmental and black-equality issues. His racist comments about Japanese-Americans and Hitler were spawned from the hate of war and the gung-ho attitude of the times back then. I'm sure if you were to interview him today his thoughts on racism would be different, as are most people's with any intelligence.
For all the good he has done, it far outweighs those cartoons from the 40's. I was raised anti-racist and I have taught my son to treat everyone as an equal and I hope that more parents are doing the same in this day and age.

Have you ever read "Star Belly Sneetches" ? It deals with the silliness of prejudice.