Spotlight

Happy birthday Dr. Seuss!

A childhood favorite had a dark beginning

Hayden Cohrs, Staff Writer

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As a kid, you read books from Dr. Seuss like, The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham — basic childhood classics that no one could ever beat and that will be loved for centuries. You might have even celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday in elementary school, complete with Dr. Seuss themed snacks and reading his books in English class.

March 2, 2018, would have been Dr. Seuss’s 114th birthday. Sadly, he passed on September 24 in 1991, at the age of 87,  leaving all of us with timeless stories. In his life, and even now he’s sold over 500 million copies of his books.

Before Dr.Seuss was famous for making light children’s books, he drew racist propaganda and believed in harmful stereotypes.

Seuss was a liberal Democrat who opposed fascism in the 1940s, and when he first started doing little political cartoons, they had a racist streak. He often drew African Americans wearing grass skirts and living in the tropics who were presented as slaves. He drew Arab people who were portrayed as nomads who rode camels, and during World War II he drew anti-Japanese cartoons.

If you thought Dr. Seuss this news has died down a little, it’s starting to spark back up due to Melania Trump. On Friday, February 16 First Lady Melania Trump tried to give Dr.Seuss books to Cambridgeport Elementary School in Massachusetts, but librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro rejected the shipment and wrote on a blog that the school didn’t need the books, and called the author “A cliche, tired and worm ambassador for children’s literature.”

A Fox news reporter later replied to the librarian saying, “They’re not just trying to indoctrinate our children in colleges, they’re doing it at the elementary level too.”

As much as everybody loves Dr.Seuss books, some of them do have bad stereotypes. Some people say that The Cat in the Hat was based on racial stereotypes and were inspired by traditions of blackface minstrel entertainment. People also say a lot of his other books have racial stereotypes in them too.

Whether you love Seuss’s books or think his works are racist, his literature children’s books will always be a part of history.

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Happy birthday Dr. Seuss!