Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced on March 2, 2021 that it will no longer publish six books written by the infamous children’s book author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. The company, which was founded by Dr. Seuss’ family in order to carry out the late author’s legacy, made the decision due to the books’ inclusion of “racist and insensitive imagery,” per Associated Press.
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told AP News in a statement. “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” it continued. The books include And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer. The news came on Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
The announcement coincided with a rumor that a Virginia school district was completely banning all of Dr. Seuss’ books from its catalog. However, the Loudoun County Public Schools district responded that it did not ban Dr. Seuss, but is encouraging “readers to read all types of books that are inclusive, diverse, and reflective of our student community, not simply celebrate Dr. Seuss,” per the New York Post.
Dr. Seuss is a celebrated author whose work has been taught to children for decades, so not everyone was happy about the surprising news, including The View co-host Joy Behar.
Joy Behar believes Dr. Seuss' controversial books can be educational
The View co-hosts are known for airing their sometimes controversial opinions on all sorts of subjects during the morning talk show, so it was on brand for the women to bring up the highly debated Dr. Seuss controversy. During their discussion on March 2, 2021, Joy Behar had some strong words to say about the news. “It’s an absolute outrage to remove books, period,” she said, per Decider.
The comedian and actress stressed that the racial undertones of the books that are being pulled from publication provide educational moments and that it does no justice to children’s learning about Black history to simply erase the books from shelves. “I do not like erasing art. I do not think it’s wise or smart,” she rhymed. “I think that these books are teaching tools. These are teaching tools. If I were teaching a class now, I would bring them right into the class so that people can see what he was thinking. ‘Do you think it’s racist? Is it racist? Is it anti-Semitic? Let’s discuss it,'” she explained.
Behar asserted that the books need to stay in circulation so kids can have real discussions about history and how society has changed. Some of her The View co-hosts shared the same sentiment, while others were troubled by the whole situation.
The View co-hosts were split about the Dr. Seuss controversy
The View co-host Sunny Hostin admitted that she was “torn” in regard to the situation, as noted by Decider. “When children do open up those books and perhaps see images of themselves that are distorted in such a stereotypical way, they do learn a powerful lesson about how they may be devalued in society,” she said, seemingly supporting Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ decision to remove the books from publication.
Offering a solution that opposes getting rid of the books altogether, co-host Sara Haines suggested that a disclaimer be put in the books to warn about the stereotyping. “We need to teach these examples as they were. Not whitewash them; not erase them,” she started. “But put disclaimers out there. We’re all flawed. Our heroes are often flawed. And I think it would be better to teach both.”
Longtime co-host Whoopi Goldberg agreed with Haines’ idea. “Put it in the front: ‘This book was written at a time when people thought this was okay. We no longer think that’s okay, and that’s why we’re letting you know,'” she suggested. “Have the conversation, but if you don’t have the conversation, it’s really hard to explain to people why something has disappeared.”
The View isn't the only talk show to bring up Dr. Seuss
Late night show host Stephen Colbert also addressed the Dr. Seuss cancellation controversy on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on March 2, 2021. While the women of The View were more torn about the issue, Colbert seemed to completely support the decision of Dr. Seuss Enterprises to pull the six problematic books.
“It’s a responsible move on their part,” he said of the situation. “There hadn’t been an Earth-shattering outcry, but they recognized the impact that these images might have on readers, especially kids, and they’re trying to fix it, because Dr. Seuss books should be fun for all people: Black, white, straight, gay, Sneetches — both star-bellied and plain — Loraxes, Barbaloots, all the Whos down in Whoville, and the strange angry creature named Foo-Foo the Snoo.” He added that there are plenty of other Dr. Seuss books that are fun and teach kids wonderful lessons.
Meanwhile, viewers of his show were torn. “So clever and spot on,” one viewer responded to a clip of Colbert’s monologue on Twitter. However, another person said it was “sad” to see the books be removed.
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