The Cat in the Hat cartoon by Michael Ramirez, which recently appeared in the Spokesman, makes me sad. I grew up with the Dr. Seuss books, read them to my younger brothers and then to my own sons. And now it seems that they are yet more victims of “cancel culture.”
As Dr. Seuss, Ted Geisel wrote some delightful books, filled with wonderful rhymes, whimsical drawings and fun stories. It should be noted that years ago Chinese field workers DID in fact wear cone-shaped hats; African people DID wear grass skirts and big earrings. Dr. Seuss was not mocking this garb, or the people. What about beret-sporting Frenchmen carrying baguettes? Or Lederhosen-wearing Germans drinking from beer steins? Or kimono-clad Japanese wielding Samurai swords? Offensive? No. These cultural tropes, while somewhat cliché, are not offensive.And neither are the Chinese or African depictions of Dr. Seuss.
Pulling these books from shelves because of our current tendency to be overly sensitive is just wrong. Censoring the Seuss books because of our propensity to immediately cry “racist” at the drop of a hat is just wrong. Condemning these books, and the author along with them, is just wrong.
We Americans are now so darn “sensitive” to anything that MIGHT offend anyone, or that MIGHT be misconstrued. The misinterpretation of the Dr. Seuss books is just another example of a ridiculous practice, all too common in our modern society, which often leads to misunderstanding and wrongful censorship.
Leslie Anne Smith