Opinion | The Uproar Over Racist Images in Dr. Seuss Books

To the Editor:

Re “Six Dr. Seuss Books With Offensive Images Will Be Dropped” (Arts pages, March 3):

The uproar over Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ removal of several titles from print is misguided.

Dr. Seuss is neither villain nor saint, and is not being “canceled.” His stewards are entitled to manage his work and impact. The artist’s racial stereotypes, we thankfully understand now, were wrong — but also prevailed in his time. Because Dr. Seuss made enduring work, it endured to be scrutinized with evolved eyes.

So we may both celebrate Dr. Seuss’s gifts and quell the damage of his failings. Were we to accept only the contributions of flawless beings, then our libraries, museums and operating rooms would stand empty. Conversely, demanding that an artist’s stewards inflict xenophobic work on unwary children will hurt families and indoctrinate xenophobia in tomorrow’s citizens.

It is altogether their choice — and a good one — not to do so.

Ray Kosarin
Brooklyn

To the Editor:

As a children’s book author and novelist whose first novel, “Hey, Dollface,” was banned in schools and libraries all along the Bible Belt when first published in 1978 — and remains on the banned book list to this day — I was taken aback by the withdrawal of six Dr. Seuss books from the market. (My book is about a relationship between two 15-year-old girls who may or may not be gay.)

While the inherent racism displayed in the Seuss books in question is in every way offensive, it is the responsibility of the teachers or parents who choose to read these books to their children to point out and condemn that racism. The books can be used as a learning tool. Children are smart. They have every right to see, examine, challenge and reject the racism for themselves, and to have it pointed out and vehemently rejected by the adults who read to them.

To remove them from the market, however distasteful they may be, is censorship, pure and simple.

Deborah Hautzig
New York

To the Editor:

The guardians of Dr. Seuss’s literary legacy made the right call in deciding to cease publishing some of his books. As a parent of a 6-year-old daughter, I frequently struggle to find books that are suitable for her, that promote positive images of girls and women, and that aren’t filled with outdated sexist or racist stereotypes. Many books that I enjoyed when I was young would be considered hopelessly retrograde today.

Considering how ingrained stereotypes were back then, the remarkable thing is how much of Dr. Seuss’s work has held up. Given how much he published, if only six of his works have to be canceled, he’s doing very well.

Jonathan Siegel
Chevy Chase, Md.

To the Editor:

Re “Six Seuss Books Bore a Bias” (column, nytimes.com, March 3):

I’d advise Charles M. Blow to read “The Sneetches and Other Stories.” As far as I can see in all the discussion lately about how Dr. Seuss propagated racism, there is little mention of the excellent arguments for tolerance and diversity made by the story of the Sneetches and their starred bellies in this wonderful book.

Deborah Muccino
Concord, Calif.

To the Editor:

I do not like the righteous Woke
I do not like them when they spoke
They speak for you
They speak for me
They know the Truth
That we don’t see
They know our deepest motivations
They know what’s best for all the nations
So when an artist, soul or poet
Is imperfect
They all know it.

Susan Teicher
Urbana, Ill.

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