Dr. Seuss Censorship Sets Impossible Standard

by | Mar 4, 2021


If Dr. Seuss is the standard by which all authors are to be judged, make way for the book burnings.

And bring lots of firewood.

Because if Dr. Seuss and his cartoonish characters can’t pass the anti-racism muster of the faces of the left, how can Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” or Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” series, or J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan,” each with their own set of perceived and real stereotypes and slurs? Even Roald Dahl’s original “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” has inspired criticism over the depiction of the Oompa Loompas as jungle-dwellers. Let’s not forget Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind,” in all its slavery glory, or Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” in all its anti-Semitic glory, or Lynne Reid Banks’ “The Indian in the Cupboard,” in all its — well, the title speaks volumes on that one, yes?

The list is endless.

The list can be endless.

Even the Bible speaks to the enslavement of various peoples.

Are we to turn off all the offensive to our ears, in some sort of — futile — attempt to whitewash, er, erase, not just history, but fancy and fiction and flights of imaginations?

With Dr. Seuss, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, it’s not just a matter of Loudoun County, Virginia, public schools cancelling the annual celebration of the children’s author. It’s now also the refusal of the Dr. Seuss publisher to print any more copies of select titles by the author because, as the statement goes, “these books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

Think about that for a moment. The publisher is not going to publish select Dr. Seuss titles because these select titles, written as they were years ago, now seem, in the standards of today’s snowflakey, politically correct, overly and eagerly offended, to be racist.

The books are “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.” Among some of the “hurtful” images? An Asian in a conical hat, holding chopsticks and eating from a bowl. A couple of bare-footed men with dark skin wearing grass skirts.

These are chilling assessments.

This is not just about children’s books. This is about the shape of censorship things to come. It’s about a growing acceptance of blotting out all offenses, in the hope that ignoring offenses means the offenses don’t occur — in fact, that they never did occur. That’s erasing history. That’s living a lie.

“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” Loudoun County School District said in a statement, following the cancellation of the regular school-based Seuss celebration day.

Word is next up are L. Frank Baum’s “Wizard of Oz” series.

Let the burning begin.

The trouble, of course, will be to know the exact point to extinguish the fire.

Let’s hope the same censors who see evil in Dr. Seuss aren’t the ones holding the water buckets. America’s history depends on it.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Washington Times.


  • Cheryl K. Chumley

    Cheryl Chumley is online opinion editor for The Washington Times, the author of “The Devil in DC: Winning Back the Country From the Beast in Washington” and of "Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare is Becoming Our Reality," and a 2008-2009 Robert Novak journalism fellow with The Fund for American Studies.