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Dr. Seuss Mural to Be Taken Down Following Accusations of Racism

Oct 6, 2017  •  Post A Comment

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, Mass., responded to complaints about a mural depicting the first Dr. Seuss children’s book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” saying the museum will take down the mural.

The mural has been the target of accusations of racism over its depiction of a Chinese character. That criticism ramped up Thursday with the posting on social media of a letter from children’s authors Mike Curato, Mo Willems and Lisa Yee.

The authors called the Chinese caricature on the mural, which they refer to as “the Chinaman,” a “jarring racial stereotype,” adding that they find the caricature “deeply hurtful, and have concerns about children’s exposure to it.”

The letter notes that the Chinese man in the mural is “depicted with chopsticks, a pointed hat, and slanted slit eyes.” You can read the authors’ letter in full by clicking here.

The authors declared in the letter that they would not be attending the inaugural Springfield Children’s Literature Festival, which had been planned for Oct. 14. The event has since been canceled by the museum.

MassLive reports that the museum responded Thursday night with a statement saying the mural would be replaced “with a new image that reflects the wonderful characters and messages from Dr. Seuss’s later works.”

The museum’s statement adds: “This is what Dr. Seuss would have wanted us to do. His later books, like ‘The Sneetches’ and ‘Horton Hears a Who,’ showed a great respect for fairness and diversity. Dr. Seuss would have loved to be a part of this dialogue for change.”

The statement also says: “Theodor Seuss Geisel … was a man of his times. He was also a man who evolved with his times. Dr. Seuss’s own story is a story of growth with some early works containing hurtful stereotypes to later works like ‘The Sneetches’ and ‘Horton Hears a Who!’ which contain lessons of tolerance and inclusion.

“It is in that spirit that Dr. Seuss Enterprises and the Springfield Museums listened to the concerns voiced by the authors and fans and have made the decision to take down the Mulberry Street mural.”

The artwork featured in the controversial mural appeared in Theodor Geisel’s first Dr. Seuss book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” which was published in 1937. The character is described by Dr. Seuss in the book as “a Chinese man who eats with sticks.”

The museum did not indicate when it would be taken down or which characters would appear in its replacement.

10 Comments

  1. This is very sad when even Dr. Seuss is accused of racism. What will be next?

  2. So sad, PC gone way wrong…

  3. PC, has going out of control and it’s getting distasteful at the most!!!

  4. Ahh yes, Progressive liberals, and social justice Warriors, rewriting history just like the Communists and Nazis. You’d have to laugh, if it wasn’t so sad.

  5. So how does Chinese culture depict Americans? Perhaps we as shouldn’t take it on the chin anymore! Children’s book art from the 30’s is novice, not racist.

  6. Norman Rockwell used almost all white people, racist SOB. Or at least he would be if he tried that today. I’m 69 years old and I can’t believe the idiotic changes I’ve seen in just the last five years. It’s all very depressing.

  7. Censorship Lives and Breathes in 2017

    Good Sunday to all on this blustery,tropical and rainy day. May this find you reading the books, newspapers, magazines, newsletters or blogs that bring you joy, information or inspiration. I am still dismayed by the negative perception by the 3 authors; Mike Curato, Mo Willems and Lisa Yee, who find the mural by Dr. Seuss racist. I feel their censorship of this book, mural is uncalled for. Just think Mo, if readers thought your elephant in “Lets go for a Drive” was rude and lacked manners, for he is so demanding to his friend and they banned your book? Or maybe Lisa readers thought the images of the young supergirl heros in your books which are all depicted with tiny waists and none are full figured and guess what your book was banned? Mike you are my favorite, truly a talented young man, but think of your description of the Big City as noisy, busy and how you infer the need for fresh air so off you go to the country, what if your pictures of the city were found to be offensive and your book was banned? I am dismayed for creativity is one’s vision, is unique and must not be stifled. You choose not to attend the Dr. Seuss event that is your choice, your freedom of choice, but please trend lightly on your censorship of others for the future is full of change and what you think is fine may not be in years to come. Live to Learn not tear down. Live to inspire and understand, not banish. May you never feel the hand of censorship on your books or drawings. Please consider viewing the following site. May the day be kind, productive and peaceful for all. History has a way of putting things in their proper perspective and most people know the difference. Books like Catcher in the Rye, Grapes of Wrath, and Invisible Man were once banned due to small minded views on censorship, I’d like to think we are better than that. This link will bring you to the banned books sight. September 24 -30 was Banned books weekhttp://www.bannedbooksweek.org/censorship

  8. then go back to the original Looney Tunes and have lots of fun with dozens of cartoons that have stereotypes common in that era …
    where does it stop ?

  9. Giovanna Cummings, nicely done!

    • Good morning Riggarob,
      Thank you, only wish they were not taking it done. May the day be kind, productive and peaceful.

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