Dr. Seuss isn’t cancelled. Capitalism won’t let that happen.

His books, some now denounced for their racist imagery, aren’t going anywhere.


Tara Fischer, Contributing Writer

In a society consumed by so-called “cancel culture,” anyone can fall victim to harsh criticism. The latest victim, according to many conservative commentators, is beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. 

But the actual situation is not so black and white.

On March 2, notably Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America Day, Dr. Seuss Enterprises revealed that they would cease publication of six books written by the popular author. The stories 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 company made the decision to take these books out of print based on offensive imagery that propel racist stereotypes against Black and Asian communities.

In wake of this announcement, conservatives have claimed this is another negative side effect of liberalism and democratic leadership. And, of course, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro is among those displeased. In a tweet from March 2, Shapiro wrote, “BRB buying all the Dr. Seuss volumes for the kids before the woke book burners can get to them all.” 

Shapiro’s tweet isn’t just outlandish; it’s not true: Seuss-lovers need not worry about book burning and censorship down the line. In fact, the six books being pulled by Dr. Seuss Enterprises will still be available in libraries and schools. Rather than attempting to ban these stories, the company decided to update their catalog and focus on books that promote diversity and inclusivity while placing less emphasis on the ones that do not. 

“Dr. Seuss Enterprises have not made a call for libraries or schools to remove the books from collections,” Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, said in an Education Week article. “Any author, or anyone publishing books, can make choices about what is out in the world.” 

Indeed, the company that strives to protect and maintain Dr. Seuss’s legacy and works have decided, by their own volition, to cease further publication of these books. Yet, this hasn’t stopped others from weighing in.

“Apparently Dr. Seuss books are now offensive, and Democrats are trying to cancel publication of anymore of his books,” North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn said in a tweet. “This has to be a joke.” 

Such a statement is not only false, but the blame is misplaced. Democrats have not made the decision to cease publication of Dr. Seuss books, rather the company who owns them have. As HBO Host John Oliver said, this is an example of free enterprise rather than fascism. And it must be noted that only six books will no longer be printed or distributed. Dr. Seuss classics like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Green Eggs and Ham” will continue to be published.

Not only have Republicans been outraged over the so-called cancellation, but many have claimed the Democratic Party and U.S. President Joe Biden are responsible. This belief has stemmed from the fact that in Biden’s Read Across America Day proclamation, he neglected to mention Dr. Seuss, diverging from predecessors Barack Obama and Donald Trump.  The government, however, was not involved in the decision made by Dr. Seuss Enterprises. According to the Associated Press, after months of discussion and reviewing their catalog, the company decided to cease publication of these books last year, prior to Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 Presidential Election.

Dr. Seuss will forever be a beloved children’s author. The decision made by Dr. Seuss Enterprises is one that promotes change and progress, away from outdated stereotypes. While “If I Ran the Zoo” may be a product of the time it was written, it can no longer be celebrated. Instead, we must turn to the stories by Dr. Seuss that believe in inclusion, one that preaches that “Sneetches are Sneetches. And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.”