Let me begin this post by telling you, just in case you are not aware, that I am a socially liberal woman (Yes. I’m a woman. I have an Origin of the World. I enjoy being referred to as a woman) but I abhor extremes with any social ideologies. Extreme conservatism is not a good thing. Neither is extreme liberalism—or, as we are now calling it, progressiveness.
Yes. I truly do believe that women are empowering among many others..
Honestly, I hope I’m making myself clear. I’m a proponent of the Black Lives Matter movement and at the same time, I make no apologies for my pale skin tone and freckles. I’m rather proud and happy of my Irish roots.
Although I’m a Roman Catholic, I respect my Atheist, Agnostic and Non-Christian friends. In fact, unless you are an extremist in your religious or non-religious ideologies, I respect you.
In addition, it’s always a good idea to have a sense of humor when discussing religion!
Body-shaming isn’t my jam. In fact, I lost a number of followers of this blog due to one “popular” and quite funny and eccentric well-knows bloggers because she body-shamed a woman on a post and I called her out on it. And her make-believe liberal friends mad at me for that! No matter what size you are, it’s your body. I respect you.
Poking fun at how others look isn’t my thing either. My preference is to make fun of myself because if I can make one person laugh at my imperfections or shortcomings, I’ve done a good deed.
My favorite fun shirt at the moment is “I gotta good heart, but the mouth tho” is very much on target. I have a complete gutter mouth but I’m charming and everyone gets a laugh out of this shirt because they know its true!
If one wants to be referred to as “they” or any of the gender-neutral references, please let me know in advance so that I may comply. In the same vein, I don’t mind being referred to as woman, female, lady, even broad. Its all good and I’m not offended.
Yes. Gender is a spectrum and I’m of the woman spectrum. I respect your gender. Please respect mine.
Gay pride is something I am passionate about. One’s sexuality is their business. If two men want a relationship. That’s great. If two women want a relationship. That’s great. Everyone is free to love the person they want to love. And same-sex marriage should have been put into place a long, long time ago.
But presently, I’m having some issues. And those issues stem with the recent turn of events regarding both a childhood toy and an author who assisted in my, as well as others, learning to read for pleasure and honing in on our ability to rhyme and speak in sing-song voices.
I’m referring to Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss.
Last week, Hasbro decided to drop the “Mr.” from Mr. Potato Head to make the toy more inclusive. (Hasbro article)
Now, if you are of my generation, you will remember that Mr. Potato Head had a partner—a wife, in fact. Okay, maybe she was the wife of a different potato—perhaps a Butter Potato or a Sweet Potato but there was, in fact, a Mrs. Potato Head.
The original Mr. And MRS. Potato Head in all their styrofoam glory!
And if you are familiar with the vintage Mr./Mrs. Potato Head TOY, you remember the TOY as it were originally, with the thin head made of Styrofoam. After a few uses, pieces of the Styrofoam would break off and it got a bit wonky. And so, we would head to the pantry or fridge, depending where mom stored the potatoes, take the vegetable and place the embellishments into a real potato. Giving new meaning to playing with your food.
Might I add that the Potato Heads were a rather diverse couple as they could be changed from a potato to fruits or vegetables. I’ll call the Mrs. Pepper for now!
To be honest, I have no idea WTF suggested this re-naming of Mr. Potato Head but I think it’s inane. It is ridiculous. And children, for generations, did not give a shit what the gender was simply because you could turn a potato either into a woman or a man with the help of the little plastic features that came with it.
I pondered the gender of this potato last night. It had no ding-dong nor did it have a love canal. It was a vegetable. So I cooked it and ate it.
In my mind, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head were made for future makeup artists, no matter what the child’s gender. A young boy that leaned toward a future of makeup and beauty could pretty-up a potato with eyelashes and red lips. Not to ignore the stunning dress, shoes and purse but this was also a future fashion designer’s dream!
And for the girls who were tomboys (am I allowed to use that word), perhaps they could dress Mr. Potato up to be the image they wanted to be.
It’s true. All my more masculine girls could have a toy that they could relate to. So then tell me, just what is so bad about Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head?
My point it we all know that any potato has no gender. A potato will grow eyes if you leave it uneaten for too long but it is a vegetable. And if the toy version is referred to as “Mr.” it is fine. It is non-offensive.
Actually, I find the more modern Potato Head couple to be less attractive then the ones I grew up with. They are too cartoonish looking. Not that there’s anything wrong with looking like a cartoon….
In fact, my favorite Colorforms toy of all time was “Miss Cookie’s Kitchen” I freaking played with that toy for ages, rearranging the various items in her kitchen. God forbid this would ever be sexist due to the Miss in Cookie’s Kitchen. But subconsciously, this Colorforms set actually started my love of all things cooking and kitchen related. And did a fine job indeed.
So sexist. A woman in the kitchen. Then why are there so many male chefs?
But let’s talk about the wonderful Dr. Seuss. Shall we?
All the good he’s done with giving the gift of imagination and reading to children and now six of his books are banned. That is messed up!
Six books by Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss are no longer being published. The two banned books I am most familiar with, because I loved both of these books as a child, are “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” and “McElligott’s Pool” These two books showcased the talents of Dr. Seuss’s illustrations beautifully. I loved both stories but more so, I was mesmerized by the uniqueness of this drawings.
“McElligotts Pool” is no longer being published due to the “Eskimo” fish illustration.
I LOVED this book. And often took it out of the library to mull over the delightful illustrations. Not once did the book give me a racist or ethno-centric thought!
I never realized that the term “Eskimo” was so offensive. I remember enjoying “Eskimo Pie” ice cream which has, as of June in 2020 been renamed to “Edy’s Pie”.
This–the illustration of Eskimo fish is what got the book banned. I’m still shaking my head….
And I make no apologies for feeling that the term Eskimo Pie is a lot less offensive than Edy’s Pie. Think about that one. Yeah. Edy has some pie!
As a child, I never recalled the term “Eskimo” to be a derogatory term for Indigenous Arctic people. I never used the term in a snarky way. In fact, the only time I used the word was when referring to the ice cream or a furry jacket I had back in the early 1960’s which was called an “Eskimo” jacket. It was simply what the jacket was called.
Back in the early to mid 1960’s I wore Eskimo jackets as that was what the outwear was called. It wasn’t offensive. Nobody thought any less of Artic people. In fact, these jackets were a great source of warmth in the winters!
“And To Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street” is no longer being published because of an illustration of an Asian person. A Chinese man to be exact. Again, as a child, I knew better and was more diversely educated than to think that this illustration depicted the usual person born in China.
The book, first published in 1937 is merely about a boy named Marco who walks along Mulberry Street and the visuals of his wild imagination come into play. That’s it.
And excuse me for eating with chopsticks every time I eat Asian food.
..this is the illustration that got the book to no longer be published. Now, I don’t know about you, but even as a child, I knew very well that the term Chinaman wasn’t used and nobody I came in contact with from China looked like this. Let us use our common sense.
Do all Irishmen look like the Lucky Charms Leprrechaun?
The only thing I find offensive here is that children are subjected to eat this garbage.
And to all those who are offended by Seuss’s so-called racism. Didja know he was a liberal who despised Hitler? Where’s your liberalism now???
I’m guessing those who condemn Seuss have no idea he was quite liberal politically.
I see him as more inclusive. While not banned, the book, “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” is about everyone having different qualities.
I cannot even remember how many times I’ve read this book…
Whether thin or fat.
No size-shaming here. Everyone is equal!
Whether your teeth are yellow and you are slightly weird. It’s all good.
And I never thought this guy needed to get his teeth fixed either..
It brings a message that it’s ok to be different.
And thanks to Seuss for including all ages–such as old! And thank you for encouraging children to converse with their parents.
I don’t think Dr. Suess was thinking anything derogatory with his Eskimo fish or with his Asian man eating with chopsticks. It’s all about how the overly-sensitive and extreme progressives interpret these books.
I think it was just about releasing imagination!
And it is a shame because growing up, I didn’t give a second thought to ethnicity. It just wasn’t a big deal. It didn’t matter whether you were Chinese or Italian, Catholic or Jewish, brown, black, white or yellow. Perhaps parents and the overly-sensitive should take a look at what offends them and teach their children better from it.
The only thing I found offensive in Dr. Suess’ writings was the mess Thing One and Thing Two made in the house! Had I messed the house like that as a child, there would be severe repercussions.
Seriously. I found the mess Thing 1 and 2 made far more offensive than the Eskimo fish!
Look. Racism is wrong. And ethnocentric behavior is questionable. But to all those adults who feel Mr./Mrs. Potato Head should be gender neutral and for those who feel Dr. Seuss is a racist monster, remember that actions speak louder than words.
Teach your children. Educate yourself on how to treat others. Step down from your self-righteous horse and look around. We are surrounded with more pressing issues at the present time.
What’s your opinion on this? Perhaps I’m not sensitive enough. Let me know your thoughts!
I am asian american and I find the chinaman fairly offensive. Not offensive enough to ban the book, but offensive enough that I wouldn’t like my children to see that illustration. Because it is a caricature and my family has had enough experience with racism and being told to “go back to where you come from chinaman” so it hurts.
Hi Ginny. And I thank you for your response. I agree that it is fairly offensive and not enough to get rid of the book–but I think if the books in question were edited with taking those stereotypes out, it would be a great solution. I’m so sorry to hear that people have said to go back to where you come from……….. That kind of racist behavior was something that we were making progress from but it seems with the past administration–it returned. Again, thank you for your response–it’s very good food for thought! XZOXOXOXO
Oh my word, you have said it so well. I don’t like being told what to when to think or how to think it or… and honestly this banning of books or other ways of thinking just shuts down any conversation as to why people thought differently and why we think what we do now It is bullying and ignorant.. I firmly believe children are much smarter than these idiots give them credit for. Children are often much more open and questioning than we are, we should give them credit and actually listen – no one is born a racist. I love Dr Suess, the only writer I ever considered banning was Roald Dahl – but that’s because I loathed his writing and the really nasty streak I found to a lot of it, but I figured my kids could read whatever they wanted and if I was curious about their book choices all I had to do was ask what they thought. Nr.2 duly appeared one day with Charlie and the chocolate factory sent to him by the husbands parents and started reading and I just kept my mouth shut (we must be related as my mouth runs and runs too), anyway I found the book abandoned outside a few days later and asked Simon why he seemed to have forgotten it, and he said words to the effect of “oh I hadn’t forgotten it – it was just so mean, everyone was made to be horrible and everything was awful and I felt yuck reading. It is a mean book, I had to get clean….” and there he put in a nutshell exactly how I felt. If you ban books what does it say about you, and what does that do to a books reputation – think of all the banned books you know about – they acquire a huge cachet, and upon reading you find they are often bilge, or even boring bilge (Lady Chatterlys Lover???? unless anyone enjoyed that 🙂 ). Long rant, strong opinions
Juliet I’m loving your rant. The thing is –my eldest son LOVED Roal Dahl books. He’s read them all. My thing is if it makes the child read–then go for it! I had no idea that Harry Potter books were banned in some areas–did you? My children all read them and I never had simply because I’m not big on fantasy. So far the six Seuss books aren’t banned–just stopped with the publications but I’m anticipating libraries will get rid of them so that’s a ban in my opinion. I recall The Catcher in the Rye being banned and in seventh grade, the first time I read it, I thought it was great. I’ve since read the book at least five times and still cannot figure out why it was ever banned in the first place. I’m not big on censorship. So I definitely hear you! XZOXOXOXOXO
Catcher in the Rye was on our reading list in 10th grade. I lived in North Carolina and no one batted an eye in one of the most conservative states in the US. Not one parent raved that it should be banned. There were other, horrible things that happened but book banning wasn’t one of them.
I love Dr. Seuss and these were a staple in our household when I was raising my kids. Marvin K Mooney was a favorite and taught them about boundaries.
Anyone should be able to source and read any book, anytime, anywhere.
Loved Catcher in the Rye, and love that we all have some books that are special to us and not too much to others (Roald Dahl for your boy!), thats what makes us interesting and able to bring other viewpoints that can really make for a wonderful conversation between people. The “not to be mentioned” means we have no way to pass on what we learnt and how we changed and how we can do better from times that are different to ours
YES! I so agree with you! And, yes, I had the same Colorform kit and I vividly remember using REAL potatoes for MR. Potato Head – controversial, I think not!
Hi Kathryn. Hey. MISS Cookie was the bomb!I played for hours with that little set. And yeah, my mother would become quite annoyed when her potatoes went missing. Not to stereotype but we’re Irish and throughtout my childhood, my mother cooked potatoes every night. EVERY. NIGHT. To this day, I’m not much for eating the spuds! XOXOXOXO
Maybe these people should read Faranheit 451 by Ray Bradbury…. or that might be totally lost on them
typo – flubbery fingers Fahrenheit
Juliet! Your one sentence just said a mouthful! Nice! XOXOXOXOX
I was so upset when I heard about all those books being banned. These are the books that made my child want to read because it was so fun to say the rhymes and the images were so great. I guess I come from an age where we were taught to be inclusive just because we didn’t notice a huge difference and had friends from all cultures. I am proud to be a woman and recognized as feminine and if I forget to use the ‘they’ title it is not because I am being rude, just my generation catching up. On that note, I am really really ticked off at being called ‘Boomer’ in a derogatory nature just because of my age and other things as well. Where is the sensitivity for us more mature folks who have been around a lot longer and paved the way for many things taken for granted today. Great post as usual Catherine.
The Dr. Seuss books have not been “banned.” The publisher, not a government agency, or group, chose not to reprint four of his many titles. If you want copies, contact the publisher. If you want to buy Mr. Potato Head, email the manufacturer.
Publishers and toy manufacturers make business decisions based on profit and loss. Can we focus our outrage on half a million Americans dead of COVID, or any of a dozen tragedies all around us rather than discontinued reprinting of four children’s books?
Hi Sharon. Yes. There are far more important issues going on at the present. Covid. Unemployment. Underemployment. Stagnant salaries. Ageism. But I’ll tell you, these two issues–the potato and the books hit a nerve with me! XOXOXOXO
Hi Diane! Thank you! But as a correction, those books haven’t been banned in the sense of the word–the publication of those six books have been stopped. TBH, if it is such a big deal then why didn’t the publishers edit the book to take those images away and edit the verbiage? You would still have the books and the beautiful illustrations and the offensive matter would be eliminated. Thusly stopping any conversations between parent and young children about racism and ethno-centric behavior. I’m slightly flummoxed simply because growing up, I knew better and didn’t allow a stereotype to control my life. As the child of irish immigrants, I am fully aware of the Irish drunk stereotype. My dad was a tee-totaller. But I just shrugged that stereotype off because I knew better. The stereotype of the irish cop? That’s another thing. Many of my male-gender relatives are cops! The Boomer thing? Mah–it doesn’t offend me. What DOES offend me is AGEIST behavior from Corporate America and the beauty and fashion industries. All three pontificate equal opportunity employment–that’s bullshit because if you are over 50 or 60 they turn you away. And the beauty/fashion industriess only showcase and market to youth. All the while pontificating how inslusive they are–they are full of shit! XOXOXOXXO
If the offensive parts had been cut out people would be all in a snit because the books had been censored. It’s the decision of the owner of the estate, after careful review and study, to stop publication of six books. I have no problem with that at all. They have that right, and for people to get so upset about it is crazy IMO. I’ve read that Theodor Geisel was a complicated man, and not necessarily the liberal progressive that some believe he was.
Gender discussions are definitely complicated. I have a grandchild who identifies as non-binary and is so happy now that they have made this declaration after living for years under the assumption that we wouldn’t accept them. I can’t really waste my time worrying about Mr/Mrs Potato Head.
I think there were probably copyright issues at play here. If Theodore Geisel were still alive, he could have okayed changes, but the publishers can’t do that.
I loved it when I saw you post the potato on Instagram, pondering it’s gender. I knew what you were talking about right away. It’s always been strange to me that ‘male’ is considered generic, and female is so unusual.
Ang | https://loseweightwithang.com
Hi Ang! BINGO!!!!!!!!!!!! XOXOXOXOX
Well, I understand it is the “Seuss” family that decided to take the books out of print, not some external entity. You know, if that’s what they want to do, that’s fine. Mr. Potato Head – that’s a harder one. On the other hand, I do think we have a long way to go to understand that gender is not binary – it is not just male and female, but so much in between on a continuum. That is what we thought growing up – that gender was binary, but we were wrong. And, so, if not calling the potato “Mr.” helps any little kids to feel as though they have more room to be who they are, well, I guess that is ok too.
Hi Maryellen. Yeah. It was, in fact, the publisher and the family who decided on this–but I cannot help but wonder if they were pressured at all. Just my thoughts. The gender thing. Yes, I’m quite aware that gender is now not a black and white issue. However, I just don’t feel that taking a title away from a decades-old toy will change things in the long run. But if it does help children–it’s all good! XOXOXOXO
Hear!hear! I concur 100%. ( Thank you for filling in the gaps as to why those two books were removed …really??!! How did we end up here with such a strong victim mentality and the right to be offended at anything….)
Sharron, there’s so many schools of thought on this subject. My husband thinks we Americans are wayyyyyyyyyyy super-sensitive. The French have a completely different outlook. They aren’t racist but they are able to find great humor in everyone and their cultures. XOXOXOXOXO
Always love that you tell it like it is. Kudos!
Thank you Barbara! XOXOXOX
Three children – three copies of To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street worn out by repeated use and love. And the children turned out just fine.
Hi Jean! My point exactly. I’m sensitive to how other feel on this but man, if I had a dollar for every time I read or saw am illustration or photo of a cross-eyed individual, I would be a millionaire. And if I cried every time I saw a photo like that, I would have drowned in my tears years ago. It’s so silly but you have no idea how many photos/illustrations of cross-eyed people–in jest, mind you are out there and nothing is done to remove that $hit. I am no longer bothered by it!
We’ve agreed 99% but diverge on this topic. But that’s ok…and you DID ask! 🙂 I posted this on my FB page the other day after reading one too many white privileged remarks:
No one could be more anti-censorship than I (33 years as teacher and librarian). In fact, I fought several battles over the years: To Kill a Mockingbird, Rolling Stone Magazine, The Bluest Eye, and Harry Potter books, to name a few. I even fought for the R.L. Stine series in the elementary schools. At the request of any parents who objected to our class book, I offered alternate suggestions. Each year I weeded titles from my shelves that were irrelevant and outdated.
It was a corporate decision to stop publication of those Seuss titles, and Disney is switching to its new streaming service and putting age ratings on some titles while not adding some of those mentioned. Upon some self-reflection, corporate decisions were made. None are being pulled from shelves anywhere. It was not done from outcries from liberals or Biden, as I have seen. (Good Grief!) If one would look at the books, the reader will see several racist depictions of some minorities: blacks in the jungle in straw skirts, enlarged features; Asians drawn with yellow faces, slanted eyes, and triangle hats, and more. Why should a child of one of those races have to see those depictions of themselves in books? They’ll see it often enough in the real world! I hear people saying that they read the books or watched the movies and saw nothing wrong! Oh, easy for you to say, pale face! If you say it’s “cancel culture”, what kind of culture are you protecting? As Atticus Finch said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”. From what I’ve read, it was a smart marketing strategy since sales of Suess books are soaring. Scholastic should think about pulling a couple Harry Potter books!
Hi Srenatee! And thank you for your response! YOu bring up excellent points here. I have to say that as a parent, I received a couple of harsh criticisms from parents who thought I was a bit “over-permissive” for allowing my oldest son to read Roald Dahl books–fact was, and is, the books made him READ and THINK–how could I take that away? And I’m not a believer in banning books at all for children. I am so out of the loop on the Harry Potter thing-why are those books banned?? My middle guy read all the ?Goosbumps books which held his interest so I’m definitely with you there. And I am absolutely aware that the Seuss publishers and not our politicians (thank you because I love Joe Biden)had a say in that–leave it to the conservatives to spread lies. In my love for Dr. Seuss books especially the two that I mention, it would have been a better choice (In my opinion) had they edited the books and taken out the offensive material. Now people are making big bucks off this by selling the books are ridiculious prices and that is exploitation! XOXOXOXO
Some parents did want me to pull Harry Potter when they first came out. The whole anti-Christian/witchcraft silliness. (Oh, those evangelicals! UGH.) of course, I don’t pull them! I was joking about Scholastic pulling a couple: Seuss company is making a killing right now with skyrocketing sales. Soooo, was it a marketing ploy? Lol. If HP sales are slow, a production stop on a couple titles would create the same buying frenzy! #marketingcounts! ;)9
Srenatee, this was a great response about Dr Seuss. Loved the line “Easy for you to say, pale face”. That (and the Atticus Finch quote) sums up the discussion for me.
Cathe, I love all your posts because you always make me smile. This one generated a very good discussion.
The Seuss books depict ‘stereotypical’ versions of visible minorities. They were a product of their times. The author was not intentionally demeaning either group BUT representing any race with a derogatory image is not right. Some may feel these images are harmless but imagine a non white child seeing these illustrations and how confusing it might be..is this how the author saw us? To the white majority these images seem harmless but to the people they ‘represent’ they are humiliating.
Should the books be removed from libraries and book stores? I feel that by doing so we then remove the opportunity to have conversations with our kids/students about these illustrations and how they could be changed to properly represent different racial groups.
It’s important for my son and his biracial wife that characters in books, TV shows and movies that their children read or watch represent various races as real human beings not caricatures. When they see something that isn’t working they use it as a learning opportunity and discussion point.
The toy could just be referred to as Potato Head and left at that. Again a chance to have a discussion with kids/grands about binary and non binary gender. It’s the reality of our times.
Catherine I want to thank you for providing a platform for discussion. We all come from different places and we are all learning and growing. It’s good to share our thoughts while giving others the space and respect to share theirs.
hI Allison. Wow. I totally see your point in how non-white children, even families can view this. OTOH, I absolutely agree that these books should be a starting and vantage point for conversations between parent and child—especially when the children are too young to be subjected to the violence that we see on the news. This is a more gentle way to introduce the conversations with youth. I”m thrilled with the comments that have been received with this post. I’ll tell you I didn’t know what to expect but, as usual, we have a great group here. We can discuss subject matter in such a great civilized way–it really makes me happy! XOXOXOXO
Times are a-changin’. The books no longer published will have collector value in the future, same thing for Mr. Potato Head. One thing I will say is that The Grinch is my favorite and I’m glad they didn’t cancel him.
I love your sweatshirt. I should be wearing one of those. Where did you get it??
I have pandemic fatigue and your blog continues to inspire and at times amuse me. So grateful for your sense of humor, writing style, and commentary.
Hi Vava! the Shirt is from Thread Tank and you can use the code ATYPICAL10 for ten percent off! I love these shirts! And speaking of collector value the prices for these books has skyrocketed to the point of the ridiculous. Making money off of it is so ironic–isn’t it? I think we are all suffering from pandemic fatigue right now. I’ve been daydreaming of just walking outside with my face exposed to the elements–ain’t gonna happen for a long time! XOXOXOXO
I’ve thought more about the Dr. Seuss graphics and yes the time has come to put those on the shelf. As in cancelling them. They have no place in modern society. The remark by your first commenter brought it home for me – she was told to go back to ….. Tragic. And Biden’s predecessor reinforced that mentality and we need to push back. Heck, I recently ended a very long friendship because the ex-friend was making racist statements and somehow expected me to not call him on it. I did, and I am very glad I did.
The potato head thing is crazy, and I am with you on that, but Theodore Geisel did have racist beliefs and drew quite a few offensive cartoons: https://apjjf.org/2017/16/Minear.html
I learned to read with the Dr. Seuss dictionary and my children did, too. “Go Dog, Go” is one of my all-time favorite books. Having said that – I believe it is a good idea to remove those books with racist images, as if we see something enough, our crazy brains will believe it. Good idea not to expose children to images like that of the “Chinaman,” I think.
I appreciate the nuanced view taken by the publishing company and others in this issue, which hopefully indicates that the ‘slash-and-burn’ methods of the cancel culture are giving way to a more thoughtful examination of what should and should not be published or transmitted.
Hi Debra and I’m so grateful for your response because this post is definitely showing an assortment of opinions and we are able to discuss in a civilized manner! I know that Seuss later felt bad for his stereotypes of ethnic peoples. But, ya know, I see it more of ethnocentric behavior than true racism. If you are familiar with the books Little Black Sambo and Epamanundus (sp), you would see a true and just awful look at true racism in books. Although I respect the Seuss family for their decision to stop publishing, I think it would have been a more educational decision to either keep the books as they were and encourage parents to discuss racism and ethnocentric behavior with their children OR continue publication with edited versions that don’t show the offensive illustrations or verbiage. XOXOXOXO!!!
My favorite Dr. Seuss books included Horton’s adventures hatching an egg and hearing a Who. When I think of their author, I can’t help believing that he would be very unhappy to imagine his works hurting any child, however unintentionally and inadvertently. I suspect that this is why his estate’s publishing company has chosen these six of the sixty children’s books he wrote to hold back, so that no children could feel isolated or denigrated by what have “turned out” to be unkind representations of people like them. I see this as a sign of social progress – we have widened our perspective to understand that things that never seemed hurtful to most of us were indeed hurtful to some of us, even when those unhurt find it hard to understand. A good, kind friend, and a throughly decent person, once told me that she personally found take-offs of Asian names (such as Who Flung Dung) to be quite funny, and suggested that taking offense at such things showed a kind of ridiculous oversensitivity. I mentioned that I wouldn’t have wanted to read something like this to Mrs. Ming, my favorite librarian when I was a child, who might have seen it differently, and I didn’t think that seeing it that way revealed oversensitivity on her part. I’m not sure how this relates, except that we seldom go wrong listening to the people who are brave enough to object when an otherwise unnoticed bit of socially accepted representation hurts them. As far as Mrs. Potato Head, I too wondered why nobody seemed to remember her; I had a plastic set rather than styrofoam, and eventually decided that real potatoes were more fun – plus, there was no reason we couldn’t mix and match the various attributes of both, as we liked!
HI Marsha and points very well-taken. Yeah. Those take-offs of Asian names are just dopey and not humorous at all. And in his later years, Seuss did feel bad for the stereotypes he did use. And yeah–how come nobody seems to remember MRS. Potato head? I think that is rather sexist! XOXOXOXO
I really enjoyed this article and completely agree! The whole thing is getting crazy! Anyways, I wrote an article similar to yours about the Dr. Suess books as well. Feel free to check it out: https://storytimewithbell.wordpress.com/2021/03/07/dr-seuss-books-discontinued/
I think you missed the boat on this one, these companies made the smart decision to update their product for this time and age. I think it’s an excellent solution to just have The potatoes, and to stop publishing books with hurtful caricatures that are no longer off this age. It might have been ok in the fifties, today is a different era.
We know better we should do better.
As to saying ,I knew it was not ok as a kid, I’m glad you did. However where I live, OH, there sadly are communities and people who wholeheartedly still think off people off a different ethnicity in these stereotypes.
And let’s face it, companies especially toy and kids related they either get with the times or get left behind.
As always, you opened up a great topic for discussion and were respectful to other people’s point of view. Great topic!