Dr Seuss’ stepdaughter defends author after racism allegations: 'There wasn’t a racist bone in his body'
Lark Grey Dimond-Cates came to her stepfather's defense after six of his books were pulled from publication
Renowned children's author Dr. Seuss was not a racist, his stepdaughter has declared. Lark Grey Dimond-Cates came to her stepfather's defense after six of his books were pulled from publication on Tuesday because of their alleged racist undertones. "There wasn’t a racist bone in that man’s body — he was so acutely aware of the world around him and cared so much," Dimond-Cates told the New York Post.
According to Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which oversees the legacy of author Theodor Seuss Geisel, the titles "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong."
Dimond-Cates said she thought removing the six books from publication was probably a "wise decision" in "this day and age," but hoped the titles would eventually go back into publication “because his body of work is unique.”
According to The New York Post, the six books that will be pulled from shelves are: 'The Cat’s Quizzer', 'If I Ran the Zoo', 'And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street', 'McElligot’s Pool', 'On Beyond Zebra!' and 'Scrambled Eggs Super!' "I think this is a world that right now is in pain, and we’ve all got to be very gentle and thoughtful and kind with each other," Dimond-Cates, a sculptor living in California, told the newspaper. "This is just very difficult, painful times that we live in. We’re taking that into account and being thoughtful. We don’t want to upset anybody," she added.
The Biden administration is also battling questions surrounding the children's author, whose works have come under the scanner in recent years for controversial portrayals of Blacks, Asians and other groups. According to a paper on Geisel's work, published in the journal Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, Asian characters were described by the author as "helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant" from "countries no one can spell."
Biden did not mention Dr Seuss in his proclamation on Read Across America Day, a National Education Association-sponsored event that coincides with the birthday of the author on March 2. Previous presidents Trump and Obama had both mentioned Dr Seuss during their respective proclamations. Obama said in 2014 that Dr Seuss called "us to open our minds, to take responsibility for ourselves and our planet."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki — who was responsible for writing the president's proclamation to the Department of Education — said on Tuesday, March 2 that it's "important that children of all backgrounds see themselves in the children’s books that they read." It's worth noting that Dr Seuss, who died in 1991, became a household name for his widely-acclaimed books for children. His works have been translated into dozens of languages and distributed in more than 100 countries.
"Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families," Dr Seuss Enterprises told the Associated Press of its decision to pull the six titles.
The author's works continue to grow in popularity, reporting $33 million in earnings before taxes in 2020. Forbes listed the author as the second-highest-paid dead celebrity of 2020, second only to Michael Jackson. In fact, Dr Seuss' books dominated more than half of Amazon's bestseller list in the US following Tuesday's announcement.