Dr. Seuss’ books have been sold in more than 100 countries and brought in $33 million last year. Now six of them will not be published. In a statement to the Associated Press, Dr. Seuss Enterprises said it listened to feedback from the public.
The comments highlight Syuss’s stereotypical representations of people of color, such as. B. the image of a Chinese man with almond-shaped eyes holding chopsticks. The Huffington Post reported that school districts across the country have turned away from his books because of the stereotypical depictions Seuss provides. Loudoun Country Schools in Virginia, for example, said in a statement: Research in recent years has revealed strong racial overtones.
Denial of service
USA TODAY noted that Seuss’ daughter-in-law, Lark Gray Dimond-Kates, told the New York Post that there were no racial bones in the man’s body. But she acknowledged that the decision to stop the press was the right one: I think the world is suffering right now and we all need to be very gentle, caring and kind to each other.
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The Seuss Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts has also decided to do the right thing by removing the mural Chinese Stereotype, an image from Seuss’ book And I Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
Prejudice in painting
But wait. If Seuss’s books are already too racist because his drawings depict stereotypically colored people, how much more offensive is museum art like, say, Jan Steen’s 1663 painting Fantasy Interior, which is in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. Speaking of clichés, read on.
What you see is clearly a well-to-do Dutch couple in their well-appointed living room, listening to their two adult daughters play music, one on a harpsichord, the other on a stringed instrument. In the clearly visible lower left corner of this painting, we see a smiling black man – a slave or servant – holding a glass in one hand and extending the other to the pitcher on the ground with a broad smile on his face, as if under the influence.
Not just Dr. Seuss.
If Seuss’ drawings are stencils of minorities removed from circulation because of stereotypes, shouldn’t Steen be concerned about the black-obsessed formula?
I also think of Benedetto Gennari’s painting of Diana the Huntress, from 1688, which was exhibited at the Tate Britain last year. She is surrounded not only by wild animals and tame dogs, but also by black children, as if they too were animals – tame or wild.
If Tate wanted to show this work, shouldn’t it have offered a curatorial statement to address the explicit racism?
And while I’m at it, there are Paul Gauguin paintings of naked Tahitian women, highlighting the patriarchal privilege of French colonial rule in the South Pacific. The blatant racism of this artist is not talked about often enough, if ever.
When he was in Tahiti, he took not one but three women, two aged 13 and one aged 14, and infected each girl with syphilis.
According to Caroline Verku, professor of art history at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, there is a real blind spot when it comes to the most problematic aspects of Gauguin’s stay in Polynesia.
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