Your thoughts on Dr Seuss and racism?

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Vapordave
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#81
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#81
(Original post by Joel 96)
What do you call this then?
The decision by Dr Seuss's estate to withdraw six of his forty-five children's books from further publishing after deeming the depictions of some characters to be problematic.

Disagree all you want, but don't exaggerate the truth.
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Joel 96
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#82
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#82
(Original post by Vapordave)
The decision by Dr Seuss's estate to withdraw six of his forty-five children's books from further publishing after deeming the depictions of some characters to be problematic.

Disagree all you want, but don't exaggerate the truth.
"Cancel culture (or call-out culture) is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to be "cancelled".[1] Merriam-Webster notes that to "cancel", as used in this context, means "to stop giving support to that person"[2] while Dictionary.com, in its pop-culture dictionary, defines cancel culture as "withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive."".

Dr Seuss has been ostracized to the point where he is now considered by many to have been a racist, with 6 of his publications now deleted. By definition, it seems to be an example of cancel culture? I don't need to exaggerate anything, your side is doing all the exaggerating over harmless, fun caricatures.
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fallen_acorns
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#83
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#83
I'm finding the outrage cylcles really hard to care about these days.

I like Dr. Seuss a lot - some of his books are my favourite. I feel like this should annoy me, but I just can't bring myself to give a **** about this debate any more.

(saying that.. here is a lot of text it)

I can see both sides to a degree.

I'm not a moral absolutist, and I despise this contradiction in progressive ideology. In my academic life I spend ages reading/writing inside paradigms that are held up by progressive academics for being reflective, adaptable, and rejecting universal rules. It really confuses me that most progressive ideology is built on interpretive type ideals where everything is subjective, and yet when it comes to history and morality it flips 180 degrees into an absolutist, positivist approach where there are rules, and they are universal no matter what the time, what the situation etc.

That part annoys me...

On the other hand, the fact that these books are aimed at children makes this a bit more complicated. It's one thing expecting adults to understand that morality and good/bad are relative and not absolute/universal (although even that is hard these days), but to expect kids to understand it? Without help?

That makes the situation a little more complex for me.

In general I'm always in favour of educating rather than removing, so its a shame the publishers didn't go down that route. A few pages at the start, nicely illustrated, could help kids understand the context and turn the whole thing into a learning excerise about societal change and development. But it's not the end of the world either way.
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SHallowvale
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#84
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#84
(Original post by Joel 96)
Dr Seuss has been ostracized to the point where he is now considered by many to have been a racist
[Citation Needed]
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Vapordave
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#85
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#85
You're exaggerating. Anyone who actually believes that has not done at least the slightest bit of research into what happened, and does not know that he was an anti-racist.

These are not harmless, fun caricatures. These are damaging stereotypes.
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Joel 96
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#86
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#86
(Original post by SHallowvale)
[Citation Needed]
I mean, go on Twitter. I would have thought the fact that he's being smeared as a racist on social media was beyond dispute at this point. But okay, let's have a look at some headlines:

"Pulling racist Dr. Seuss books makes kids’ literature better and more inclusive"

"Dr Seuss rockets up US charts after books pulled over racist portrayals "

"The reckoning with Dr. Seuss' racist imagery has been years in the making"

"Dr. Seuss had a long history of publishing racist and anti-Semitic work. Now, six of his books will no longer be published because they "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong," the business that preserves the author's legacy says."

(Original post by Vapordave)
You're exaggerating. Anyone who actually believes that has not done at least the slightest bit of research into what happened, and does not know that he was an anti-racist.

These are not harmless, fun caricatures. These are damaging stereotypes.
If he was an anti-racist, why would he have a long history of supposed anti-semitic and racist publications? That's why the books are being pulled, right? Because they have racist, stereotypical caricatures which you believe to be damaging?
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Vapordave
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#87
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#87
(Original post by Joel 96)
If he was an anti-racist, why would he have a long history of supposed anti-semitic and racist publications? That's why the books are being pulled, right? Because they have racist, stereotypical caricatures which you believe to be damaging?
I didn't know about CNN's claim*, but it wouldn't surprise me from a cartoonist of his generation. However, he has written many anti-racist works, especially during WW2 and the internment of Japanese-Americans, and tried to right his wrongs (in the context of racist portrayals). I imagine that were he alive in 2021 he may have redrawn the offending books to remove racist stereotypes.

Surprisingly, people aren't 100% good or bad on a given subject.

*I do not agree with the wording of that title.
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Joel 96
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#88
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#88
(Original post by Vapordave)
I didn't know about CNN's claim*, but it wouldn't surprise me from a cartoonist of his generation. However, he has written many anti-racist works, especially during WW2 and the internment of Japanese-Americans, and tried to right his wrongs (in the context of racist portrayals). I imagine that were he alive in 2021 he may have redrawn the offending books to remove racist stereotypes.

Surprisingly, people aren't 100% good or bad on a given subject.

*I do not agree with the wording of that title.
I'm pretty sure it's possible to simultaneously be an anti-semite and do other anti-racist stuff for Japanese-Americans in one's life. Generally, if somebody shows anti-semitic behaviour, you refer to them as an anti-semite, so I don't see why you're giving Dr Seuss so much leeway.

I don't feel comfortable speaking about what a dead man might do in today's society, as I don't feel it's my place to speak for the dead, but the problem is that people are cancelling a dead guy who can't defend his own name. I also object to the idea that we can rewrite history by burning books. Would you also support burning Mein Kampf, or Huckleberry Finn? If not, why not? They would seemingly promote racist behaviours by your criteria.
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SHallowvale
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#89
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#89
(Original post by Joel 96)
I mean, go on Twitter. I would have thought the fact that he's being smeared as a racist on social media was beyond dispute at this point. But okay, let's have a look at some headlines:
I did go to Twitter. Searching "Dr Seuss Racist" gave tweets that are overwhelmingly supportive of him.

Most of the tweets that even associated him with racism only say that some of his books were racist, not that he himself were racist. The tweets that did say he is racist were few and far between and had barely any likes / support in comparison to those which were supportive of him.

The idea that Dr Seuss has been "ostracised" is laughable.
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Joel 96
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#90
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#90
(Original post by SHallowvale)
I did go to Twitter. Searching "Dr Seuss Racist" gave tweets that are overwhelmingly supportive of him.

Most of the tweets that even associated him with racism only say that some of his books were racist, not that he himself were racist. The tweets that did say he is racist were few and far between and had barely any likes / support in comparison to those which were supportive of him.

The idea that Dr Seuss has been "ostracised" is laughable.
You're applying quantitative measures to my original statement. I said, "he is now considered by many to have been a racist", which is not quantitative. I never stated that the majority of people are calling Dr Seuss a racist. It is fact that many people are now calling Dr Seuss a racist compared to before his books were pulled. This is an attempt to denigrate one's character; it's character assassination.

You can't state that one's actions are racist without inadvertently condemning that same person as a racist, unless you go to great lengths in defending that person's character alongside your criticisms, which nobody on the cancellation side seems to be doing.

It is ostracization. You can't even sell those books on eBay anymore.
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Vapordave
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#91
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#91
(Original post by Joel 96)
I'm pretty sure it's possible to simultaneously be an anti-semite and do other anti-racist stuff for Japanese-Americans in one's life. Generally, if somebody shows anti-semitic behaviour, you refer to them as an anti-semite, so I don't see why you're giving Dr Seuss so much leeway.

I don't feel comfortable speaking about what a dead man might do in today's society, as I don't feel it's my place to speak for the dead, but the problem is that people are cancelling a dead guy who can't defend his own name. I also object to the idea that we can rewrite history by burning books. Would you also support burning Mein Kampf, or Huckleberry Finn? If not, why not? They would seemingly promote racist behaviours by your criteria.
I don't know much about the antisemitism, but from my research he also "railed against antisemitism" so I don't know.

Again, you have not given me any overt evidence of cancelling other than one inflammatory title.
Who is burning books? They are not being banned, just ceasing to be published. When they enter the public domain they will probably be published once more.
I don't know about Mein Kampf (It was actually banned in Germany before it went into the public domain) but I wouldn't agree with Huckleberry Finn being burned and completely erased from the face of the earth. That is not happening here, though.
There's also the stark difference that both of the aforementioned books are not targeted at children, but that's not overly relevant to my point.
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Joel 96
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#92
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#92
(Original post by Vapordave)
Again, you have not given me any overt evidence of cancelling other than one inflammatory title.
I supplied you both the definition of cancel culture. What has happened to Dr Seuss' name fits the exact definition of cancel culture, so if you refuse to take the definition as evidence, then you fundamentally must disagree with the defintion and define cancelling for me in your own terms.

(Original post by Vapordave)
Who is burning books? They are not being banned, just ceasing to be published. When they enter the public domain they will probably be published once more.
Right, so these books are being ostracised in society. I will be very surprised if you can find them in public libraries from now on. You can't get them off eBay anymore, and I'm sure Amazon will probably follow suite soon. "Banning" is obviously a very heavy word with strong connotations, but this is as close to a ban - without technically banning - that I know of. You're kidding yourself if you think these books will ever enter the public domain again.

(Original post by Vapordave)
I don't know about Mein Kampf (It was actually banned in Germany before it went into the public domain) but I wouldn't agree with Huckleberry Finn being burned and completely erased from the face of the earth. That is not happening here, though.
So you're open to the idea of book-burning Mein Kampf?
And why wouldn't you agree with Huckleberry Finn? The n-word is said repeatedly in the book, and for a side that doesn't care about context, I thought you'd be against that.

(Original post by Vapordave)
There's also the stark difference that both of the aforementioned books are not targeted at children, but that's not overly relevant to my point.
So only children can be fed racist propaganda? Adults are susceptible to it?
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Joel 96
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#93
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#93
(Original post by Joel 96)
and I'm sure Amazon will probably follow suite soon.
My bad, they already have. I can't find these books online anywhere. Definite book-burning going on.
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SHallowvale
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#94
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#94
(Original post by Joel 96)
You're applying quantitative measures to my original statement. I said, "he is now considered by many to have been a racist", which is not quantitative. I never stated that the majority of people are calling Dr Seuss a racist. It is fact that many people are now calling Dr Seuss a racist compared to before his books were pulled. This is an attempt to denigrate one's character; it's character assassination.

You can't state that one's actions are racist without inadvertently condemning that same person as a racist, unless you go to great lengths in defending that person's character alongside your criticisms, which nobody on the cancellation side seems to be doing.

It is ostracization. You can't even sell those books on eBay anymore.
Ostracisation means exclusion from a group or a society. If by "many" you mean a few hundred people in and amongst tens of thousands then this clearly isn't an issue and it definitely isn't ostracisation.

A quick search on eBay would prove otherwise. People are selling these books.
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Ascend
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#95
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#95
(Original post by Joel 96)
I never stated that the majority of people are calling Dr Seuss a racist. It is fact that many people are now calling Dr Seuss a racist compared to before his books were pulled. This is an attempt to denigrate one's character; it's character assassination.
It doesn't really matter. Accusations of racism nowadays are becoming farts in the wind with the emerging woke conceptions of "whiteness" and "white-adjacent" identities.

I'd wager that even children reading Seuss's books have more capacity for nuance than most millennials and zoomers.
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Vapordave
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#96
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#96
(Original post by Joel 96)
I supplied you both the definition of cancel culture. What has happened to Dr Seuss' name fits the exact definition of cancel culture, so if you refuse to take the definition as evidence, then you fundamentally must disagree with the defintion and define cancelling for me in your own terms.
I define cancelling as when a public figure is deplatformed across multiple platforms and public opinion largely turns against them.
Unless there are large swathes of the virtual town square that I am not aware of, this has not happened.

(Original post by Joel 96)
Right, so these books are being ostracised in society. I will be very surprised if you can find them in public libraries from now on. You can't get them off eBay anymore, and I'm sure Amazon will probably follow suite soon. "Banning" is obviously a very heavy word with strong connotations, but this is as close to a ban - without technically banning - that I know of. You're kidding yourself if you think these books will ever enter the public domain again.
I can't speak for public libraries sans pure speculation, but they are still available on eBay.

Unless US copyright law changes, they will enter public domain from 2032 to 2071.

(Original post by Joel 96)
So you're open to the idea of book-burning Mein Kampf?
And why wouldn't you agree with Huckleberry Finn? The n-word is said repeatedly in the book, and for a side that doesn't care about context, I thought you'd be against that.
I never said that, but I would need to think harder about that.
Don't generalise my critical thinking skills based on my politics, please and thank you.

(Original post by Joel 96)
So only children can be fed racist propaganda? Adults are susceptible to it?
Never said that, but adults are more resistant to it, as opposed to impressionable children/
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Ascend
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#97
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#97
(Original post by SHallowvale)
A quick search on eBay would prove otherwise. People are selling these books.
(Original post by Vapordave)
I can't speak for public libraries sans pure speculation, but they are still available on eBay.
It seems that eBay have, in fact, committed to delisting the books.
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SHallowvale
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#98
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#98
(Original post by Ascend)
It seems that eBay have, in fact, committed to delisting the books.
The word of an anonymous spokesperson in an email need not be taken as gospel. At the moment there are dozens of these books still up for auction. Perhaps eBay are just inefficient at removing banned material, so it has yet to be seen if this is a real policy of their (let alone a serious one).

I have my doubts. The 'emails' that people have supposedly received from eBay look pretty fake.
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Joel 96
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#99
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#99
(Original post by SHallowvale)
Ostracisation means exclusion from a group or a society. If by "many" you mean a few hundred people in and amongst tens of thousands then this clearly isn't an issue and it definitely isn't ostracisation.

A quick search on eBay would prove otherwise. People are selling these books.
Considering that Dr Seuss' books are no longer available on the biggest internet shops, are now being discontinued from being published, can be confidently asserted as being excluded from your local libraries. It's all well-and-good saying that the majority don't have a problem with the books, but the most powerful are the ones controlling the books and the media. The left undeniably have more social control, power and influence, which is why the top search results are all by The Guardian, The Washington Post, CNN and NBC, spouting about how RACIST these books are and attempting to justify the ostracization of these books.

If you don't feel comfortable calling it ostracization, then let's call it exclusion.

And Ascend already pointed out that the books are in the process of being delisted as we speak. You won't see them online anymore.

(Original post by Vapordave)
I define cancelling as when a public figure is deplatformed across multiple platforms and public opinion largely turns against them.
Unless there are large swathes of the virtual town square that I am not aware of, this has not happened.
Okay, well that's a completely different definition, because you're dealing with whether they have a presense on social media (doesn't/can't apply to Dr Seuss since he's dead) and whether the public is quantitatively against them.

If we follow the real definiton, cancel culture refers to those whose characters have been denigrated to the point of condemnation and ostracisation, and "withdrawing support for public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive".

(Original post by SHallowvale)
I can't speak for public libraries sans pure speculation, but they are still available on eBay.
I think it can be confidently asserted that libraries won't have these books.
And yeah, eBay is currently delisting them and already has done:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-Dr-Seuss.html

(Original post by SHallowvale)
I never said that, but I would need to think harder about that.
Well, if you have to think about it, then you're open to the possibility of it. I'm not putting words in your mouth.

(Original post by SHallowvale)
Don't generalise my critical thinking skills based on my politics, please and thank you.
You're against caricatures of creatures and people in Dr Seuss books: fictional universes where characters are drawn ugly and funny-looking. Sounds to me like you don't care about context.

(Original post by SHallowvale)
Never said that, but adults are more resistant to it, as opposed to impressionable children/
I fail to see the distinction. If there is racist propaganda out there, surely you'd be against its existence for all ages.
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Joel 96
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#100
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#100
(Original post by SHallowvale)
The word of an anonymous spokesperson in an email need not be taken as gospel. At the moment there are dozens of these books still up for auction. Perhaps eBay are just inefficient at removing banned material, so it has yet to be seen if this is a real policy of their (let alone a serious one).

I have my doubts. The 'emails' that people have supposedly received from eBay look pretty fake.
Seriously? It's evident just by looking on the site.

This is what you're crippling yourself down to to avoid any potential reconciliation about the fact that this is ostracisation?
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