Monday, September 26, 2016

Banned Book: If I Ran the Zoo

If I Ran the Zoo is a typical silly Dr. Seuss book, if you ask me, but it's been banned for the line "all wear their eyes at a slant", which refers to the helpers, accompanied by an illustration of Asian stereotypes.

I never knew why this book was banned, and had never read it before. It was, as I mentioned, a typical Dr. Seuss book to me, but seemed a bit long. I was expecting something along the line of Green Eggs and Ham or Hop on Pop, but this one was a real time investment.

That being said, I don't think it should be banned for the stereotypes portrayed on the pages - instead, turn them into a teaching point. Talk about why it's a stereotype and why it's offensive, and depending on the age of the children, talk about other stereotypes they might know, and debunk them. We should learn from history instead of try to ban it and wish we could erase it.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, it shouldn't be banned. There's a lot of hyper-sensitivity in the world today. When these illustrations were rendered, AND the whole book is taken in context, aside from the text, the illustration is meant to amuse the reader in the same way every other illustration in every one of his "fantastical" books is meant to do. Some cultures are noted for carrying things on their heads, though more common in India, Africa and Europe than China, but cartoonists and illustrators (which Seuss was) won't always get those type details 100% right. This image was not drawn with racist intent just because Geisel had a racist bent from World War II back (as did most of America). Banning is wrong anyway :-\