CAPAC Leaders Thank Estate of Dr. Seuss and Criticize Republican Leaders who Downplay Anti-Asian Racism

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Image from “If I Ran the Zoo,” one of the books discontinued by Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

WASHINGTON — On March 2, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it would stop publishing six books by the late author that included racist imagery or text.

One of the books, “If I Ran the Zoo,” contains characterizations of Asian men carrying a caged animal on their heads and describes them as people “with their eyes all a slant.”

Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), CAPAC First Vice Chair Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), CAPAC Second Vice Chair Mark Takano (D-Riverside), and CAPAC Whip Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) issued the following joint statement:

“We welcome the decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to cease publication of books that perpetuate harmful stereotypes of Asian Americans and other people of color. One of the ways racism and prejudice are inherited by the next generation is through media – books, television, and movies – that normalize racist portrayals.

“By discontinuing these books, Dr. Seuss Enterprises is doing their part to end that cycle. Just as we no longer tolerate minstrel shows or teach anti-Semitic texts, neither should we accept old and harmful stereotypes of Asians. This is particularly important right now as Asian Americans are experiencing an historic spike in hate crimes.

“And that is why it is so dismaying that, once again, Republicans like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) are downplaying the threat of anti-Asian bigotry. Last year, as the House of Representatives debated a resolution condemning anti-Asian hate crimes, Republican members of Congress like Rep. McCarthy came to the floor to not only deny that their slurs like ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘kung flu’ were contributing to this spike in hate crimes, they actually doubled down on using those terms, insisting it was right.

“Now, even as anti-Asian hate crimes continue to increase, Republicans are similarly downplaying the need to remove racist portrayals of Asians in the media. No child should be taught that they are different or be treated as a joke because an outdated children’s book taught them that, and all of our leaders should have the courage to be able to defend our children from bullying. Instead, they choose belligerence, lies, and bigotry.

“This has nothing to do with books like ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ or ‘The Cat in the Hat,’ and Rep. McCarthy knows that. By intentionally obfuscating, he is continuing to excuse racism against Asian Americans. This is inexcusable and we should all be adult enough to say so.”

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