Hit & Run

Librarian Rejects Melania Trump's Dr. Seuss Books as 'Racist Propaganda'

"We will not be keeping the titles for our collection."


Wavebreakmedia / Dreamstime

First Lady Melania Trump tried to donate ten Dr. Seuss books to a school library in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and because we live in the most frustratingly partisan times ever, this act of charity was deemed problematic by librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro.

"Dr. Seuss's illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes," wrote Soeiro in an open letter to the First Lady.

For this and other reasons—Soeiro again: "my students have access to a school library with over nine thousand volumes and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science," so, you know, they're all good—the gift was rejected.

"We will not be keeping the titles for our collection," the letter states.

Melania Trump's office fired back this morning.

"To turn the gesture of sending young students some books into something divisive is unfortunate, but the First Lady remains committed to her efforts on behalf of children everywhere," said a spokesperson.

As many people on Twitter have pointed out, Melania Trump was following in the footsteps of Michelle Obama, who often read Dr. Seuss books to kids. Would a librarian—sorry, a librarian with a graduate degree in library science—have rejected this gift if it came from Mrs. Obama? We will never know, but probably not.

In any case, Soeiro is actually right: yes, some of Dr. Seuss's drawings depict racial caricatures. Seuss actually had a huge blindspot when it came to Japanese Americans, and some of his early work can be read as a defense of Japanese internment policies during World War II. He also produced laudable anti-racist content, as seen below.

Dr. Suess

But none of that means The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, or Oh! The Places You'll Go are "steeped in racist propaganda," and even if they were, it still wouldn't justify yanking them off library shelves and prohibiting students from reading them. Is not a school the ideal place to learn something about historical cartoons and issues of race? Maybe instead of going all Fahrenheit 451 on the school's Seuss collection, Soeiro could put her graduate degree to use and talk to the kids about why she has a problem with some of the images.

Punk ass book jockeys, indeed.

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  1. If you want more Trump, this is how you get more Trump.

    1. One would think a person with a graduate degree in Library Science would be intelligent enough to get that point.

      1. No, I'm not sure I'd think that. There's not anything wrong with Librarians or anything, but from what I saw it isn't a particularly rigorous degree.

        1. Reading grad school dissertations on library science must be*pops on sunglasses* literally fascinating.

            1. Should the pants come off before the glasses go on?

              1. You would have to be wearing pants in the first place. I have yet to see a single shred of evidence that Fist wears pants when he posts comments.

          1. A graduate degree in library scientology.

        2. do you understand the dewey decimal system? Huh? We need someone who can figure that shit out.

      2. That degree means nothing. It's a 1-year online program.

      1. And then something went BUMP!
        How that bump made SIV jump!
        He looked,
        He saw her then,
        The hen in the pen!
        She looked his way, all zen,
        Said where can I find a good man or ten?
        I know some good games we can play,
        It does not matter if you are straight, bi, or gay,
        So open this pen as you come forth this way,
        And I'll be your Trump in a nice pile of hay.

      2. If you like your Trump, you can keep your Trump...

  2. she also said Dr. Seuss was a clich? (despite the bevy of PR shoots showing Michelle Obama reading Seuss to children) and she proceeded to recommend a list of ten multi-culti craptastic turds most kids slog through out of a sense of duty and in spite of a sense of boredom.

    moreover, she's just an ungracious shrew and her hideous visage will make a lovely feast for her cats when she dies, sad and alone.

    1. It becomes racist as soon as anyone relat3d to Trump is involved. For that is the progtard way.

      1. Wait - I was told the other day that Italians don't count as white people. Does that make Slovenians POCs, too? If so, is rejecting a gift of books from a POC racist?

      2. It becomes racist as soon as anyone relat3d to Trump is involved. For that is the progtard way.

        For shits and giggles, she should donate Obama's biography and Hillary's two ponderous tomes.

  3. Anyone who thinks they have a degree in "library science" clearly doesn't know what science is. Call it "library studies" or something. You'll look slightly less arrogant and ignorant, but only slightly.

    1. Science just means knowing about things. It was used in that sense before it's more specific meaning that we are used to today became dominant.

    2. The Dewey Decimal system is scienc-y.

      1. In the same way as The Twelve Days of Christmas song is scienc-y, sure.

    3. Marxists/Leninists thought the socialism they were practicing was scientific, too.

      Divorced from the actual scientific method, using the word science as a descriptor is a lot like gourmet: has no specific meaning other than to make you look smart/high quality.

      It really is abuse of the word and deception to make people think it involves the scientific method when it doesn't.

      1. Well, "gourmet" still has a meaning here in France. It's a name for someone who likes sophisticated food. I'm surprised people use it in english.

  4. Is not a school the ideal place to learn something about historical cartoons and issues of race?

    Not anymore it isn't. Public schools have lost all credibility. Kids these days learn everything they need to know about racism on 4chan/b/.

  5. I thought library scientists were the people who provide computers and bathrooms to homeless people.

    1. Zing!

      It's funny because it's true.

    2. They provide the taxpayer-funded gender neutral bathrooms for sure

      1. "For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?"

        If even today they contradict themselves and turn on a dime, pretending they were Always At War With the Cat In The Hat, when a quick Internet search will show they're full of crap. What will they do when they have the censorship powers the so eagerly (and understandably) seek?

        Orwell thought that before the authorities could pull off this sort of historical amnesia, they'd have to control the media and be able to destroy records of the past which contradict the current narrative. But they're not even waiting for that - they make easily-detectable changes of position and pretend they didn't.

        Once they have their hands on the levers of government censorship, it will get a hundred times worse. They'll be even more empowered to live in their own reality and try to impose that reality on others.

        1. Wait, I'm doing Orwell an injustice, because in one scene when they're doing an anti-Eurasia demonstration and the announcement comes down that they're at war with Eastasia, the people look around at all the pro-Eastasia banners and conclude that an enemy of the state must have plastered them up.

          (maybe I've got Eastasia and Eurasia reversed, but the point remains)

          1. So I got Orwell wrong and forget about his concept of doublethink...I'm off to re-education...hopefully I won't go to room 101, I'm hoping for Room 69.

            1. ""I won't go to room 101, I'm hoping for Room 69."'

              Either way, they have your medical and psych history and know your fears.

              1. Whatever you do, don't have someone who looks like Emma Thompson come in and give me a spanking!

    1. Oops.

    2. Just wait till conservatives find out that Dr. Seuss filled his books with occult imagery (The Cat In The Hat, in particular). Then everyone can hate Dr. Seuss.

    3. Beautiful.

  6. "Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit are suffering through expansion, privatization, and school "choice" with no interest in outcomes of children, their families, their teachers, and their schools. Are those kids any less deserving of books simply because of circumstances beyond their control?"

    Ah, she's discovered the real reasons these schools have problems!

    "Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss's illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes. Open one of his books (If I Ran a Zoo or And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example), and you'll see the racist mockery in his art. Grace Hwang Lynch's School Library Journal article, "Is the Cat in the Hat Racist? Read Across America Shifts Away from Dr. Seuss and Toward Diverse Books," reports on Katie Ishizuka's work analyzing the minstrel characteristics and trope nature of Seuss's characters. Scholar Philip Nel's new book, Was the Cat in the Hat Black? The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books, further explores and shines a spotlight on the systemic racism and oppression in education and literature."

    You should send a letter to Michelle "We Love Dr. Seuss in our house" Obama - see here.

    1. So this librarian dressed up as a character with "minstrel characteristics"?

      And she's insulting Michelle Obama for having associated with the Cat in the Hat, a "minstrel" character?

      How do these folks say contradictory things in public - celebrating a Seuss character one day, denouncing that character as racist another day, without mentioning their earlier action. Do they think the Ministry of Truth will obscure their earlier tweets?

    2. "shines a spotlight"


        1. ^This. I sense BPD.

            1. Borderling personality disorder?

              Barrels per day?

              That's all I got.

  7. About Liz Phipps Soeiro
    Liz Phipps Soeiro is an elementary school librarian in the Cambridge, MA, Public Schools. She is an advocate for inclusive libraries and active in her community to create spaces that are welcoming to all students.

    Oh I'm sure she is...


    1. Some of her students should walk into her library wearing MAGA hats. For (library) science.

      1. Don't worry. I'm sure her email inbox is full of messages from right-wing snowflakes like you.

        1. Projecting from a position of ignorance. How delightful!

    2. inclusive libraries

      By which she means libraries that exclude unacceptable books.

      1. Well, it is a time honored tradition here in these United States. Sadly.

        At my college, there was a glass case with a few 'banned books' in it so you could see some titles that had been banned. You were not allowed to read those books, but you could look at their covers through the glass.

        To this day, I have no idea why the hell you would do such a thing.

        1. That's just the sort of thing that would instantly make me read those books. I'm just that guy.

      2. By which she means libraries that exclude unacceptable books.

        Bradbury wasn't quite cynical enough with Fahrenheit 451

    3. Whenever I hear the word "inclusive", I reach for my revolver...

      1. Dick "Two Revolver" Puller was my nickname in college.

        1. You know who else pulled two revolvers?

    4. She should be investigated for seditious communist affiliations and activities.

    5. active in her community to create spaces that are welcoming to all students.

      The only way to achieve this, of course, is with the liquidation of all oppressive class enemies.

  8. So continues the new Cultural Revolution

  9. "Punk ass book jockeys"

  10. and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science,

    Rule of thumb: If the word "science" appears at the end of your field of study, it probably isn't.

    1. Material Science?

      1. Also, Computer Science

        1. I can't tell if you're saying CS is or isn't a science, but it's definitely a weird one. On one end it is deductive like math and not particularly scientific. A lot of large system work though is very empirical and scientific. Operating Systems and networks are two examples that can get pretty empirical.

          1. Unless you're not using the metric system. Then it's imperical?

      2. Rule of Thumb, home skillet. Not Iron Law.

        1. But you can pay the iron price.

  11. It's true that Dr. Seuss is a racist shitlord...

  12. the blog post that hosted Soeiro's initial letter went to bat for her in a subsequent post without mentioning whether the librarian's protest would have happened under a Democratic Administration.

    ha ha.

    1. Holy shit

      "How do we know she doesn't have Seuss books in her school library? (She does, by the way, thus the lack of a need for more of them.) This is her point: her school is well-funded and has a lot more resources than many schools do."

      She had a lot of points, one of which included this:

      "Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss's illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes." [etc.] And she cites an article entitled "Is the Cat in the Hat Racist? Read Across America Shifts Away from Dr. Seuss and Toward Diverse Books." Notice the phrase "Shifts Away from Dr. Seuss."

      Yeah, why would anyone assume she doesn't want Dr. Seuss in her library?

      This must be what they mean by "gaslighting."

      1. Dr. Seuss does is not sufficient anti-capitalist propaganda, so it needs to be replaced.

        1. Which is weird, because just a few years ago he was as rightthinkful as they come.

      2. The question I'd like an answer to then is this:

        Being that she's so concerned about the poor children in the poor underdunded schools why doesn't she quit her posh job in Cambridge and book her dr ass down to Philly ... surely this asshole is more concerned with the children then her facy pants well off school district salary.

  13. Those Sneetches must not have had stars upon thar's.

  14. Meh. So what? She didn't accept books from an immigrant who worked here illegally. And?

    1. That is sub-John Stewartesque.

    2. Ah, one of our resident low information progtards has chosen to opine. You pay your mortgage yet AmSoc?

    3. Yet she references a book about a woman incarcerated for being here illegally. Hypocrisy?

  15. I can't look away...I mean I could, but I don't want too, it's too morbidly fascinating...

    Here are the books she thinks are better than Dr. Seuss's works

    "On a family outing in the 1950s, Auntie Yang discovers a field of soybeans?and a way to overcome homesickness for China while sharing a very special food....

    "...Malik, skillfully using his handmade small kite to conquer the bully next door in the kite battle, is a real hero; that he uses a wheelchair is incidental to the story...."

    "In this gentle story, Haitian American Saya's mother is incarcerated because she has no papers. Danticat's direct, resonant prose doesn't shy away from the realities?telling of the loneliness of missing your mother and the trauma of saying goodbye at the detention facility."

    "Crayon Red is labeled red, but he colors blue, which creates frustration for the other crayons and thus Red himself."

    1. I think this librarian may be single-handedly responsibility for the popularity of video games.

      1. Children's books don't have as many rad titties as children's games too.

    2. Crayon Red is labeled red, but he colors blue, which creates opportunity for a lawyer to file a class action against the Crayola company, while Elizabeth Warren rambles on about consumer safety and discrimination against the colorblindfrustration for the other crayons and thus Red himself.

      1. Man, fuck blue for both identifying as and coloring blue. That cis-shitlord.

        1. Fuck Eiffel 65 for not being E-Rotic.

    3. "Quintavius and Thawonda, young African-American children, eat fresh watermelon slices while tenderly lamenting their poverty and illiteracy find hope and friendship in a friendly white liberal who teaches them to read."

      So woke.

      1. Quintavius is what made this so, so perfect. It's a real thing. I laughed hard.

        1. Credit where it's due, I lifted it from here:

          They still want a white school, just with other non-white children also participating. They want to go to the Christmas pageant and not have their white sensibilities violated because the other parents are too loud and boisterous and it makes them uncomfortable, for really no good reason. They don't want their kid to notice her whiteness in Pre-k and then find out while addressing that question, that while they already own great books about diversity, the only children's books specifically about whiteness are published by the KKK. They don't want their child to ask them why Quintavious's sister says she doesn't like white people.

          1. That was ... quite an article. I pity the daughter.

      2. Watermelon is not the preserve of one race...just avoid the seeds and the green parts and they're great.

        1. Make watermelon pickles from the green part.

        2. Watermelon green parts have similar effects as Viagra. Extrapolate from there...

    4. "Crayon Red is labeled red, but he colors blue, which creates frustration for the other crayons and thus Red himself."

      Kinda makes me want to stab Soeiro and Hall to death with a line segment.

      1. I thought you were going to link this.

        But yours is good, too.

    5. The heartfelt story is accompanied by enamel on porcelain art carefully drawn with colored glazes

      Sounds dope. Ceramic work is cool. Though these books sound like they're for slightly older kids than Dr. Seuss. His stuff is for like 3-4 year olds I thought.

  16. Quick, someone donate a few copies of Heinlein's Starship Troopers to her "inclusive safe space" of a library.

    1. Or Lever Action by L. Neil Smith.

  17. Genius move to attack the flag, the National Anthem, and now Dr. Seuss because Trump or Mrs. Trump is for them.

    Trump need only tweet "Mom and apple pie are wonderful, God bless America!" to have people like this make blog posts about how apple pie is icky, Mom is a slut, God doesn't exist, and America is racist.

    1. Apple Pie is icky, cake is better.

      1. Especially the coerced kind.

      2. only to retards. retards love cake.

      3. If you really want pie, make a cobbler instead. Has everything good about pie but gets rid of the soggy bottom crust.

        1. ewww you are just the worst sort of person. the soft undercrust is the best part you uncultured goat.

          1. the soft undercrust is the best part you uncultured goat.

            Or you could eat the crust fresh, while still crispy, and discard any unconsumed pieces like a real American.

            As a kid, Mom would bake the crust and the filling separate and combine them shortly before dinner. More than once, my brother and I would raid the fridge before dinner and eat the crust and the filling "independently" chips-and-salsa style.

            Then we developed some culture and learned to enjoy wholly-assembled pie with coffee like real adults.

        2. I like brown betty quite a bit myself.

          1. Racist misogynist!

  18. "Green Eggs and Ham" is a celebration of rape culture. Sam-I-am refuses to accept that "no means no", and the title is pretty clearly a euphemism for male genitalia.

    I would not like them with a goat, indeed.

    1. And in the end he liked what he got.

  19. Is she doing this on Banned Books Week to be ironic?

  20. I'm not triggered by someone who has a library science degree so my level of interest is low compared to some of you, but-- as a libertarian-- I am at least cheered that someone refused books from this Evita Peron wannabe. Geesch, the peasants who these days!

    1. Geesch, the peasants who these days!

      You know who else whos?


        All the Whos down in Whoville liked goodness a lot
        But the Master, that villain, assuredly did not
        The Master, he didn't like goodness at all
        And he could turn people many sizes too small
        But before the Master could finish his plot
        A police box appeared, and the Doctor yelled STOP!
        But the Master stayed evil, he didn't go clean
        He locked the Doctor in a Death Machine
        The Doctor was clever, he was just like McGuiver
        He escaped with the help of his sonic screwdriver
        He had the help of companions who all did their parts
        They were sexy as heck (good thing the Doctor had two hearts)
        The master was beaten, they sent him away
        But he said "I'll come back and conquer you some day."

        1. Genius! Did you write this?

      2. Paris Hilton?

  21. Open letter, eh? She's really opened herself up. I have little sympathy for what's likely to happen next.

    1. Closed her twitter account though.
      You can bet there were a few "interesting" tweets there.

      1. When Virtue Signaling Boomerangs

  22. So she's a cosmolibrarian?

  23. Ironically, Dr. Seuss's books taught a lot of kids not to judge people by how they look, and that even people as evil and cold as the Grinch could someday be rehabilitated.

  24. Liberals have let their hate and ideology lead them to the nut house.

  25. ...the editorial posted online gave the impression that the statement reflected the position or actions of the Cambridge Public Schools. Our school district did not authorize any such statement.

    The employee got slapped down.

    1. "We have counseled the employee on all relevant policies, including donations policies and the policy against public resources being used for political purposes."


      1. "Melania has naughty librarian punished!"

        1. "Melania versus the misbehaving librarian"

          I should write for The Sun in England.

  26. librarian with a graduate degree in library science

    I wonder how it feels to have spent 6 years in college to end up working in a public school library.

    1. I suspect that if she had anything more than a master's she would have been more specific than just saying "graduate degree".

  27. I refuse to listen to the opinion in anybody who has a degree - much less a GRADUATE degree - in "library". How many years of school do you need to learn "reading"? And if it's anything more than 0.5, what are they teaching you that isn't ALREADY IN THE GODDAMN LIBRARY?

  28. Truth be told, Dr Seuss books are mired in racism. I learned to read with their help, and now, even four decades later, I still harbour an irrational fear of shrivelled green men who make their dogs pull giant sleighs as well as talking elephants and anthropomorphic cats. I'm also violently allergic to purple trees with bright orange trunks.

  29. Meh! I kinda wanna turn the garden hose on both of them. Clearly, the librarian jumped at the chance to snub anyone associated with the administration (as have many musical artists and professional sports players/teams), as though to say "If *you're* not going to respect the office you're holding, then *I* sure ain't". However, I don't think she should be allowed to use her office to make that statement at the expense of the library patrons having some extra books.
    Yet, at the same time, keep in mind that the whole donation of the books by Melania was just a publicity stunt / photo op. It's not like she was cleaning out the attic and came across Baron's 1st-grade readers and, then, instead of just giving them to one of the servants, decided to take it upon herself to deliver them to a public library. "Look, everybody! Watch your administration caring about education! These ten books *prove* it!". Look, lady, don't be shocked when your half-baked PR stunt backfires. Just go back to being the arm-candy that Donald bought you to be.

  30. So Dr Seuss had a blind spot when it come to the Japanese American internment.

    Well guess who else had a "blind spot" on that subject...Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Earl Warren.

    Shall we now purge there work from American history?

  31. I was seven years old when "The Sneetches" came out. I read it as an anti-racist story.

    More recently, I've seen many public libraries adopting a self-destructive policy of throwing out valuable books, wasting public funds on junk that plugs into the wall and will be useless five years from now, and not being especially appreciative of their patrons either. Few people have ever loved libraries more than I used to, but now I have to agree that they're a waste of tax money and deserve defunding...or privatization, so they can be preserved by and for book lovers.

  32. To be fair, Green Eggs and Ham can be read as a metaphor for the eventual downfall of communism due to the overwhelming appeal of capitalism, so she's just helping to make sure nothing interferes with the mission of the school district to turn the kids into good little socialists.

  33. Goddamnit! Tony and his ilk are guaranteeing Trump another 4 years with this shit! Hey Tony, can you call an all-hands meeting with your fellow travelers and see if you can get them to tone down faux outrage?

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