Cat In The Racist Hat? Time Promotes Scholar of ‘Hidden Racism’ In Beloved Children’s Books

Forget all your favorite children’s books. They may be deeply racist. In the August 7 edition of Time magazine came an article headlined “The hidden (and not-so-hidden) racism in kids’ lit.” Sarah Begley reported:

In his new how dozens of beloved picture and chapter books leave negative messages in children’s minds.

Next to images of these classics of kiddie lit are this socialist professor’s hot take on how deeply racist each title was: 

THE CAT IN THE HAT: Dr. Seuss was a complicated figure – many of his books promoted tolerance, like Horton Hears a Who! Others descended to racial stereotyping, like characters “who wear their eyes in a slant” in If I Ran The Zoo. His famous Cat in the Hat took partial inspiration from minstrelsy. (Take a closer look at the white globes and the extravagant top hat)

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE: “The Little House books are super racist in the way they present Native Americans,” Nel says. “They are to be removed from the land, and are dehumanized when they are mentioned. The line ‘The only good Indian is a dead Indian’ shows up in there.”

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING: Books can have both virtues and sins. Pippi is a spunky role model for young girls, but her father travels to the South Seas and becomes “King of the Negros” (or in American editions since the ‘50s, “King of the Cannibals.”)

THE STORY OF BABAR: Babar presents “colonialism as benign,” Nel says. “ Babar becomes this civilized elephant, and because of that is able to go back to his people and be more respected because he’s become more European.”

Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompas are certainly dark-skinned midget slaves from overseas:

“No one wants to admit to enjoying something or liking something that perpetuates racial stereotypes. But we do, because a book can be beautiful and racist, a book can be a classic and racist, a book can be really pleasurable and also really racist.” For instance, one of Nel’s personal…

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