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If I ran the zoo

When I became a columnist many years ago for this newspaper, I borrowed the title “If I Ran The Zoo” from a delightful book by Dr. Seuss. For me, it was just the perfect title for a column in which I could express my views on anything and everything.

Well, Seuss Enterprises, still run by his descendants, has just removed “If I Ran The Zoo” and five other books from publication due to controversy surrounding racist images within these books.

In a 1988 biography of Seuss, Ruth K. MacDonald notes the perceived presence of “occasional stereotypes of native peoples – potbellied, thick-lipped blacks from Africa, squirty- eyed Orientals” that may offend some readers today.

The Canadian Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom to Read project listed the book as having been challenged in 2015 for insensitivity and ethnic stereotyping.

I went to the bookstore to see if I could still buy the book but I was told that they weren’t able to sell it anymore. However, I was told that I could probably find it online but it would cost at least $40 for the purchase.

Now I am faced with a very tough decision to make. I love the name of my column, and it has no racist implications, but is there guilt by association in this situation? It has won best column in the state’s annual best newspaper contest several times.

I’d love to get feedback from my readers on this. You can connect with me via Facebook and let me know if you think I should keep the title or change it. If I will no longer be running the zoo, I’ll have to figure out another obligation.


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