Former President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris’ past quotes praising Dr. Seuss have gone viral after six of the author’s books were canceled over racist or insensitive imagery.
“We’re all the same, so why would we treat somebody differently just because they don’t have a star on their belly?” Obama told a group of White House interns in 2015. “If I think about responsibility, I think about Horton sitting on the egg up in the tree while Lazy Mayzie’s flying off, doing whatever she wants. Know what I mean?”
Obama also made the same comment about learning life lessons from Dr. Seuss’ books during an interview with author Dave Eggers in 2018.
“I’ve been quoted saying this sometimes,” Obama said during the interview. “Most of what you need to learn you can actually just, read Dr. Seuss.”
“It’s all pretty much there,” he added. (RELATED: Universal Orlando ‘Evaluating’ Seuss Landing After Pulling Dr. Seuss Books From Shelves)
Obama and his wife Michelle also celebrated National Read Across America Day by honoring the children’s author. When National Read Across America Day was launched in 1998, it was synonymous with Dr. Seuss, whose birthday falls on March 2.
“On Read Across America Day, we partner with the National Education Association and mark the birthday of Theodor Geisel, whose beloved Dr. Seuss books still inspire children throughout the world to read,” Obama said in a press release in 2009. Michelle also included Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” during her PBS Kids Read-Along in May of 2020.
Harris celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday in 2017. “Happy birthday, #DrSeuss!” she wrote at the time. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Happy birthday, #DrSeuss! “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) March 2, 2017
Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced the decision to stop publishing six titles following an outcry over insensitive or racist imagery in the books. The decision was announced in a statement on the company’s website.
“We are committed to action,” the statement said. “To that end, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, working with a panel of experts, including educators, reviewed our catalog of titles and made the decision last year to cease publication and licensing of the following titles: ‘And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,’ ‘If I Ran the Zoo,’ ‘McElligot’s Pool,’ ‘On Beyond Zebra!,’ ‘Scrambled Eggs Super!’ and The Cat’s Quizzer.’ These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” the statement continued.