SPRINGFIELD, MASS. (WHDH) - A mural controversy in Springfield has prompted officials at the Dr. Seuss Museum to remove an image that some say depicts a “jarring racial stereotype.”
The mural comes from the 1937 book “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street.” It tells the story of a little boy exaggerating what he saw on his way home from school. It eventually ends with a parade scene, depicting what some are calling offensive and hurtful.
Three children’s book authors recently posted a letter on Twitter, saying they would not participate in the upcoming Children’s Book Festival at the museum because of a mural that shows an Asian man with chopsticks, a pointed hat and slanted eyes.
Mike Curato, Mo Willems and Lisa Yee wrote the letter, which read in part:
“We find this caricature of ‘The Chinaman’ deeply hurtful, and have concerns about children’s exposure to it. While this image may have been considered amusing to some when it was published 80 years ago, it is obviously offensive in 2017 (the year the mural was painted.)”
Some gathered outside the museum took a look at the image and did not find it to be racially insensitive.
“I see a very happy man with chopsticks eating his food. I don’t see anything offensive about that,” Pam Fleming said. “I don’t feel like it’s racist at all,” Jose Estrada said.
Some said the museum was stuck in a tough place.
“They’re in a catch 22. No matter what decision you make, somebody’s not gonna be happy,” Michael Walker said.
Museum administration acknowledged that Dr. Seuss’ early works contained some hurtful stereotypes and that his views changed over time.
“The museum will replace it with a new image that reflects the wonderful characters and messages from Dr. Seauss’ later works,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement.
The mural is still on display at this time. Officials say they are working on plans to finalize what will be hung in its place.
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