Continuing my commentary from Part I, let us recount; when feather-brained Katie Ishizuka and her younger sidekick, balding Ramon Stephens, used any obtuse excuse to reduce Dr. Seuss, they did so for three reasons; to besmirch fair Melania Trump, gain credibility from academic apparatchiks, and redirect Dr. Seuss readers to their own subscription library business. It was sabotage all around.
I demonstrated in Part One how the far-left couple’s criticisms of Dr. Seuss’s children’s books were based on faulty logic, lies, misinformation, and mistakes, along with a profound ignorance of cartooning, printing, the evolution of design, stage production, culture, African American history, and child psychology.
Katie and Ramon were exposed as a camera-shy pair of racist saboteurs fleeing family controversy in Seattle, Washington, to find refuge in San Diego. There they nest at taxpayers’ expense in State-run universities, sucking on the government teat while finding ways to rustle up other business with all the spare time they have. I will now continue answering quotes (in blue italic) from their 50-page attack (backup here) on Dr. Seuss:
His cartoons, advertisements, and writings often exhibited explicit anti-Black racism. He consistently portrayed Africans and African Americans as monkeys and cannibals—often holding spears, surrounded by flies, and wearing grass skirts.
Nothing Seuss did was racist, and the video below shows how easily Katie Ishizuka misunderstands cartoons. In this case, she wrongly describes a Seuss cartoon of two African tribesmen as “monkeys.”
Pointing to a cartoon of two African tribesmen, Ishizuka says, “Another example is, um, these African characters who are also, um, carrying an animal to the White male child zoo, um, they are depicted as monkeys, um, nearly naked—”
If they are monkeys, why call them characters, and when do monkeys wear nose rings, skirts, and head-dresses, or carry large birds on poles? And why did she call them nearly naked? How many monkeys wear clothes? Are cows without clothes naked too? Katie and Ramon accuse Seuss of portraying blacks as monkeys and gorillas because neither Katie nor Ramon understands American cartoons.
I guess Katie saw too many Japanese anime drawings as a child and thinks that anything dark with two legs must be a monkey. I am not sure what Ramon’s excuse could be – perhaps his scandalous father, Fred Stephens, prevented him from watching cartoons on TV.
Did the cartoon tribesman’s nose ring fool them? As I have explained, colors were limited. Seuss probably wanted a gold color for the ring, and it was not available, so he or the printers left it white. Ishizuka may have thought the round shape was like a chimpanzee’s mouth and jaw area, though chimps are not monkeys; they are apes, like humans. Either way, she and Ramon had no time to study details in their rush to label the African tribesmen monkeys.
“Seuss draws African Americans as monkeys and gorillas!” they screeched, and Fake News listened—their giant oily ear could not get enough. “Seuss depicts African Americans as monkeys, and Melania Trump praised Seuss, so Donald Trump is a racist!” they bellowed, spraying us all with feculent CNN breath.
Seuss was never against blacks and never portrayed blacks as monkeys or gorillas. Nor did he depict Americans as cannibals. A spirited and adventure-loving Seuss based the few cartoon cannibals he drew on real cannibals being discovered in the first half of the 20th century – is it now a crime to mention cannibalism? Is history to be replaced with hurt feelings? A young Seuss wanted what Groucho Marx wanted: life, laughter, and ha-cha-cha-cha. He yearned to draw aliens, pirates, cannibals, unicorns, and anything else the new century had to offer, all in the name of fun and humor.
A cartoon Seuss made for Judge magazine in 1929 depicts a group of thick-lipped Black men up for sale to White men. The sign above them reads: “Take Home A High-Grade N*gger For Your Wood Pile”
Let us begin with the basics – a black person’s skin color.
Is it racist to say that blue-eyed, fair-haired, freckly Anglo Saxons burn in the sun easily? Not at all. We can say it all day long without being labeled racists because it is a simple fact. Similarly, we can say that drawing, photographing, or filming black faces is not easy, and by black, I do not mean light brown, but black faces, like those shown above.
As any truly black child trying to draw their brothers or sisters will tell you, drawing such faces is not easy because a line is hard to see against black.
Black on black or white on white are subtleties hunters understand. Looking at white or black in a thesaurus we see many words for varieties of both, something huntsmen in snow or the night appreciate. The book Just Another Nigger by Don Cox used a cover with black on black. If you look closely (click book to enlarge), you can just make out the word ‘Nigger.’ The limitations of eyes’ visual spectrum makes blacks difficult to draw, photograph, or make out on stage, without special lighting, makeup, and props.
Cartoonists had a difficult job sketching blacks in comic form because, as cartoonists, they try to use just a few lines. But if those few lines are against black, how can one see them? The illustration below clarifies this problem and how artists solved it early in the twentieth century.
There are two types of smiles – one showing teeth and the other with lips closed. The cartoon closed lips smile on a 90%-black small face was impossible to see. To fix this, cartoonists placed a white fill behind the smile, making it visible. Black stage performers had the same problem and used the same solution.
A person at the back of the audience could not make out his closed lips smile or scowl, so black stage performers had either white or red greasepaint placed around their mouths.
This 1906 sheet music shows Bert Williams on the cover, with white makeup around his lips. The artist did this to highlight the lips, to feature the singer’s expression.
Have a listen to this very song here, and notice during the video many illustrations or photos show the use of white makeup around the lips to make them easier to discern and thus enjoy:
It is worth remembering that only in modern times do these techniques become taboo. In the early 1900s, nobody, including blacks, had any problem with it. All this led to cartoonists using the same approach, but cartoonists like to take an idea and exaggerate it further, so, over time, the white area expanded.
Pretty soon, such cartoons in the 1900s had evolved to look like this:
To repeat, in those days, nobody, black or white, had any problem with any of this. Black readers and audiences thought the cartoons and makeup were funny and could not wait to see more of the same. Spurred on by readers, cartoonists experimented and some tried using red around the mouths instead of white. Others then tried making the lips themselves red, but generally white was far easier to see and thus more popular.
Cartoonists continued evolving the style, as they do with everything they draw, and by 1920 the cartoon Felix the Cat depicted blacks like the example to the right.
It was not demeaning; the black cartoon man was just a natural evolution of style.
Blacks enjoyed such cartoons as much as anyone else.
People had a sense of humor in those days and could laugh at themselves, unlike today’s butt-hurt snowflakes.
Look at cartoons of white people from the same time frame. Feast your eyes on the ugly, zany-looking characters below. There were many more like this. Where is the outrage?
Black hands in toons or on stage
For artists and directors, black hands presented similar challenges. The fingers were hard to make out when in front of the face. The illustration below explains this problem and how people solved it early in the 20th Century.
By simply adding white gloves, the fingers were easily visible. The net result of all this, back in the days of black and white newspapers, was that if a cartoon character, human or animal, was black, or had black body hair, they ended up with white around their mouths and white gloves.
Likewise, if stage performers were black, they often wore white around their mouths and white gloves. This style became popular at that time and had nothing to do with racial prejudice. It was a fashion and a functional one at that. As I explained in this 2019 article, Blackface Improved Black Lives, the practice was used to improve black lives. Quote:
Al Jolson was promoting blacks when he applied makeup and sang in their place. He wanted to show life from their point of view, and as a result, many white people were educated on the conditions blacks suffered.
While most people loved Jolson, some were angry about his odes to blacks. The Democrat KKK hated Al Jolson and detested his blackface as they believed it made blacks look good. They were among the first to angrily disapprove of that theatrical art form, as you would expect. It was helping blacks enter the world of theater, film, and sound recordings. Much of this has was forgotten after decades of left-winged attacks on blackface, which is a shame.
Now, to get back to Dr. Seuss. Like most other cartoonists in his time, he copied the day’s styles and thus drew blacks in the way shown above. He was an avowed anti-racist, so none of his drawings were meant to demean blacks. He would joke about people of any race precisely because he did not have a hang-up about race. Democrats do not understand that because they are utterly racist. They think that if you joke about blacks, it is “picking on a handicapped person” and not to be tolerated.
In 1929, when cartoonists drew in the fashion shown above, 23-year-old Theodor Seuss Geisel drew a cartoon page with four panels for the satirical New York magazine Judge. He was to take four cliched sayings about things that were an inconvenience or plain wrong —
- Fly in the ointment (a flaw or imperfection that detracts from something positive).
- Throw a wrench into the works (to disrupt, foil, or cause problems to a plan, activity, or project).
- Needle in a haystack (an item that is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find).
- Nigger in the woodpile (an unforeseen problem, snag, or hindrance).
— and make them into products or services available to rich people in ‘The world’s most prosperous department store.’ Rich folk, who had everything already, would look for such things to make their lives more difficult instead of less. Again, Judge was a satirical magazine. It was a zany joke; after all, who would want such things?
The page Seuss came up with can be seen here. The bottom panel concerning the nigger in the woodpile is shown below.
Nigger in the woodpile
In sketching the cartoon blacks above, Seuss chose not to use white behind their lips or place white gloves on their hands. He used red instead of white, and what did our Seuss haters say again? Here is the quote:
A cartoon Seuss made for Judge magazine in 1929 depicts a group of thick-lipped Black men up for sale to White men. The sign above them reads: “Take Home A High-Grade N*gger For Your Wood Pile”
The blacks were not for sale since the sign says nothing about selling, and it is a comic, so it is hardly meant to be taken seriously. Thick lipped? Wrong again, as this closeup shows:
Seuss is merely experimenting here by using red instead of white for the area around the lips. Africans used tribal makeup, and in 1929 there were many more practicing African tribes around than today.
Red makeup was commonly used to decorate faces and bodies, and people, black or white, understood that. The example to the left shows red around the lips that may have influenced some cartoonists, while the African tribal mask to the right shows how tribesmen decorated their faces even more elaborately, again with red-surrounding mouths.
Most photos of tribesmen with such facial paint online have been hidden by search engines, but a few may still be found. If you look in private collections you can find tens of thousands.
Was Seuss’s cartoon racist? Most would probably say yes, yet they are clearly wrong. First, the word ‘nigger’ is not racist, as I demonstrated in this examination of the word. Quote:
The word nigger comes from the Latin word niger (pronounced NEE-GER in Latin), which means black, as you can see here. The word Negro means black in many languages, including Spanish. You can see this in Google Translate here … If black Americans are truly repulsed by names that mean black, why do they call themselves black? Fake News convinced them that any noun used by whites to describe blacks must be evil, and they did this to divide the races. Once separated, they corralled blacks into voting for the Democrats. If someone says, “I don’t mind if you call me black, but don’t ever call me negro or nigger!” they are effectively saying, “I don’t mind if you call me black, but don’t ever call me black or black!”
Google’s Ngram Viewer shows that although the word nigger has been popular since the 1800s, it has never been as popular as today, in 2021, probably because blacks themselves use the word every chance they get. They love its notoriety, and it is obvious none of them take its taboo status seriously. Making the word unmentionable has made it more popular than ever. To call Seuss a racist for using it long before it was forbidden, now that it is more popular than ever, is truly ignorant.
Another example of PC madness is how dictionary.com hides the meaning of ‘black’ in relation to race. The first definitions say nothing about it. You will only find it by scrolling quite a way down. By contrast, Merriam-Webster has the definition at the top of the page in definition 2; “of or relating to any of various population groups of especially African ancestry…”
Once again Google’s Ngram Viewer shows that the term, “I’m black,” is more popular today than at any other time in history. So congratulations dictionary.com! When more people say, “I’m black,” than ever before, you choose to make the racial definition of black hard to find.
In 1929 the phrase Nigger in the woodpile was not considered racist. Google’s Ngram Viewer shows the term was most popular of all from 1921 to 1929, so how can anyone blame Seuss for an expression society itself used commonly? Democrats cannot exploit that excuse to brand the drawing racist.
I have shown why the cartoon characters are black and how, as cartoons, they are meant to be funny, so their style is not racist. The only thing left is the ‘nigger in the woodpile’ idiom, and that phrase, however it annoys modern bleeding-hearts, cannot be blamed on Seuss. It existed, was popular, and was defined in all the 1929 dictionaries.
Where did the expression arise? During the era of slavery, some slaves escaped and hid in piles of firewood. People searching for them would say, “We got a nigger in the woodpile.”
The phrase became associated with missing things or plans that went awry.
If you still think it is a terrible phrase, consider that many idioms and words have sinister histories. Hip Hip Hooray! appears to come from the middle-age Latin battle-cry ‘Hieroslyma est Perdita,’ or ‘Jerusalem is fallen.’ Germanic tribes shortened it to ‘Hep Hep Hu-raj,’ meaning roughly, ‘Jerusalem is fallen, and we are on the way to paradise.’ Isn’t that anti-Semitic and xenophobic? Should the phrase be banned? Should we punish those who used it in the past?
- Barbarian — The word comes from Middle English and meant ‘filthy vile foreigner.’ Isn’t that racist and xenophobic? Should we punish those who used it in the past?
- Long Time No See — The phrase originally mimicked Indian (native American) speech patterns. Isn’t that racist and xenophobic? Should we punish someone?
- No can do — This saying began in the 19th century, copying or mocking Chinese immigrants’ speech patterns in English. Isn’t that racist and xenophobic? Should we delete someone?
- Run amok / amuck — From the Malaysian word amoq, which means tribesmen who, after taking opium, became wild and attacked anybody in their path. Isn’t that racist? Should we cancel a bunch of people?
Thousands of other words and expressions can be tarred, feathered, and deleted if people want to live in a world like the Soviet Union. Censorship reigned supreme in that soulless morgue. They turned their empire into a choking gray, muted place, where people were frightened to say anything to anyone for fear of being tortured and shot.
More from Katie Ishizuka and Ramon Stephens:
Another one of [Seuss’s] cartoons, published in 1942, depicted John Haynes Holmes, co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and American Civil Liberties Union, beheaded by a Japanese man (Minear 198). Holmes was a pacifist who was opposed to the United States’ entry into the war, which Seuss vehemently supported.
Notice they describe General Hideki Tojo as “a Japanese man” instead of a war criminal and mass murderer. As usual, they do not supply the 1942 cartoon, so you will not realize the Japanese subject is a tyrant who caused the deaths of millions of Asians and thousands of Americans.
Many of Ishizuka’s and Stephens’ “poor Japanese people” depicted in “a racist way” were different versions of General Tojo!
John Haynes Holmes was a Unitarian minister, pacifist, and anti-war activist. He supported Prohibition and opposed Americans fighting the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. In short, he was a useless pantywaist, not much better than today’s college snowflakes.
Seuss’s point was that Tojo would happily behead Holmes if he had the chance, which is true. Nothing would give the blood-thirsty xenophobe General Tojo more pleasure. Yet Katie Ishizuka and Ramon Stephens stick up for him, making them anti-American like John Haynes Holmes. Katie Ishizuka often talks of the internment of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She points to one of Seuss’s cartoons supporting the internment but never provides proper context.
Upon the bombing of Pearl Harbor and pursuant to the Alien Enemies Act, Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526 and 2527 were issued designating Japanese, German and Italian nationals as enemy aliens. Information gathered by US officials over the previous decade was used to locate and incarcerate thousands of Japanese-American community leaders in the days immediately following Pearl Harbor. In Hawaii, under the auspices of martial law, both “enemy aliens” and citizens of Japanese and “German” descent were arrested and interned.
The military believed that there was a chance the Nazis in Germany and the fascists in Italy and Japan could possibly win the war, especially with the assistance of any Japanese, Italian, or German spies in the United States at that time. They understood that locking up whole sections of the population was un-American and unpopular but believed it was necessary to win the war. They would say to the interned, “We are doing this to protect all Americans, including you,” and many of those interned understood.
A loud minority has been complaining about it ever since, including three female Ishizukas, possibly all related. Kathy Ishizuka is a militant left-winged activist-librarian who encourages BLM, Antifa, and the anti-Seuss brigade on Twitter. She supports black children’s books, just like Katie, and moans about the Japanese internment during WWII. There is Karen Ishizuka, who is 73. Yet another activist librarian, her parents were interned when she was a young girl. She has her own Wikipedia page and has been compiling books and films about the internment for decades. Today she demonstrates against putting illegal immigrants in “concentration camps” at the border. She supports all the usual leftist causes on her Twitter page, including the anti-Seuss movement.
When you consider the anger all these left-winged Ishizukas feel about Japanese internment, you have to wonder about its source. Some Japanese spies likely ended up in the internment camps. They would have hated the United States to begin with, so imagine their rage at being caught and put in a detention facility before they could help their masters in Japan. What would they have said to their children? Would they push their children to devote their lives to getting revenge? Certainly, the Ishizukas are doing their best to hurt the United States, as are all left-winged Democrat activists. Is this a case of Tojo’s Revenge?
Katie Ishizuka and Ramon Stephens have very little knowledge of cartooning, publishing, printing, art, African history, American history, WWII, American culture, comedy, slapstick, theater, stage makeup, or child psychology. Ramon came from a family that had its share of controversy, first with his father being involved with the public school scandal and then with the killing of Ramon’s brother, who had been drinking and snorting coke at the time.
Does Ramon also indulge in drinking beer and Red Bull-and-vodkas and snorting a golf-ball-sized pile of cocaine in the hot tub? Did he and Katie flee Seattle and travel to San Diego to get away from such controversies? Is that why they deleted so many personal photos and social media and changed Ramon to Ramón? Was it to prevent UCSD (University of California San Diego) from finding out?
The bumbling duo began attacking Seuss as “racist” the day after Melania Trump read Dr. Seuss to sick and dying children. The activists would benefit in several ways, but their attacks were a pile of garbage.
When viewed historically and in context with the times, the charges disintegrate, leaving behind a pair of semi-literate boobs, shivering in stone-cold ignorance, wondering why nobody respects them. In compiling a pile of papers full of junk science, childish prattle, foolish mistakes, substantial misreadings, and faulty logic, Ishizuka and Stephens have spotlighted their ineptitude. In falsely accusing Seuss of racism, they demonstrated their racism multiple times.
Sigmund Freud would be fascinated with these two because they are a beautiful example of twenty-first-century race-ademics in action. They believe the world is a flat racist entity around which all the racist planets and stars orbit. The devils in this racist solar system are white people, who must be handled with tongs lest a colored person is contaminated. Children must be brought up on racism, racism, and more racism to drive out all white devils, along with their oceans of white privilege.
As for Dr. Seuss, his books will live on thanks to the internet. No matter how many Dr. Seuss books the Left burn, ban, or delete, folks can always download them online, either on the web or the dark web. As Dr. Seuss might say, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up download a book and read to a child.”
Just make sure it is not a racist one, like the kind offered by Katie Ishizuka and Ramon Stephens.