Throughout the years society has been stoic in the matters of racial conflict, whether it is the slavery during the Civil War, or the fear black men being shot by white officers today: there has always been a divide in the races. A man known famously as Dr.Seuss created many political cartoons to depict many of these social conflicts that are now more than ever relevant. These pieces of artwork are more relevant due to the recent conflicts in places around the world working with race, and Dr.Seuss uses political cartoons to demonstrate that..Through his artwork, Dr.Seuss uses metaphoric images, and satire to portray the universal idea of race.
In this piece, Seuss gives an image of what seems to be Uncle Sam blowing out what is called a “Racial Prejudice Bug” of citizens ears. It is apparent that Seuss is trying to portray the idea of racism living inside people without them realizing. It is evident that when the man says “Gracious, was that in my head?” Seuss gives the audience a sense of realism: that normal people can be guilty of prejudice. Suess used a metaphorical comparison between a bug and prejudice, to show the overall grossness of the topic. Another metaphor used is the “exterminator” and shown as Uncle Sam, which in itself is a metaphor for the American community trying to bid away the racial prejudice of the nation. This is a very powerful comparison because it shows what the community wants but follows it with the realism of the communities being.
Also, with with the piece portraying prejudice as a bug implies that prejudice is contagious. The idea of contagion brings an interesting twist to the topic because it makes you consider how other people’s opinions can spread, in this case being racist or prejudice. This also would explain the huge line in which consisted of what seemed to high class white men, and women. The fact that the only people in the line to be “quarantined” for their “bugs” are upper class citizens shows how society has been at a stand still for decades, with the current topics such as Ferguson and other conflicts becoming “hot topics” and room for social debate. This really shows how the opinions of race and the idea of prejudice have not changed from even from the days of Dr.Seuss which was over 20 years ago, the american society keeps the idea of race and overall racism alive and spreading throughout time.
Dr. Seuss also demonstrates the art of satire throughout the image to explain the idea of racial conflict. Through the piece it is evident that the cartoon is not taken very seriously, one example of this is the portrayal of the american society as Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam is highly recognized as the mascot of The United States of America, and now is being shown as an exterminator of sorts cleaning the people of their “bugs”. This is making fun of the societies idea of being able to cleanse itself possibly with the ideas that they think they should think. I feel like this really relates to today because it compared to social media today and how people’s opinions are usually much different than how they actually act when the situation is presented to them.
Another example of Satire is the animation of racism as a “bug”, the fact that racism is represented as a gross and contagious specimen is very accurate. This is a very important to point out because it shows Seuss’ view on the subject and how he feels about the prejudice in the states during his time. This gives a decent amount of background on Dr.Seuss in general, proving his stance and his ability to make fun or racism through his art.
Overall, throughout Dr.Seuss’ life he had many opinions on the ideas of race and he made it very clear that race is a nasty social construct and he is very in favor of a mental insecticide. He displayed through his artwork the universal belief of racial prejudice of the nation of America. It is evident that Seuss’ image was a success due to the popularity of his work especially when addressing race. And personally I believe his display of race was very accurate and it was very impressive what he could do using art and the skills of satire and metaphorical imagery.