The early Tintin adventures, particularly Tintin in the Congo, were racist. Though the mind set they incorporated was common throughout the European and colonial powers. What redeemed Herge and his work was his ability to recognise and overcome his own prejudices. He became an ambassador of hope and for much his life, Herge worked to educate his readers about different cultures of world and show how, regardless of race, creed or colour, we are all the same.
Unfortunately the message Herge embodies – that we can overcome our fears and predjuices to be better human beings – is lost on people from the far left and the far right of politics. Calls for his books to be banned miss the point and play into the hands of extreme right wing racists.
Black People “look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles”.
This quote from the UK’s Commission for Racial Equality ( CRE ) is the title of a thread from the white supremacists site Stormfront.org [ WARNING: This is a site dedicated to ‘White Pride World Wide’ and all the hate and stupidity that involves ]. The idiots who frequent the site have focused on using the CRE’s statement and have spouted some predicable racist claptrap in support of Herge and Tintin.
This subversion of the Herge’s work in support of such a perverse agenda is sickening and it highlights the dangers of either side of the political spectrum focusing on a narrow aspect of an author’s work. The subject of Herge’s and racism is complex, inexplicably tied to the culture he grew up in and above, a message of hope and humanity.
Note: Clicking the links to the Stormfront web site will cause offense to all right-thinking people. In the HTML, I’ve have marked them as ‘no follow‘ so that the search engines will ignore these links.