Association of Editorial Cartoonists
So someone noticed that Tintin in the Congo is racist.
Not bad, only seventy years after its publication the Commission for Racial Equality has commented on Tintin in the Congo. I expect to see a statement attacking the anti-Semitic nature of Mein Kampf soon. This is what the CRE had to say:
A hundred years ago it was common to see negative stereotypes of black people. Books contained images of ‘savages’, and some white people considered black people to be intellectually and socially inferior.
Most people would assume that those days are behind us, and that we now live in a more accepting society. Yet here we are in 2007 with high street book shops selling ‘Tintin In The Congo’. This book contains imagery and words of hideous racial prejudice, where the ‘savage natives’ look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles.
Whichever way you look at it, the content of this book is blatantly racist. High street shops, and indeed any shops, ought to think very carefully about whether they ought to be selling and displaying it.
Yes, it was written a long time ago, but this certainly does not make it acceptable. This is potentially highly offensive to a great number of people.
It beggars belief that in this day and age that any shop would think it acceptable to sell and display ‘Tintin In The Congo.’
The only place that it might be acceptable for this to be displayed would be in a museum, with a big sign saying ‘old fashioned, racist claptrap’.
I’m a white middle class anglo-saxon so avoid commenting on race issues because I know nothing about them but here the CRE has gone for a mindless, knee-jerk reaction. A reaction that is as ill-conceived as Daily Mail readers harping on about ‘Political Correctness Gone Mad’ whenever the government clamps down on genuine racism. The CRE want to ban the book because ‘potentially highly offensive to a great number of people’. Of course we would not find anything else that might offend a great number of people in book stores, such as religious tracts or pornography.
The biggest mistake is that the Commission for Racial Equality are missing the uplifting, anti-racist story of Herge’s own life. Born and brought up in a society that saw all non-whites as being sub-human Herge at first reflected those beliefs in his early works like Tintin and the Congo. However Herge’s eyes were opened by his friendship with the artist Chang Chong-jen. Ever since Tintin and the Blue Lotus Herge worked hard to depict the non-white peoples in a positive light. Rather than making stupid remarks about Tintin and the Congo the CRE should celibrate the life of Herge as an example of how we can all change and become more accepting of others.