Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tintin is Racist

I read Tin Tin growing up in South Africa. I remember Captain Haddock kicking a Muslim man in the ass while he was on his knees praying.

I must of been about four years old. The scene disturbed me so much that I started avoiding the entire series which I used to check-out at the Judy Scott library (a library set-aside for coloureds in my hometown of Kimberley.)

Tintin was created by Belgian artist Hergé, whose real name is Georges Remi (1907–1983).

Many years later I came across a comic shop in Canada that specializes in collectable Tintin editions and I looked to see if I could find the issue with the scene above. I did and it was in French. This is a copy of the offending piece of crap.

I remember just shaking in anger as I looked at that scene. I looked at other issues and saw pictures of Black folk with oversized lips and bones through their noses.

The creator, Hergé, did not spare any racist stereotype at all. In this edition he enters into territory that would make my boy Eugene pop a vein.

Who collects this sh*t? Apparently a lot of folk. The Tintin series is extremely popular and loved all around the world. See their website.

Now the South African publisher (Human & Rousseau), and not the government as Alleman correctly pointed out to me in the comments section, has put restrictions on one issue: "Tintin in the Congo." See article below.

SA restricts 'racist' Tintin
(Jul 28 2007 09:40:49:423PM)

South African publishers have placed restrictions on the comic book Tintin in the Congo following complaints of racism.

Johannesburg - South African publishers have placed restrictions on the comic book Tintin in the Congo following complaints of racism in Britain.

The Afrikaans publisher of the popular Tintin series, Human & Rousseau, has decided not to release an Afrikaans version of the book, SABC radio reported on Saturday.

"We felt that it depicted indigenous African people in an unflattering ... stereotypical fashion, said spokesperson Carina Diedericks-Hugo.

"We realised that the creator, Herge, did comment on various treatments of indigenous peoples, such as the Chinese in Tintin and The Blue Lotus and also in Tintin in America, with the Indians.

"But we felt that we have a particular situation in South Africa and that depiction of indigenous people, we can't agree with that," she was quoted as saying on the SABC news website.

Penguin Books will also be placing notices on the English version of the book, warning potential buyers of the racial sensitivity of its contents, the website reported.

Alison Lowry, the CEO of Penguin Books, said the English translation of the French original would still be distributed.

Earlier this month bookstore chain Borders said it was removing the book from the children's section of its stores in Britain after a customer complained the work was racist.

Similar steps will be taken at the company's 499 stores in the United States. The book will be stocked alongside graphic novels.

David Enright, a London-based human-rights lawyer, was recently shopping at Borders with his family when he came upon the book, first published in 1931, and opened it to find what he characterised as racist abuse.

"The material suggests to (children) that Africans are subhuman, that they are imbeciles, that they're half savage," Enright told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

The illustrated work by Belgian author-cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under a pen name, is the second in a series of 23 tracing the adventures of Tintin, an intrepid reporter, and his dog, Snowy. The series has sold 220 million copies worldwide and been translated into 77 languages.

But Tintin in the Congo has been widely criticised as racist by fans and critics alike.

Remi depicts the white hero's adventures in the Congo against the backdrop of an idiotic, chimpanzee-like native population that eventually comes to worship Tintin - and his dog - as gods.

Remi later said he was embarrassed by the book, and some editions have had the more objectionable content removed.

When an unexpurgated edition was brought out in Britain in 2005, it came wrapped with a warning and was written with a forward explaining the work's colonial context.

***This is another of those days when a cap in the ass of whiteness would be called for***


alleman said...

As you can see from the article you quote, this is not an SA government action but a decision by the publisher Human & Rousseau.

Ridwan said...

Thanks Alleman. In my haste I overlooked that very important detail.

I will make the correction now.

Why I just read the SA government perhaps is telling. I guess in my zeal to see them take a stand on these types of things I may have apportioned too much credit.

Though honestly, I am not sure where, or rather how, the SA government could ban or restrict that issue.

It would become a larger issue of freedom of expression hey.

Anyway, thanks for pointing out my gross error and lack of attention to detail.

Be well,

Eugene said...

This is a good way of teaching racism to their young as well as eugenics.

And then, of course, there is still "Spurs." Am I incorrect in my assumption?

Ridwan said...

You are absolutely on point brother. You can denigrate Indians and Blacks while your kids munch on Spur burgers in Joburg, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, among other South African towns and cities.

If anyone was interestes in the Tintin debate please do a google search.

You will find all kinds of folk who crawl out of the racism woodwork to say that Tintin must be judged by the standards of the time.

Not a new arguments hey. Remember the apologists for slavery and Indian genocide. Well they offer the crap that time has wisened us and that the past must be viewed through a progressive lens.

More liberal bullsh%t theory. Time as a marker of progress.

Whose time? Whiteness?

Well if that is the case then how far have we progressed?

Tintin is only one such example of books that are the learning devices of whiteness.

What eats me is that many folks of color feed this sh%t to their kids.

And dont get me started on the eurocentric crap that Barney the dinosaur represents.

Anyway, let me stop here and wish you a great and healthy day.

Hey if the weather remains nice we should go out and do some stuff.

Be well my comrade and brother.


Eugene said...

Hey Ridwan, when you back in town.

The apologists for the Indian genocide are still there. They have new faces and new techniques, still the same old bullshit.

For example, the "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," bullshit movie. They're making movies about us now. What more do we want?

I want it ALL BACK!