From The Daily Mail in London, Tintin In The Congo Placed On Top Shelf Over Racism Fears:
The new film may be good clean family fun, but one of Tintin’s classic adventures has been banished to the adult shelves of bookshops because it is overtly racist.
Fears that Tintin In The Congo could have a negative effect on children have led publishers to market it in protective packaging with warning labels similar to those on explicit magazines.
With a new generation of fans enjoying Steven Spielberg’s movie, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn, enthusiasm for collecting all 24 of Herge’s original comic books has never been higher.
Unfortunately, Tintin In The Congo was written in 1930 and depicts African natives as ignorant, simple and backward people, who are far less intelligent than their white visitors.
Whereas in reality it’s British natives who are so ignorant, simple and backward that they have to have children’s books sold in protective wrapping with warning labels about potentially harmful content:
Leading booksellers such as Waterstones have taken the book out of the children’s section, fearing it ‘could get into the wrong hands’.
So how are Congo natives depicted in the book?
The Africans carry Tintin in a bamboo mounted chair to meet their king, who sits on a wooden throne dressed in a leopard skin, puffing on a pipe and holding a rolling pin as a sceptre.
Tintin leans casually against a tree as he comes under fire, but the attackers’ aim is so bad all the arrows and spears bury themselves harmlessly in the trunk, leading to the warriors bowing down to Tintin and declaring he is protected by magical charms.
Our hero also encounters a tribe of pygmies who have crowned his dog Snowy as their king and placed him on a throne.
“Human rights” lawyer David Enright was outraged:
It should be in the adult graphic novels section and even then some thought should be given to it.
‘There is no way of reading it without thinking it depicts black people as sub human and less mentally able than the apes. They all end up worshipping the dog.
From my latest book, After America:
Mr Onyango-Obbo had been reporting that the Congolese Liberation Movement was slaughtering huge numbers of people and feeding the body parts to their relatives. In North Kivu, a group called les Effaceurs (the Erasers) had wanted to open up the province’s mineral resources to commercial exploitation and to that end had engaged in ethnic cleansing by cannibalism. The Congo Civil War raged for most of the first decade of this century uncovered by CNN and The New York Times for want of any way to blame it on George W Bush. Among the estimated six million dead, many were eaten. The two parties to the conflict agreed on very little except that pygmies make an excellent entrée. Both sides hunted down them down as if they were the drive-thru fast-food of big game. While regarding them as sub-human, they believed that if you roasted their flesh and ate it you would gain magical powers. In return, the pygmies asked the UN Security Council to recognize cannibalism as a crime against humanity, for all the good that did.
Thank God Mr Enright filed his “human rights” complaint. The Congolese would be deeply offended at being portrayed as cute superstitious puppy worshippers too inept to kill their enemies.
(*Shrink-wrapped top-shelf Corner post title courtesy of the Andrews Sisters. Click at your own risk.)