Tintin, what’s next?

This gets me annoyed.

In my opinion political correctness has gone too far and the example made recently of Tintin is, to me, quite unbelieveable. Here’s a childrens book that has been a classic since it was first published back in the 1930’s. But now, because of political correctness, two major book chains have moved Tintin to the adult section because of racist themes in the stories. The books have now been labelled by the publisher as follows:

“bourgeois, paternalistic stereotypes of the period – an interpretation some readers may find offensive”

I’m trying to figure out what that means? And why do people feel the need to interfere with the fantastic adventure stories of the young Tintin. I agree that some of the storylines may be seen as controversial now, but will a six year old understand this? I feel sorry for children who may miss out on this because parents are afraid to buy the books or children don’t come across them in book stores. What happened to people/children making their own choice about what they want to read? The Commission for Racial Equality even called for a total ban of the books? I think the world is starting to implode.


2 responses to “Tintin, what’s next?

  1. Speaking as a Librarian with an expertise in Children’s and Young Adult Literature…

    Tintin holds a place in the History of Children’s Literature and should continue to be studied for its historical value. I do not believe it should be banned.

    However, I would not purchase it for the children’s section if I still worked in a public library.

    Here is why:

    Would a six year old understand that the portrayal of Africans in the book is racist and offensive? No.

    Would a six year old absorb the message that people of African descent are unintelligent savages and should be treated like idiots? Perhaps. Especially if that six year old has limited contact with people of African descent.

    Would a six year old of African descent absorb the message that his or her own race is inferior? Probably. Could that message have a negative impact on the development of his or her self identity? Yes.

    Do I support removing it from the children’s department? Yes.

    Children pick up on many of the messages that adults do not realize they are sending. It is part of the socialization process. Once a message has become part of their belief structure it is very difficult to change.

  2. Valid points, Global Librarian.

    I was wondering anyway, do kids really still read TinTin? I thought it was read mainly by adults these days.

    Also, because something is now politically incorrect, to wipe it from the memory is to suggest that it never happened. Surely we need history to learn from, so we don’t do crazy things like genocide again (though that doesn’t seem to have worked)? TinTin books are a part of history, and that can’t be denied. But I guess the problem here is context; read them in context and they can even be quite amusing, in viewing an antiquated and ridiculous set of beliefs. Read them out of context or not understand context, and you have what Global Librarian states so well.

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