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Tintin's Congo Adventure 'Not Racist',Court Says

Tintin in the Congo is not racist, but a story full of "gentle and candid humour", according to the Belgian Appeals court.

The second of Herge's adventures of the boy reporter and his dog Tintin features the character of a stupid black helper and a woman who at one point says: "White man very great."

The cartoon strip, which was written in the 1920s, is sold in Britain with the warning that it includes racist content, following a ruling in a British court in 2007.

However, the Belgian court rejected claims of racism and the argument that the book was full of negative racist attitudes that could still have an impact on children who read it today.

The appeal had been brought after a 2011 ruling which found that Tintin was not racist and should not be banned.

It was brought by a Congolese immigrant, Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, and the Belgian Council of Black Associations.

He said the book should be banned in Belgium, which has a history of colonial aggression, exploitation and violence in the Congo, because of the number of damaging black stereotypes.

He said that Tintin employed a little black helper who was seen as "stupid and without qualities".

"It makes people think that blacks have not evolved," he said.

In one scene, a black woman prostrates herself before Tintin, saying: "White man very great. White mister is big juju man."

Alain Amici, a lawyer for Mr Mondondo's group, told the court at the original case in 2011: "The negative stereotypes portrayed in this book are still read by a significant number of children. They have an impact on their behaviour."

Even Tintin author Herge, whose real name is Georges Remi, admitted in later life that the cartoon strip was a "youthful sin" and reflected the prejudices of its time.

The group has also tried to have the cartoon banned in France, but failed.

by Anonymousreply 2312/08/2012

We're not talking about space aliens. The book is based on reality. Banning a book is not how you reconcile with history.

by Anonymousreply 112/07/2012

How dare they not ban it! Don't they know that the best answer to hatred is to BAN, BAN, BAN everything that offends us?

by Anonymousreply 212/07/2012

The oompa loompas were black in the book.

by Anonymousreply 312/07/2012

It absolutely is completely racist. It shouldn't be banned, but to suggest it's not racist is completely ludicrous.

by Anonymousreply 412/07/2012

Some people like Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo have far too much time on their hands.


I purchased this book to complete my Tintin collection and it had a warning on the book regarding the content.

The world was a different place when the book was written. In other news - homosexuality was illegal in most countries at the time...

by Anonymousreply 512/07/2012

R5= bullshit rationalizing. Honey, some people had consciousness about racism back then too. Especially the people being harmed by it. You can own the book all you like, but spare us your apolitical bullshit. It's racist. PERIOD.

by Anonymousreply 612/07/2012

[post by racist shit-stain # 2 removed.]

by Anonymousreply 712/07/2012

Please tell us all exactly how far back we go to correct all the wrongs and injustices over the centuries R6/R4. Please also supply a list of all literature, music and art that is offensive to any one group of people, for any reason in 2012. If we are going to lament about this book then we must do something about all instances of offence in all genres of literature, art and music.

The book was written in 1931. It's an old book. Herge expressed regret about it in later life.

As I said - at that fucking time, in nearly all countries homosexuality was illegal. Alan Turing - who really matters rather than this old book - killed himself because of these laws.

[bold]The world was a different place in 1931.[/bold] What is important now is that we have learned from the past.

by Anonymousreply 812/07/2012


The problem is that a lot of losers think that criticism of books is the same thing as censorship. This book shouldn't be banned, but it should be held up as an example of the kind of prejudice that was once very prevalent.

by Anonymousreply 912/07/2012

r9, much of Europe bans books and literature that is deemed racist or bigoted. Racist and bigoted comments can land you in prison. The US is the only country that has the most liberal speech laws. Many want this book banned.

by Anonymousreply 1012/07/2012

R8, what rubbish. Honestly, you're a complete idiot. There were abolitionist movements in Europe going back to Mary Shelley, and even back to her parents time. Certainly black people understood the meaning of those images. To suggest that no one in 1931 knew that these types of images were dehumanizing is absolutely absurd. I suppose we can't say that the Nazis were anti-Semites either, because it was the past and they just didn't know any better. See how incredibly idiotic that sounds?

Honestly,, people like you are more evil than freepers. They are ignorant trash. But you're the type to try and excuse evil to accommodate your sentimentalist sensibilities, and that's far more dangerous.

The book was racist. The author himself later acknowledged that fact. He was racist when he wrote it, and he later became more enlightened. That doesn't change the fact that artists and writer for Centuries had been condemning the treatment of Africans as morally evil.

You're a foolish person.

by Anonymousreply 1112/07/2012

[post by racist shit-stain # 2 removed.]

by Anonymousreply 1212/07/2012

There are people who claim "Heart of Darkness" is racist, r11. They're free to make that claim and argue their case but that's different from BANNING a book. I think the court should have ruled: Yeah, it's racist. No, it's not going anywhere. NEXT!

by Anonymousreply 1312/07/2012

Oh I always call my man jujuman. I like it when he does his black magic. he likes it too. Fuck off lawyers. Get a life.

by Anonymousreply 1412/07/2012

I never suggested anything R11 - you're projecting.

I simply said the world was a different place in 1931.

The most important thing is that we learn from the past.

Oh, and go fuck yourself.

by Anonymousreply 1512/07/2012 might try reading something a little more challenging than TinTin, loser.

by Anonymousreply 1612/07/2012 first, cunt. Oooh.."projecting". Big word for a cartoon defender.

You suggested that because it was written in the 1930's, the sensibility was different. I merely pointed out that this sort of defense is always rubbish, because there were movements against the dehumanization of African people going much further back in time.

But i get it. You're a bitchy cunt when proven wrong. Go back to reading your racist cartoons, idiot.

by Anonymousreply 1712/07/2012

[quote]The problem is that a lot of losers think that criticism of books is the same thing as censorship.

Including the Congolese man who initially brought the suit and tried to have the book banned in Belgium.

by Anonymousreply 1812/07/2012

Tintin in the Congo is the best-selling work of the entire series in Africa. As racist as the imagery is, some of the text has been modernized. In one panel Tintin teaches a class of children about math rather than about "their nation - Belgium," as he did in the original.

Also, in the original work, Tintin blows a rhinoceros to bits with dynamite. This unthinkable crime against an endangered species was re-drawn into a mishap with Tintin's rifle that merely scares away the beast. The rhino sequence is a one-pager. The offensive drawings of the people of the Congo abound in the book, so it was probably considered too impractical to re-illustrate them all.

by Anonymousreply 1912/07/2012

I read all the Tintin books when I was about 9 or so. I understood that they were racist and ignorant and I realised that it was a reflection of that time. I didn't need an adult to spell it out for me. Kids aren't stupid and it's a terrible idea not to expose them to history. If a child in 2012 thinks that kind of thing is OK then I'd suggest their parents have already taught them it is.

by Anonymousreply 2012/07/2012

"...features the character of a stupid black helper and a woman who at one point says: "White man very great."

Maybe the helper is being sarcastic? Why should the reader assume the helper is stupid?

by Anonymousreply 2112/08/2012

[post by racist shit-stain # 2 removed.]

by Anonymousreply 2212/08/2012

Belgium until just a few years ago had a Congo museum that glorified Belgium's conquest and rape of the Congo, including with some very gruesome "trophies." Not the first place I'd consider bringing a lawsuit of this kind.

I agree, acknowledge the book is racist but don't ban it.

by Anonymousreply 2312/08/2012
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