Why should we care today?
The series of Tintin in the Congo was written by George Remi (known by Herge), a Belgium author in 1929. According to the article from JBHE Foundation (2007), the Commission for Racial Equality in Britain recommended bookstores to ban this book on a nationwide scale. It is considered that Tintin has been promoted and worse instilled far-right ideology to children globally by vilified black Congo people in dark monkey image in the series of TinTin in the Congo and smeary exaggerated Japanese facial appearances in The Blue Lotus.
Since readers from early ages haven’t fully developed their ethic standard and even processed judgment, they are relying on accessing external intellection adopted from parents and children books. The racism in TinTin series has exposed the sustainable message of negative prejudice and the propaganda of white supremacy. The impact of imagery cartoons is more direct and influential than dialogues towards the development of ethics and aesthetics in early childhood. As Hunt stated, “Given the comic form and the colonial context, including the ubiquity of blackface rubrics that animalized blacks as near apes, this visual reading is the dominant one.” The inaccurate depiction and idealising white-men burden created early obstacles of cultural acceptance and diversity operated by the engine of globalization in the 21st Century. Unfortunately, the recent upraise of right-wing idea and racial independence have encouraged adults and institutions to cultivate discrimination to their offspring and younger generations against other races which they labelled as “others”. Even Herge had regarded and apologized for contextualizing colonial right-wing idea, yet the series of TinTin Adventures would hardly be disavowed by the global public because of its enormous popularity and influences for many decades.
Even Herge expressed the disgrace of his colonial imagery and later justified the accusations that it was due to the historical prevailing tendency which Fascism and Western capitalism were the dominating phenomena. Hunt and Mountfort (2012) explained that his “continued commercial success” and political idea as “a chauvinistic vein that played well to its reactionary audience and inevitably recalls the rising tide of nationalism in Europe at a time when the National Socialists were poised to seize control of Germany.” Although the cultural performances in Tintin Adventure have been interpreted by many and questions regarding racism remain, yet this case reminds us about the psychology and social tendency of dominate majority. As an adult, we should intelligently avoid repeating historical grievance under colonization, capable to distinguish the mean of colonial propaganda and responsibility to educate the younger generations that cultural prejudices cannot be escaped and justified.
The JBHE Foundation (2007), Racism in Children’s Books: Tintin in the Congo. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, (56), 14-14. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25073692
Hunt N.R (2002), Images and Empires Visualiry in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa. University of California Press: London. Retrieved from: file:///C:/Users/User/Videos/Downloads/2002.Tintin_and_the_Interruptions_of_Con.pdf
Mountfort P. (2012) ‘Yellow skin, black hair … Careful, Tintin’: Hergé and Orientalism. Australasian Journal of Popular Culture, 1(1), 33-49. doi: 10.1386/ajpc.1.1.33_1
Sophie Tse 16912888