What issues do his albums raise in terms of representation of ‘race’, and particularly ethnic and cultural stereotyping.
Tintin albums has been studied all over the world, but little attention has been paid on what issues they raise. Tintin is a fictional character and he can be seen in several albums.
This article will argue that the issues raised in Tintin albums are exactly not the author behind Tintin intended. One of the main reasons why Tintin entered other countries, as we shall see later in this article in detail is that he likley wanted to find out whether his country Belgium was better than any country in Europe.
In order to identify Belgium position in the world, the author created a character eho could get out of his country and research about it while out of it (Jean-Marie, 2010). But how Tintin went about discovering his country position, raised some problems.
Tintin is not seen in other series but obvious in albums like Tintin in Congo where he slightly acts like a doctor, and The blue lotus where he is not evil. Anyway, let us see what issues are raised in his discoveries in other countries.
First of all, Tintin is made to achieve his goal by meeting a sick person unable to heal himself. A classic example of this is when Tintin meets a Congole sick man on a stretcher, whose wife tells Tintin that bad juju came to live in him/husband. Tintin says there is nothing much but he might have small fever. Tintin gives the man quinine. The dose appeared to have healed the man because the following scene show the woman bowing before Tintin exclaiming “White man very great! …Big master!!! Him cure my husband!”
Tintin react to the lady by walking triumphantly while putting his hand in the pocket and saying, “WE’RE THE TOPES!”. Indicating Belgium is better than any country. Although the fictional lady is happy, real people are not about this.
Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, who has been campaigning for years to have the book removed from Belgian shops, says this depiction of native Africans like this one is ignorant and offensive (as citied in Kennedy, 2010).
“It makes people think that blacks have not evolved,” he said.
This was not the main intention of the album to incite hatred, but it was intended to show the position of Belgium. If Tintin was not there the man would have died, but these are fictional things and nobody should criticize Tintin that he was offensive. But at the end of the day, Tintin managed to realize the position of his country out there, “Belgium are on top”.
Secondly, Tintin also travelled to Asia to identify the position of his country. Some characters in this album are created according to their history. In relation to teeth, Tintin is created having teeth which are not hanging outside for everyone to see, but people from Japan will tell you that Japanese characters in the album possess teeth hanging outside. This depiction of Japanese is same like the Japanese were depicted after world war two in comic books (Laser-Robinson, 2010). By dehumanizing the enemy group one’s own racial standing is heightened and one becomes disassociated from any feelings of human sympathy for that group. Hergé certainly succeeds in depicting the Japanese as monsters.
The fact that no Japanese character in the album escapes this portrayal makes it clear that Hergé was attempting to suggest to his readers that all Japanese were equally evil by nature. Thus, the intended effect is that even when the reader walks away from the comic, he will maintain the attitude that all Japanese are villains by nature. Hergé has ferociously condemned the Japanese in the minds of his audience.
To sum up, the article has shown how Tintin went about to uncover his country’s position globally, but the article showed that his discoveries have raised issues that Africans have not evolved, and all Japaneseare monsters because of their bucktooth.
Laser-Robinson, A,. s, . (2010) An Analysis of Hergé’s portrayal of various racial groups in The Adventures of Tintin: The Blue Lotus
Jean-Marie, A ( 2010) The metamorphoses of Tintin, or, Tintin for adults.
Kennedy, m (2010) Tintin’s adventures in Congo goes on trial in Belgium. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/apr/28/tintin-congo-racist-ban-belgium