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Tintin Book Shelved From UK Store For Being 'Racist'

Borders stores in the UK are removing "Tintin in the Congo" from the children's section, after a customer complained the comic work was racist.

David Enright, a London-based human-rights lawyer, was shopping at Borders with his family when he came upon the book, first published in 1931, and opened it to find what he characterized as racist abuse.

"The material suggests to children that Africans are subhuman, that they are imbeciles, that they're half savage," Enright said. "My black wife, who actually comes from Africa originally, is sitting there with my boys and I'm about to hand this book to them... What message am I sending to them? That my wife is a monkey, that they are monkeys?"

The book is the second in a series of 23 tracing the adventures of Tintin, an intrepid reporter, and his dog, Snowy. The series has sold 220 million copies worldwide and been translated in 77 languages.

But this isn't the first time "Tintin in the Congo" has received criticism. In it, Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi depicts the white hero's adventures in the Congo against the backdrop of an idiotic, chimpanzee-like native population that eventually comes to worship Tintin and his dog as gods.

Remi later said he was embarrassed by the book, and some editions have had the more objectionable content removed. When an unexpurgated edition was brought out in Britain in 2005, it came wrapped with a warning and was written with a forward explaining the work's colonial context.

"Whether it's got a piece of flimsy paper around it or not, it's irrelevant, it's in the children's section," Enright said. He thought the book should be treated like anti-Semitic literature and not displayed in mainstream bookstores.

July 13, 2007 |

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