Black Face in the Congo
This is a panel from the Herge classic, Tintin au Congo, “Tintin in the Congo.” By today’s standards, if you drew such an image in your comic, it would be burned on site in the store and you’d be hung by your nethers. But in the 1930’s when the work was created, it was considered quite funny.
British watchdog group, the Commission for Racial Equality, requested that Borders remove all copies of Tintin au Congo when parents complained to the CRE after finding the book in the children’s section. They objected to the blatant racist content of the work depicting Africans as stupid and ape-like. The U.S. branch of Borders has said that it will move the book from the children’s section to the graphic novel section and will still sell the book despite the CRE’s objections.
Bully for Borders.
The CRE certainly has a valid argument. The images are certainly as racist as I’ve ever seen. But Tintin remains one of the greatest illustrated works in comics and must not be censored. You can’t burn Tom Sawyer for its use of the “N” word and you can’t burn Tintin because of its horrible depictions of Africans.