In their early formations, the Tintin comics were made out to be the truth. Tintin was always being chased because the threat he posed was the exposure of the truth. But what truth? Or more precisely, whose truth was being portrayed? Le Petit Vingtième, in which the earlier albums were serialized, had clear political ties with the right through its religious leanings. As Tom McCarthy points out in Tintin and the Secret of Literature, to be Catholic at the time also meant being antisemitic, a white supremacist, and a fascist. Yes! Yes! Yes! Tintin ticks all the boxes. At least for a while, until he meets Chang in The Blue Lotus, often referred to as the most touching book of the series, one Hergé called “an homage to friendship”. For this reason, all the snippets in this Top Ten list come from the early albums when political correctness was a non-issue. This is hot off the press after a recent attempt (another one) at correcting the problem of the influence of the books.
Featured image credit: en.tintin.com
The representation of the Jewish community is very much like anything else you might find throughout the media at the time: large noses, thick lips, physically unfit (glasses, overweight), scheming, moneylending, etc. Needless to say, when they appear, they’re the baddies like this financier here. Given Belgium’s ambiguous position in the war, things could be worse. The stereotype remains just that, and the group is racially defined by the physical characteristics, discussed above. While bad, the worst is yet to come.
This is just one instance where the strip clearly expresses the mission statement of Tintin’s first adventure: Soviets bad. Here, soviets bad = no freedom of choice, no freedom of speech, and oppression to the extreme. And there, in the left-hand corner, Tintin looks over them, puzzled. He comes from the better world, don’t you know? Where else would he look from but from above? And the communist citizens, poor things, bear the weight of their oppression, are constantly look down, and are hunched over and depressed. Of course! This is some wonderful reporting (incidentally, the only album where Tintin actually does write an article!).
Objectification. Simple as that! The image shows Tintin, well dressed in the vest and cap of someone on an excursion, leans over the figure of a much older man in amazement, preparing to take a photograph. The man is clearly uncomfortable with being objectified by not only the foreigner but also his dog! Not only that, but he is made to resemble the homeless of Europe, wrapped up in a sheet on the ground, leaning against a building. Tintin takes great delight in the authenticity of the “Red Indian,” largely exciting because it took “two whole days on the train” to get to “Redskin City” as the young reporter points out in the preceding frame. Segregation much?
When Tintin travels to the Congo, it is not as a reporter. He goes there to hunt the wildlife, humiliate the people, and be praised as a deity. He goes as a colonialist, more often referred to as a missionary. “Marvelous,” he says of the buildings and intrusion of Belgian culture and lifestyle on Congolese land. Even Snowy agrees, but he’s full of such sentiment. At the heart of it all, in the middle, what should one find but a chapel! Typical, given that Le Petit Vingtième was a Catholic publication. In the final panel, the black man requests education from the white man, as if inviting him to intrude.
Once the invitation is there, what sort of geography is taught? Belgian geography, of course, which Tintin insists is their country. This is the second appropriation of land. The first is very obvious and requires no explanation. The second instance is on a symbolic plane, denying the people their right of identifying their land as independent in any way. He is contributing to the normalizing of colonization and racism at large. Snide little Snowy has his jab at the students, beginning with the very sophisticated prefix, “I say…” Do you, Snowy? Really? And what about the oppressed? Will they get a voice?
Well, and one of his best friends is Chinese, he risks his life to fight slavery, helps Peruvian children, defends gypsies against discriminatory behavior etc. Tintin obviously is representing Herge’s humanistic world views.
Yes, this article is clickbait and really stretching it at times – I mean, trying to portray the Soviets as victims, gimme a break and the stuff about the Jewish guy and the Indian apparently depicted as a homeless man, what utter nonsense. This article was probably sanctioned from Tel Aviv and is itself bigoted against Catholics and racist against white Europeans.
Well how hold on a minute, I don’t think that’s nessesarly the case, but yes some of these point may be over exaggerated. However, I do think some of the other points are true, and represent some of hergé’s thinking of the time
Mate get a life. Your idea of Soviet Union shaped by the stones thrown to you by your media. Now you don’t have it, US is filling the world and none can stop them, soon you’ll regret.
All these racist claims are ridiculous. Herge had no evil intentions when writing these stories whatsoever. He was simply representing the general views of the time, and, therefore, we should nowadays actually try to perceive Tintin as a valuable historical source.
These people who try to see racism in everything and everywhere are actually just making the problem worse. They believe they are doing the right thing but they are in reality just hyping up the problem so it becomes even more hurtful.
Tintin racist? Give me a break!
He may not have tried to be racist or not, but it is still offensive as it perpetuated the stereotypes of black people.
Oh get over your professional victim hood and weak sensibilities. People are far too easily offended today. Political correctness needs to be stopped.
should I point out youre taking offense at offense?
here is an idea: just think about what you say a little harder. get some humility and accept that what once was appropriate, isnt any longer. and vice versa.
Things change, so what? Get over it and just live to be a good human. its not hard.
Isn’t any longer? And tomorrow? What is it that today you find acceptable that tomorrow will have you crucified? Maybe it’s you who needs to – think – .
Oh really? “Professional victim”, eh? Who’s the snowflake here? Why are you so offended when someone points out stereotypical depictions of non-european people? Why is it important for you that Tintin stands in front of a class of black kids who are depicted as almost identical, without individual features?
Besides, have you read what Belgium did to Congo? It was no less the personal property of Belgian king Leopold II, and there Tintin stands and teaches kids about “their home”, Belgium.
I’m not saying that these old versions should be hidden or destroyed. No, they should be shown so people can understand how people saw things in yesteryears. But if someone wants to reprint these and sell as contemporary entertainment, what is the point of holding on to incorrect descriptions of the world? What is the point of not updating to the way the world is seen today?
Unfortunately the people who rail against these old historic instances of racism, sexism and bigotry are, a lot of the time guilty themselves of being racist – towards all white European people – sexist – towards all boys and men – and bigoted – towards all Christians. It’s very difficult to take such people seriously, Jewish run Hollywood is a prime example of this. The Jews constantly accuse all white people, including the historically oppressed Celts of Ireland and Scotland and Eastern Europeans from the former Soviet bloc, of having privilege. It’s utter nonsense. First of all the Jews created the Communism which so oppressed and killed tens of millions of Christian Europeans in the aforementioned Soviet bloc. Secondly, they advocate and fund Multiculturalism(in reality a multiethnic, consumer capitalist monoculture which will replace and destroy much of Christian European culture and which the Jews get to run) for Europeans but not for themselves in Israel. As I said these people really have to start practicing what they preach.
Replying to Ter Rowle
“The Jews created communism”??? For pity’s sake. “The [insert racial group] is stereotyping & not historical. I’m uncertain of the number of Jews in Russia before 1917, but as 2 million left because of pogroms, the number remaining and surviving was considerable. Let’s guess at 6 million. How many were Bolshevics? 6 million? Wikipedia believes 958. So clearly all Jews created communism. NO entire racial group has identical characteristics. Have we learnt nothing from WW ll??? My ancestors were displaced, starving Celts from Ireland who suffered from (British) colonialism. And the Irish sent in chains to Australia later took part in horrendous massacres of Australian First Nations (Aboriginal) people. I’m a practising Christian and I love multi-culturalism.
Come on… It is people like you that will ruin the world we were raised in. It’s because of people like you that I don’t want to bring children into this world that your words created. Stop being so sensitive and stop saying things you are manipulated to think!
No, if blacks are offended by Tintin in the Congo, they can write and read their own books and leave books written by white people alone. I am tired of whites having to change everything we have created to accommodate non-whites coming to our lands. Tintin in the Congo cannot become a banned book simply because blacks don’t like it. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Read books by black authors that don’t contain anything that might offend you. The cuckolding of white Europeans by non-whites must stop.
You mean just like the cuckolding of every other race that’s not white by white Europeans? So you’re tired of whites having to accommodate non-whites to your country? How about the Africans, Asians, Native Americans or any indigenous persons who had to tolerate white people not only coming into their lands and stripping them of their resources and starting and fuelling conflict but also treating them less than, in their own homes might I add, enslaving them and treating their culture in themes derogatory manner possible. Every minority has suffered greatly and have every right to be angry. the immigration that you are speaking of is only a by product of the colonisation that has happened. That being said, I do not think that all white people are deserving of blame but as the know from history, if a small part of the group messes, the rest get the blame. Also, lets not forget that the greatest genocide is of 10 million Congolese people by his “Excellency” King Leopold III of Belgium that happened basically because the natives where an obstacle to him…
But yes, people should be mad about this, including you if you have a conscience
Bruh the Belgians literally came to the Congo and stole the land of the Congolese. Your facts are backwards you silly fucker.
I cannot even believe you are serious.
Wow! So none of the above 10 instances were able to make you think outside your little muddled racist head, huh?
Of course he had. He was working for catholic, extreme-right, fascist even publication. You don’t just rock up to such a place unless you share the same beliefs as Leon Degrelle who was there with him. He was a colonialist racist full stop.
Well, that doesn’t change that it is racist, although Hergé just depicted views of his time. We should keep it as historical documents though, but children should not read early issues of Tintin.
Agreed. It’s important to learn from these that the world was a very different place back then, but I wouldn’t let my daughter look at racist cartoons unless it’s because she is old enough to understand that it illustrates a typical racist and wrong message which has nearly completely been eradicated today.
Who are you to say what children are allowed to read? A fascist criticising a racist. That’s rich. Don’t try and indoctrinate children with your own ideology.
If there were no bigotted/racist ideals in Tintin then Christ knows what else I’ve been reading.
If Hergé wasn’t racist, he would have kept his protagonist far from the scathing, and frankly blatant racist dialogue.
The fact that his protagonist (and sidekick) who inflict a lot of the racism, suggests that Hergé indeed was this way inclined.
Perhaps you are too nostalgic of a dinosaur to see the truth.
An iconic comic yes, but a racist relic of a forgotten era, perhaps you both are.
Hergé was indeed racist in the early comics but only because he didnt know any better. And as soon as he met tchang he realised it wasnt how things where have you read the blue Lotus it is extremely anti racist and repeatedly mentions how wrong the Common western thoughts about China was at that time.
It does promote racist and colonial ideology. Maybe this is why Boris Johnson likes Tintin?? So too does Babar the Elephant!! and many other books from the past.
I feel that racism can’t be excused but Herge’s views were forward considering the era in human history he was in and if you observe his later writing his mind and ideals changed as the eras changed he was progressive adopting positive moral changes occurring in society and even pushing for them. If you notice the 9 out of the ten graphics occur in his first 3 work as a young and naive writer. The remaining graphic occurs in his 5th book so still pretty early on. It’s hard for people to change the racial prejudice they are brought up around yet Herge managed to change his views drastically in a time where this change in attitude would have been perceived as wrong and immoral. I can understand why people of dark skin like myself and people who had a history of being under colonial rule like myself could see this as abhorrent but so are many things in the world but observing the change is a better way to go about it. The atrocities the colonials have committed were vast but reminded by history at all times we have to move on preventing anything like that from ever happening again.
Racism is only an issue in white countries because us white people are the only ones dumb enough to allow diversification to happen willingly and to allow ourselves to be usurped and cuckolded by non-whites. Blacks living in Europe have no right to demand that books like ‘Tintin in the Congo’ be put out of print or banned simply because it offends them. It’s not the fault of whites that blacks don’t have much literature of their own for their black or mixed (god-forbid) children to read.
Actually, in the original black and white version of “Tintin in America”, Tintin remarks on the poverty of the Native Americans, and feels sorry for them. Not sure why Hergé changed it. Maybe he felt it was outdated.
It’s all as you think. Herge didn’t mention that the fellow was a jew and there is no humiliating scene as such. Tintin scolds people (ranked-1) because of their lazy attitude, not because of their color.
Yeah. I was thrown for a loop when the financier was described as jewish. There is no mention of that anywhere, and the book talks about Sao Rico (likely a tropic) so not sure where that came from.
True and in the land of black gold actual jews appear that arent stereotyped
Herge was working for Le Soir, which was under Nazi control when the Shooting Star strips were published. The Jewish caricature was a reflection of this, and he was explicitly given a Jewish name (Blumenstein), stereotypically Jewish features, and he was a villainous banker.
It was in 1954 when the Tintin strips for this story were reprinted in a color collection that the text was changed to call him a Sao Rican financier instead, with a name change and Jewish references removed.
But why are the people Tintin scolds lazy, do you think?
The book in which this financer appears was written during World War 2 and under strict nazi supervision. This would be why he is negatively potrayed as a stereotypical Jew.
Heck! Never in my life have I seen so many generally undesirable illegal aliens in just a few comic panels.
I don’t read foreigner comics so I wouldn’t know what happens in those stories, but I hope that TinTin guy kills all the illegal aliens in the end.
Talking about racism in Tintin is such sad way of looking at such great work that has inspired young children all over the world. I believe that if we want to look at the negative in anything we will always only see it.
Herge was a genius, with unparalleled stories. With all due respect, his stories are what interest me, not a few possible racist connotations. Racism, like all else, is relative over time. It would be nice to see the united states adopt Tintin, as the rest of the world has. God, I pray the politics of a failing country, does not kill creativity.
I always see people saying how Tintin is racist. People need to keep in mind that at the time was normal to be racist. I mean, many Europeans had never even seen a non-European so all they knew was what other people told him.
50, 60, 70 years ago, it was normal to be racist.
By the way, about the first one… You gotta understand, this strip was written in the 1940’s. While Belgium was under German occupation. If Herge published anything that seemed to even in the slightest way resist Nazi ideology, he would have risked being labeled a “political dissident” which would obviously not be good.
Tintin wasn’t ever meant to be racist, you have to understand at the time these were written everyone went along with the same mindset of stereotypes of blacks.
I want to buy Tintin in the Congo but I can’t find it.
I begun the collection few day ago, but I ‘ve had to stop after reading Tintin in the land of the soviet because of the second one is unfoundable…. I look for a new one or a second hand.
You missed his most racist image–a scene with conniving Jewish businessmen in robes and hats / skullcaps celebrating the news from some crazy person about the end of the world because it will allow them to skip out on onerous business debts and be an all-around great business opportunity. This appeared in the magazine version of one of his stories. You can find it if you search Bing images for Tintin +caricature +”anti-semitic.” This should probably be the number one racist moment. The characters look like the villain from “Jew Suss” or somesuch.
Yeah, right. That’s how it was in them days… Well here’s really how it was.
Under the reign of terror instituted by King Leopold II of Belgium (who ran the Congo Free State as his personal fief from 1885 to 1908), the population of the Congo was reduced by half — as many as 8 million Africans (perhaps even 10 million, lost their lives. https://www.nytimes.com/books/98/08/30/daily/leopold-book-review.html
I think if something was “shockingly racist” it wouldn’t require so much explanation; it would be self-evident. You’re stretching.
Portraying the Soviet Union as oppressive is racist? Are you insane?
Russia has the highest number of female CEOs thanks to their Soviet past. Black people who moved to the Soviet Union from the USA during the 40s and 50s were treated as equal. Just watch old Soviet films and see that black babies were seen as beautiful. The USA had to include black people in the army during WWII because they were humiliated knowing that the Soviet Union allowed everyone to serve equally, which included black people.
“Soviet Union allowed everyone to serve equally”
LOL! I guess one mans forced conscription is another mans equal service.
“Black babies were seen as beautiful”
So all Kim Jong Un need do is kiss a black baby.
Yes indeed. If you search and look around on the web, you will find a lot of real Soviet anti-fascist propaganda (an example: a black male ripping apart a Nazi-flag, or a Soviet citizen shaking hands with a black male). USSR actually had a united people.
Racism is endemic in every former Soviet country. This was and is still the case. Women, blacks, and every class of people were not treated equally in any constituent Soviet republic. This doesn’t even border on being intellectually dishonest, or to quote someone else here “it’s not even wrong”. All the classes of society you mention were treated unequally, literally according to how forcefully they questioned the government.
Women, blacks, and all other classes of society were denied rights, access to jobs, healthcare, life; if you questioned why the inequality existed in the first place.
Eddie Green, the numbers of blacks in Russia was so insignificant that treating them as equals would carry no negative repercussions. Besides that, treating blacks better than the USA was most likely a propaganda ploy. I can guarantee that the white Soviets did not want blacks in their lands and even today, mulatto children born to black men and white Russian women are shunned and typically become male prostitutes or go into pornography. The luckier ones are born to black athletes and weird Russian white women and play for Russian sports clubs.
I am so shocked. Are you a Muslim?
Using free speech on the internet to deride these ancient comics.
That’s what’s actually shocking.
I’m glad you don’t rule the country!
How can number 9 even remotely be called racist? Which race / ethnicity / religion is it supposed to be degrading? The Soviet Union was a country and a political construct, and criticizing the blatant lack of freedom of speech/assembly/religion/thought in that system is more than legitimate. It aptly described the USSR of the day, and can describe the North Korea of today (or any other dictatorship for that matter). If not, all the works and struggles of people who fought for freedom in those countries was also “racist” (racist against who – themselves?). What a bunch of rubbish.
Most of this stuff are actually true.
It’s obviously true that the USSR was a totalitarian regime which drastically limited its people freedom, especially compared to westerners.
And it’s likewise true that westerners were culturally superior to Africans, which is the reason why the former colonized the latter and not the opposite. And it makes perfect sense for the inferior to admire and emulate the superior so that he may improve and reach his level.
Well yes, but do not forget that this comic (Tintin in the Land of the Soviets) was made during the first decade of the USSR under Stalin. Stalin was a terrible dictator and later leaders of the USSR did not like his actions, but he was still seen as a kind of national hero because he made the USSR a superpower. Tintin in the Land of the Soviets is actually just Western propaganda, which finds the worst in Stalin’s Russia (pretty much everything): famines, very rigged elections, etc. The situation got a lot better after Stalin, believe me, I do a lot of research. After Stalin, there were no famines, just sometimes a deficit of something. But the Soviet people definitely had enough to eat after Stalin. The portrayal of the USSR in the comic is kind of the vision of the USSR by a common Westerner.
If it was made during the decade of the soviets, it is extremely realistic for the soviet government to be portrayed as corrupt. If this were made after ‘53 (after Stalin died), then I would agree. But it was not. Saying it’s still bad because the values of the country changed after publication date is utterly stupid. It’s like if I said “The nazis did horrible things, but let’s condemn all works criticizing or insulting nazis because the German republic that succeeded it is now thriving economically.
Number 9 is actually a fact. It is not anywhere near racism.
He did not have the recourses to get to those places. In the 30s and 40s people were taught that way. It is more of a lack of knowledge than anything else. Even though most panels are racist. I am Jewish so 10 is racist for me.
I can’t remember that any of the comics referenced Jews, in what comic was it said??
None of Them did except the land of black gold where jews are not portrayed negatively
I actually loved Mr. Bohlwinke, the Sao Rico financier in the Shooting Star. He is the spitting image of my late grandfather. We are GREEK, not Jewish. If I can look at that cartoon and see my much loved Greek grandfather why does Mr Tom McCarthy, the author of this rubbish, see a Jewish man? Not sure who is the racist here.
Because the character was Jewish. The name and origin were changed in later issues due to lawsuits against the discrimination after holocaust.
Tintin is awesome creation. He inspired a generation of kids. Showed them there was a big world outside. This is pre-Internet when the world was too big.
I come from India and when under British rule, India had to recite poems about mother country aka England. So do I hate England? It is over and done. History should remain history.
Herge changed politically, moved towards having better relation and better life. You are doing exactly what he opposed in his later works. You are spreading hate without understanding why he inspires so many of us.
My advice to you is read the books. Tintin is one of the gentlest creation with curious mind. He is never arrogant or condesceing. His best friend is Tibetan. The list goes on.
Why do you make a site like this to provoke? Is it a genuine interest or do you just need the traffic from Tintin researchers?
You can not look at history backwards! Why didn’t Jesus fight for equality between men and women? Why didn’t Buddha address the global warming issue and Mohammed? Why didn’t he…
As stated, the red Indian is clearly uncomfortable (nice work Hergé) and Tintin in America probably contains the most outspoken political statement Hergé ever does and it’s in favor of the natives! (Where the Chief I offered 25 dollars and half and hour to get out)
Yes, Herge was racist like any white man of his day. I am African and I read Tintin as a child. I only got to read Tintin in the Congo as an adult. Of course, I was shocked but not surprised at the depiction of black people in the comic. The experience of black people under colonialism was a mixed bag I must say. For example, the British in Uganda only committed a genocide against the Banyoro tribe who resisted their rule, while the rest of Uganda was not as devasted as Bunyoro was. The Africans in Kenya and South Africa were treated worse than animals because the white man also wanted their land to settle their poor landless migrants. The USA never participated in colonialism in Africa yet any African in my father’s generation who traveled to the US talked about how badly black people were treated there.
Anyway, back to Herge, I was intrigued by the ‘witchdoctor’ in ” Tintin in the Congo” named Muganga. That name in Luganda and other Bantu languages in Uganda means healer, herbalist or doctor. Interesting, since the Congo is extremely vast. Of course, to the white man, he would be a ‘witchdoctor’ practising ‘black magic.’ This anecdotal evidence shows that Herge must have done some pretty good research. Lastly, Kabirigi is a name given to very strong headed and anti-social children in Rwanda and western Uganda. The Belgians were ‘Ababirigi’ to distinguish them from ‘Abangereza’ or the English or Anglaise.
The Belgians earned the uncanny reputation of being blood thirsty white men who would eat our children and rape our women.
racism is a form of favoritism. if someone likes a person better or favors them, who are we to force him to think otherwise. you can’t eliminate favoritism. as anything in life, there are better or worse aspects when it comes to different races. now to generalize and punish people for other’s faults, that is wrong on any level. but to say white people are more attractive, there is a lot of truth to that, and it is not mere opinion. I think the problem is culturism. in the past the culture of certain ethic groups were of low standard compared to others. so in those days to favor a group over others made sense and wasn’t that wrong. today, people around the world have similar upbringing, so it is not right to dismiss a group for such prejudices. still, if I go to the ghetto I will look down on those people especially if they are aggressive. that is not a racism, that is culturism. they are of low value culturally.
So if I say to you that you are culturally of low value as you do not know how to use capital letters, does that make it fact or opinion? I don’t know how you came to the conclusion that any culture is superior to another and could be deemed as low value or more attractive. Opinions such as yours are of no value.
JOO, about your question that the writer is a Muslim, or not: what do you mean by that, huh? That ONLY Muslims do these sort of things? You guys are really against Muslims for no reason at all, okay? Muslims are not people you need to be afraid of, they are not terrorists. They are good and kind people, and the world thinks bad of them for NO reason that makes sense. Do you understand?
And anyways, I agree with you all that making Tintin a racist, that is like THE most stupidest idea I have ever heard. Nowadays people see racism everywhere, even in Tintin comics, might I also add. You have got the wrong idea, Mr. Writer, and I hope you realize that. I mean, Tintin a racist? Sheesh!
It’s so funny to see that drawing a busssines man with big nose classified as racist while drawing a man with turban holding bombs is freedom of speech. Double Standart.
Written three quarters of a century ago we should not be shocked to find material that by today’s standards are considered racist, but to call much of what is in those panels above NOT racist is dishonest. Especially given that this material was written in Belgium where even today state officials march the blackfaced Noirauds down the streets of Brussels. Next door, in France, citizens enjoy the Tete de Negre every Christmas. The name was changed a few years ago to Tete de Chocolat, officially, but most French people refer to it by its original name. European norms are shocking to Americans. Here in America we are only too willing to tag our speech, flags, sports uniforms, etc. racist. The French person thinks doing away with the Tete de Negre was much ado about nothing. Oh really? Would the black people in France agree? Not in a million years would it occur to the French to even ask them.
Your grand parents and great grand parents were racist too. It’s history. What’s important is that we are not, and our kids are not.
Sure these pages are very racist. But I believe that’s because of the influence that Hergé had at the time.
He later changed a lot of the black characters in “The crab with the golden claws” into white characters because he saw that is was wrong.
Later he gained a great friendship with a Chinese person who he based his character “Tchang” on, and he would teach Hergé about the Chinese culture so when he wrote “the blue lotus”.
In “The shooting star” he had named an American “Blumenstein” but later changed it to “Bohlwinkel” which Hergé later regretted when he found out that that too was a Jewish name.
Sure his old work has it’s racism but I believe that it’s pure naivety influenced by the times.
Hergé changed his point of view so I don’t think it’s right to call him a racist.
I don’t know. I mean, the panels regarding Congolese people leave me troubled, but I feel they show Tintin and his dog in a bad light more than anything else. If you want to spread racist worldview in a comic, there are better ways to do that than have your leading, white characters make snide comments that are obviously unfounded – like “They don’t look very bright” about a group of men doing physical labor, with nothing to indicate whether they are “bright” or not. Tintin is clearly shown as racist and an oppressor, but I’m not sure if it’s really intended as “proper behavior”. To me, at times at least, it seems like the messge is more “we are the opressors in Congo” than “Congolese people are inferior to us”.
Other than that, I’m not very shocked. The man in the first panel is never mentioned to be Jewish, and “Sao Rico” sounds like a Latin America place. The Soviet panel is a ridiculous simplification of Soviet reality, but conveys a message that is sort-of true. The Indian doesn’t make me think of the homeless, it is drawn quite accurately to the stereotypical “Indian” image. And while Tintin talking about him like he’s a tourist attraction is inappropriate, it’s not particularly racist. The Indian being obviously unimpressed adds a significant layer to the situation, too. As for two days on the train to get to Indians – that’s pretty much how it is in USA to this day. The Pygmy panel is not racist either, just stereotypical and somewhat silly. And Pygmy people do, or traditionally did, dress this way and use similar tools.
Just because it looks inferior to you doesn’t mean it is. These people have no reason to follow our aesthetic, they have their own, and in their environment and lifestyle, the Pygmy dress code works better than the European.
I am a person from a former communist country. The one about the USSR is actually true, not just in the Stalin period (it wasn’t anywhere near close to “humane” just because Stalin died). And I assure that you – a bunch of westerners who had the privilege of living in rich democratic countries – thinking the USSR was just “that weird controversial uncle” is what we used to call “useful idiots”; college hippies in the West supporting our oppressive tyrants because it pisses off their rich daddies and mommies.
And no, Ryan, you know nothing about what it was like. And every time you make excuses for ANY communist regime in the Eastern bloc, you spit on the mass graves of my people, my family, my ethnicity. Our workers were betrayed by every single instance of communist rule that claimed to represent them. Workers were being shot with live ammunition in my city for demanding human rights and bread to feed their starving children, and that was decades after Stalin.
Tintin may have been racist and probably was, but claiming that depiction of the Soviet Union was wrong is either being naive, brainwashed or a communist. In which case, you have the blood of millions of my people on your hands. Find some other way to protest your dumb imperialist problems.
Signed, an actual Slav, from an actual communist country, still in actual poverty and corruption thanks to it all.
Just because you share the communist ideal which in its purest form is meant to make society better doesnt make you responsible for what a bunch of psychopath did in the last.
I mean, mostly this is pulling stuff out of the heels. Tintin represents views of benevolent people of that time. Teaching blacks in Con go about their country – BVelgium? It WAS Belgium at that time. The benevolent western people’s attitude towards the africans (colonies) then was that they should be treated respectfully and to civilise them. Today with sensibilities as they are it is not possible to express such a view, but these comics have to be read in historic perspective.
The one about the Soviets is really stupid: no sane person can see anything wrong with that. The depiction in the comics is correct. And yes – the west was free, the east was not. West was in a better place, east was in a sh*thole. Period.
‘the west was free, the east was not. West was in a better place, east was in a sh*thole. Period’
I know much has been said already, but as an avid ‘Brown’ reader of Tintin, I feel in the initial writings, Herge was trying to be sarcastic, with an expectation that the readers of that time will acknowledge the wrong-doings of the dominant European colonists. When he realized that his sarcasm was being taken as validation of the dominant stereotypes, he became conscious and gave a straight humanist face to Tintin.
Those of you think East was in a sh*thole and West was a better place, give me a break. I definitely admire ‘West’ for what they have genuinely done, but the so-called East has continuously been betrayed and tremendously exploited by Western arrogance. If you did not know already, skin color does not define greatness, your behaviors do, and ‘West’ needs to go a long way to learn humility. It’s East’s generosity, both social, cultural, economic and human, that West is what it is today. PERIOD!
I love Tintin and always will, I find him human and lie everyone on earth sometimes a bit prejudice,so what.
It’s pretty clear that Tintin in the Congo — from which most of these examples come — was a racist and colonialist book. It was his second book (the equally awful Tintin and the Soviets was the first, the transitional Tintin in America came next.) These books, especially Soviets Congo, reflected the agenda and the prejudices of a naïve catholic conservative in his early 20’s working under editorial direction from reactionary Catholic mentors. But to treat them as representative of Herge’s work as a whole is pretty absurd. It was his clueless and immature starting point — he got over it, quite dramatically. It is just sort of sad to think that anyone would believe this stuff is what Tintin is about, and it just seems reductive and ignorant to try to introduce the books this way.
At the time Herge wrote the book “Tintin in the Congo”, it was normal to be racist. So no, I don’t think Tintin is racist.
Try a Google News search for “Democratic Republic of the Congo” to see how things are going there now. Of course if Tintin and the Belgians hadn’t ruined things by colonizing there, Congolese probably would have colonized the moon and cured cancer by now.
I think Herge was unbiased on “In America” as he lived about 7,000 miles from where the story takes place, and I don’t see how the Soviet one is racist. What happens in those panels probably could’ve happened in Russia
Who really cares if it is. In 100 years something we do to-day will be looked down upon as absurd.
The comics are just fun to read so get over it and move on as the rest of the world has since 1920.
Even if Tintin books are racist, I really don’t care. The real problem here is that Africans, Arabs and some other groups lack their own literature and leach off white people to accommodate them in flattering ways in our own works of art and literature. If blacks had their own comic equivalents of Tintin, like the Japanese have their anime, blacks wouldn’t need to ever read Tintin and be offended by how they are depicted in those books. It is frustrating to me how whites have to change and sensor things to accommodate the non-white ‘guests’ coming to live in Europe. If there existed African comic books that made fun of white people, I truly would not care about it one bit and I would most certainly not ask them to sensor those books.
These books where pure inspiration and pleasure for every young kid who would like to read them. If considered without prejudice, these and other allegedly racist moments simply depict a point of view, which happened to be normal back then. And in all justice they do that in a rather candid way. In my opinion Herge can only be accused racist under the stretch of a rethoric effort.
Otherwise, seeing with a youngster’s eyes you would get the right context, one in which Tintin is a respectful and empathic young man, as well as a traveling cosmopolite, always ready to help others and frequently getting out of trouble by the honestly earned help of new local friends. That at least is what my kid friends and I did see and enjoy. If you otherwise see only racism, indulge me to imagine you have grown up into a very well respected, rational and politically correct adult, who legitimately does not like Tintin.
When white people try to tell other people what they should be affected by and what they should not be offended by. Really???
Though it is true that Tintin in Congo is extremly racist, colonialistic and conservativ in both dialog and images you must not forget the Swift changement! Like in Tintin and the prisoners of sun he protects an indian boy being hit for his origin. Later on in the same book he swears to keep the Incas secret temple secret even though it’s his job to do otherwise. In Tintin in Tibet he risks his life and countles others to no matten the cost save his friend Chang, several other instances provet otherwise then for Tintin to be a racist! As i said earlier Tintin in Congo is a disgraise for the serie!
Furthermore capten Haddok might be a bit racist from time to time but he is clearly also the result of an alcoholic, depressed and conservativ family as is proved in several books. Such a man is clearly added to counter the humble, kind and ever so helpfull protagonist. Lastly i want to point out that his missbehaviors aren’t just focused on racist acts But also on his butler, the Duponts, and countless other friends and strangers, though after as the stories progress he evolves and becomes more openminded learning that he’s preconseptions are highly inaccurate.
Captendrunk out “microfon dropped”
all right so Tintin in Congo was originally published in the 1930s. Back then the society itself was filled with slavery and other evil stuff that we nowadays simply can’t process. You’ll actually see that Tintin and the other protagonists are actually much more moderate compared to the other characters appearing in this book. I’m surprised that Herge had the wits to come up with such a non-racial character relative to those times. Besides, this article is exclusively based on the book “Tintin in Congo”.
Naaaw! Stalin never killed disesents to communism! Neither did he starve millions of people and tourture thousands of people! Gulags? What gulags?!
There has been a plethora of media sources depicting the Nazis as pigs and fiends, but no-one ever had an issue with that! Yes, the Commis were horrible and, in a comic kind of way, this is exactly the kind of thing they did (Animal Farm anyone?). The early comics stand out as testimonies of the general geo-politics of the time – no harm in that! I am thankful to the writer for not letting his self-consciousness get in the way of his fantastic and humorous story-telling. One will probably find that the Tintin books, despite not being PC, actually encouraged generations of kids to become cosmopolitan world travellers, just like it’s protagonist, and in turn has unwittingly helped many adults glean a much clearer picture of our world, its cultures and its peoples.
can you all stop fighting and just hate each other on the inside please, you sad, lonely troglodytes.
This Is ridiculous hergè was trying to protest!
I think people take things way to serious today. I agree with the guy who wrote that bit about why should blacks be offended if white people make fun of them when black people can make fun of whites(and everyone else) whenever they feel like it. I mean if blacks really believe that everything that is considered racist is racist then how come they sometimes help it out? Rap songs with Negro or Nigger anyone? I think Herge was just trying to make a fun story to amuse people in the day. Beside people always have prejudices even today. I mean one of you guys mentioned that Herge was a Catholic. In a negative light near the terms naive and facinist. I mean if you really look it up the Catholic Church is a lot more tolorant then the so called free politically correct world we live in today. They don’t shout you down when you say some point of view that they don’t agree with is another plus that the PC world will not grant. I think tin tin is great and that the person who wrote this is just trying to throw a pity party and make us all feel sorry for people who where treated bad by others thousands apound thousands of years ago. You don’t hear people like the Irish hooting and howlering about how the English treated them so and so years ago. Do you?
There is no racism in Tintin in Congo cartoon! it is pretty much of a realistic view of what Africa and Africans are, even today (2018)
Just, understand that Tintin was published freshly of old-naive-influenced ideas of the past. If you are looking for instances enough to state them as ‘racist’, Tintin’s not too much of a good source; Herge was simply influenced of his era. It would actually be a valid problem of racism IF Herge published these comics today.
I see nothing racist or inaccurate in number 9.
Whoever wrote is the most gullible-jump-on-all-trends type of easily manipulated individual. Certainly not a writer nor a thinker. Communism is now declared a race. Enough said.
The comments are shocking. Of course the early Tintin comics are notoriously racist – savagely racist even. I love the newer comics and wouldn’t even dare having my kids read the pathetic older ones.
It is self evidently racist, and any attempt to deny will rely on the irrational relative beliefs of the era, don’t read if you don’t like, etc, etc. And skip over what’s right in from of them: negatively stereotyping racial groups.
I don’t agree with the portrayal of the Soviets as racist. The Soviet Union was an oppressor state as much as – if not more than – the colonial regimes in Africa.
Everything else pretty much spot on though, but we might as well recognise it as an historic example of attitudes from the past as well, and not get so self indulgent that we all get hot under the collar about it.
The average IQ in Africa is 70. They are a simple people incapable of much civilization. The truth is racist sometimes and that’s OK.
Toujours les même rengaine sur (Hergé) Tintin au Congo et bien d’autre, tout et bon pour crier au raciste, alors si vous dessiné un noir ces du raciste un blanc ces quoi un faux Cu ??, Il ces passer plus grave que cela et la jamais de polémique, tout le monde et partout on se voile la Face sur les parcage des Noires dans des Zoo ou le trafic d’esclaves sous tenu par des gouvernements et même le roi Léopold personne était outrait de ce qui ce passer, tous content de leur visite
I will remind you Issac Asimov was brilliant with IQ tests, but, couldn’t fix his own car. I don’t think he could survive in the bush, either. African people I have met in and out of Africa have been bright, intelligent, and very kind. You, However should keep holding tight to your racist and imperial thoughts, for they are outdated and will soon disappear.
Get a life. Stop moaning. So what if it’s racist?