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Tintin comics 'too racist' for Stockholm library

The Local · 25 Sep 2012, 08:33

Published: 25 Sep 2012 08:33 GMT+02:00

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Tintin fans visiting the Kulturhuset youth library in Stockholm may be disappointed after the library announced that the books have been stripped from the shelves.

“The image the Tintin books give of Africans is Afro-phobic, for example. Africans are a bit dumb, while Arabs sit on flying carpets and Turks smoke water pipes,” explained Behrang Miri, who is in charge of the youth department in the library, to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN).

When the children read books like Tintin, Miri argues that they don’t stop to consider the stereotypical characters featured within the pages.

“Children don’t read the fine print, they just get into the story immediately. The biased picture is stigmatizing. Tintin provides a caricature with a colonial perspective. Young children absorb the information uncritically,” he told DN.

Meanwhile, staff at the library is working on investigating the content of other children’s books in the department in the aim of giving a consistent image for their readers without stereotypes, genders issues, or homophobia.

Even the adult literature is getting a thorough re-reading, with Miri hoping to provide better role models for the immigrants in the area, and a better reflection of their culture for the readers.

“All children's literature should be reviewed,” he told the paper.

“Even adult literature. Many people from African countries are living here today, but we don’t know enough about them."

Tintin was created by Belgian artist Georges Remi and revolves around Tintin, a young investigative journalist who travels the world solving mysteries.

Story continues below…

The comics, published between 1930 and 1976, have been translated into over 50 languages and sold over 200 million copies. Steven Spielberg directed a motion capture 3D film version in 2011, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

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Your comments about this article

09:14 September 25, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
Better start pulling all books and films made before 1960 including all history books, the bible, the list goes on and on, they all stereotype. Last group I can think of that started prohibiting books like this was around 1933 in Germany.

Why not let people decide on their own if they want to read these children books instead of forcing your own views on them? Tell Behrang Miri at Kulturhuset that we object to Swedish books showing blond children as that is not totally representative so all those books should be pulled as well. No more Pippi Långstrump! Is that what we are coming to, a gradual erasure of our culture that is not "multicultural" and totally politically correct?
09:21 September 25, 2012 by azimuth
This is called censorship. I'm against the stereotypes but I dislike more the censorship.
09:27 September 25, 2012 by sometimesinsweden
ha ha to be expected really. the re-writing of history and the whitewashing of the past.
09:28 September 25, 2012 by shade
This is disgraceful and should be strongly struck down by authorities.

It is Censorship to remove all ideas you don't agree with.

And it is very telling of the people in the library (the irony!) that they cannot recognize that all litterature reflects the time they were envisioned. As such TinTin is stuck in the early 1900's, because it would require a leap to accept him suddenly being in the present time.

Where do these librarians think they live? Saudi-arabia?
09:32 September 25, 2012 by Mxzf
Why not slap a label on 'Tintin in Africa' and 'Blue Lotus', the two racist ones?

"This was made in the early 1900s. People didn't know better then."

The ones after 1950s, _after the war_, are a lot less racist.
09:43 September 25, 2012 by Gee
Where was their outrage during the "cake mutilation" outcries? The mock slave auction? You can't just pick and choose the safest battles, oh Mighty Censors. Leave TinTin alone and fight some real battles in Swedish society.
09:43 September 25, 2012 by sometimesinsweden
Libraries used to be an open area where readers could educate themselves and do research and then make their own opinions.

Reading Behrang Miri's reported comments in this article, it seems that she sees it as her job to actually educate library goers in what she believes and provide a selected reading list, rather than the original open purpose of the library.
09:49 September 25, 2012 by sweddut
There are a number of books that are not banned in Sweden - The Satanic Verses (1988) why is it not banned? on the one hand as the report mentioned "Even the adult literature is getting a thorough re-reading, with Miri hoping to provide better role models for the immigrants in the area, and a better reflection of their culture for the readers." what is the Miri thinking, by banning a book it will change the roll model of society, people are using ebooks more today, it is a shame to think that Sweden is following this path.
10:30 September 25, 2012 by towns
The irony of this is that in the future such measures might backfire on the very concept these people are trying to enforce, if you erase all possible historical evidence of racism for the purpose of not offending anybody it will be impossible for future generations to learn from the mistakes of the past because there won't be any evidence from the past that society used to be racist. All such proof will have been eradicated long ago by the Politically Correct brigade!

Anyway, I'll have to break the news to my African American friend who loves Tintin and has since a kid, he will be disappointed in you Sweden!
10:36 September 25, 2012 by eppie
What do they think? That children are stupid? I read tintin but I don't have this stereotype of Africans?

I think the thing they are trying to solve (a non-problem if you ask me) is far less serious than what they are doing now; censorship.
10:38 September 25, 2012 by 007
to all the reading and intellectually impaired. this is only about one specific library at kulturhuset. it's not a parliamentarian decree about all books in sweden.
11:10 September 25, 2012 by StockholmSam
He has stepped onto a very slippery slope, one that has been trod by numerous literature nazis in the past. What's next? Book burning in Medborgarplatsen? He should leave the books alone and instead focus on opening up the conversation between parents and kids about what they are reading.

And as eppie pointed out, just because you read something as a kid does not mean you are doomed to believe it for the rest of your life. These books give invaluable insight into our past culture, our history. The librarian is obviously a moron.
11:14 September 25, 2012 by jesseblu
Astrix makes Romans look like blithering idiots. Will that be next.
11:21 September 25, 2012 by Kemi
A few self-rightous people think they know better than the rest and have the right to determine what is good and what is not. It's only a matter of time before they start to pick on Pippi.

Tintin had given me so much laughters and happy memories in my childhood, and today still. I have bought a new set of all the Tintin books for my own collection when they were fussing about "Tintin in Congo" some time ago. I plan to read it to my baby once she's old enough. Tintin fans should all do the same.
11:32 September 25, 2012 by andreasbe
As an Ex-pat Swedish Citizen living in South Africa for the last 14 Years, this is so typical Swedish BS.

It is not censorship it is just a case of "We must not offend anyone" and keeping Comics from the 1900s is not a bad thing, I am not Xenophobic and I grew up with Tintin. There is some many self rightus people in this world that take offence of things and blame it on society. The Mock slave auction earlier this year, it was a University initiation ritual for gods sake, and just because there was an uprising from one small ethnic minority group doesn't mean that it was prejudice.

Come on and grow a set of balls, is Tintin being removed from any other Western country in the world??????? I think not .!
11:32 September 25, 2012 by Decedo
Does this really surprised you? Strange things go on here in Sweden. It's legal for a woman to sell her body, but illegal to buy? Doctors leaving at 12:00 sharp because it's his lunch time, even though he's in the middle of an operation? Politicians are elected because they're young and energetic, yet they're as smart at a bag of hockey pucks? No accountability here.
11:43 September 25, 2012 by geekuma
I understand the serious threat of comic books written/drawn in the 30's. They are a major threat to the modern 2010's society.

They should indeed continue and ban also the Swedish books of Pippi Longstocking. She's skipping the school, squatting a mansion, repeatedly (and often violently) resisting the police, living without a legal guardian, being racist against coloured people and provoking other children into questionable actions.

Just like improper Tintin, how can Pippi be seen as an acceptable role model in this modern world? We must protect our children and hide the inconvenient books! Burn them, burn them all!

11:45 September 25, 2012 by towns
@ 007

No need to get all uptight and offensive, most of us know this wasn't a Sweden-wide ban, we can read you know and don't need your condescending attitude.
11:46 September 25, 2012 by 007
ok people, the guy who suggested this isn't the librarian, and clearly he doesn't even have the authority to enact this. kulturhuset has backed down on his hotheaded decree and there will be no book banning at kulturhuset.

sorry sweden haters...you all need to find some other fuel for your fire.
12:18 September 25, 2012 by Migga
This leftist is trying to decide what we or our children should think, say and in this case read. This kind of extremist is shared by people like the Nazi and the Talibans.

Censurship is not the way to fight racism or ignorance, openness is.

This just turned out to be a leftist trying to make headlines though.
12:28 September 25, 2012 by Svensksmith
Better get rid of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, too.
12:40 September 25, 2012 by tparkin
And Shakespeare - some nasty racial stereotypes there too.
13:32 September 25, 2012 by cogito
Oh yeah, that Shakespeare's got to go. Othello, the hero of the play by the same name, was a black man who "loved not wisely but too well."

Gasp! Blacks=unwise?

Shakespeare was raaaaaacist. (He was probably a Sweden hater as well ).
14:27 September 25, 2012 by Scepticion
Before Behrang Miri presumes the arrogance of thinking in stereotypical fashion about other people (in fact he's in a way racist himself by claiming to know better than the affected people), he should perhaps have a look how the affected people think about it. They like Tintin:


and sell Tintin in the Congo on the streets of Congo.
17:35 September 25, 2012 by JMSN
Hi everyone, I strongly support the above comments and given the seriousness of this threat to censor books in Stockhom (to begin with) and before it ends in a big bonfire where everyone can throw in all books that the State doesn't agree with... I suggest we start a campaign against this Behrang Miri and either make him retract his activities or make him resign... I'm serious about this... so who's with me?

Contact me at: suareznavarro@gmail.com and let's stop this nonsense once and for all!
20:28 September 25, 2012 by Dave N
Better ban Lord of the Rings as well - the evil orcs are described as having black skin and red tongues...
12:48 September 26, 2012 by Freedaysaregooddays
Oh the irony, it is overwhelming!

Behrang Miri claims to be stopping ethnic stereotypes, but what he is REALLY doing is perpetuating them.

Behrang Miri - sounds like he comes from the Middle East.

The Middle East is internationally known for banning any form of literature that they find offensive to their Islamic theocracy.

And here old Behrang is, a Middle Eastener, coming to Europe and telling the natives what they can and can not read based on what he thinks is appropriate?

Behrang, you are your own worst enemy!

Now I wonder how far Behrang is ready to put his mouth where his money is and start taking down all the literature and films in his library that stereotypes Europeans negatively or even demonizes them? Like, if we do a search in his library will we still find the anti-German film Inglorious Basterds on the shelf?

For some reason I wont hold my breath waiting for that to happen.
13:36 September 27, 2012 by Peter Helenius
09:14 September 25, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme

Is that what we are coming to, a gradual erasure of our culture that is not "multicultural" and totally politically correct?

Yes, that's definitively were we are heading for as long as the Swedes are stupid enough tovote for and tolerate the Totalitarian Gutmensch politicians.

Every segment of our lives and thoughts will be at least modified and in many cases destroyed, just to please and not to offend the 'newcomers''s anachronistic believes and clan mentality preferences.

12:48 September 26, 2012 by Freedaysaregooddays

Behrang, you are your own worst enemy!

I don't care that he/she is his/her own enemy. It's our enemy for certain and this types which think a totalitarian state is good for themselves, because they came from regions where that's the ongoing business, shouldn't be in a place that they can influance the lives of Real Swedes and Modern(ized) people. Let this character become happy and send him/her to a Islamic hellhole of choice. There she/he will be able to forbid everything which offends her/him.
23:32 September 27, 2012 by Swedish Cat
We should learn from Norway! After the Massacre people became even more open regarding how they see things and are not afraid to discuss and chritizise. Bring it out in the open is what they say as holding it in and censuring are making Breiviks.
14:32 October 4, 2012 by stparker1979
I own a card for the DS with 100 Classic books. The NDS is really considered to be a childrens' handheld console. The disclaimer on the opening page states that the opinions of the authors are the products of the times in which they lived and may be seen as offensive.

Is it impossible for the politically correct people do do the same? No; a book bonfire is a far more symbolic gesture.

I remember reading Noddy stories as a child and knew that Golly wogs (as much as I liked them) belonged to a bygone era. Everything that Enyd Blyton wrote belonged to the past; my child's brain was likewise able to do this equation: Tintin/old artwork/unreal/not accurate vision of reality.

This kind of action makes collector's items out of this work, and removes them as a literary milestone.
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