Monday, October 19, 2009

Racism and Children's Comic Books.

Hall's article about representation and racial differences did not bring any new ideas that we haven't heard so far. We know how popular racism was, and how "black people were reduced to the signifiers of their physical difference--thick lips, fuzzy hair, broad face and nose, and so on" (p.249). Today, racism is not as prevalent as it used to be in the past. However, we still see some racial remarks and undertone when we look at examples of media such as the ones posted here on the blog. It is funny, ironic, and sad at the same time, that in the world where slavery has been long ago abolished, and where we believe in human rights and equality, there still are threads of racism that are evident to us in the everyday life, especially in the media. As human beings, we claim to be respectful and understanding, but in fact we are as disrespectful and empty-minded as our ancestors a century ago when slavery was seen as a norm.

This entire conversation about the representation of race reminded me about something that I've encountered last semester in my Cross-Cultural Communications Class. We read a children's comic book from the series of "Adventures of Tintin." This series, from which the first comic came out in 1920s, talk about the adventures of Tintin, a young Belgian reporter who travels around the world, encountering various dangerous situations. The second of the comics that came out, which was in 1930, was a comic titled "Tintin in the Congo." And this is one of the books that I read last semester. This specific comic has been ever since bashed as racist and inappropriate for the children. In fact, it represents the African natives as savages, stupid and intelligent morons that can be controlled by a young white boy and his dog. Also, the way that the Africans are drawn, clearly plays off of the stereotypical image that Hall talks about.

Below, I have a short video, the only that I could find of "Tintin in the Congo," that shows a couple of the images that appeared in this particular comic. have a look at how stereotypical and racist this book really is. PLUS... I WILL BRING A COPY OF THE COMIC TO CLASS TOMORROW, so that those of you who are not familiar with the comic can actually see exactly what I am talking about. "Enjoy!"

1 comment:

  1. This is terrific historical material, Dominika, thanks for posting it.

    I think what's really interesting about both Hall and Berg's pieces is that they trace what we'd nowadays consider to be extremely racist stuff-- like this piece-- and tie it to images that we deem acceptable today. For example, when we think of Africa today, what images, words, and phrases come to mind? I have a great video on that which I will post tonight.