An American edition of Tintin replaced a black character with a
vaguely Arab looking villain.
The most recent British edition of the Tintin books originally omitted one title - the second in the series - Tintin in the Congo, first published in 1931 and later in amended versions in 1946 and 1975. This was deemed to be too controversial for a modern readership because of some unflattering portrayals of Africans.
In 2006 a new British edition of Tintin in the Congo was finally published, but sure enough the Commission for Racial Equality has now acted to protect the nation’s youth. In July 2007 the CRE demanded that the nationwide chain Borders should remove the book from its stores, insisting:
This book contains imagery and words of hideous racial prejudice, where the ‘savage natives’ look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles.
How and why do Borders think that it’s okay to peddle such racist material?
Yes, it was written a long time ago, but this certainly does not make it acceptable. This is potentially highly offensive to a great number of people.
It beggars belief that in this day and age Borders would think it acceptable to sell and display Tintin in the Congo.
To its credit Borders refused to remove the book completely, but shifted it from the children’s to the adult section. A Borders spokesman offered what, in the circumstances, was a rare and brave defence of freedom:
Naturally, some of the thousands of books and music selections we carry could be considered controversial or objectionable depending on individual political views, tastes and interests.
However, Borders stands by its commitment to let customers make the choice. After consideration of this title, we have instructed all stores to move it to the adult graphic novels section.