by Bk Munn
[UPDATE: Winnipeg Public Library pulls the book after similar protest]
Various news sources have reported on the temporary removal of a book from the shelves of The Chapters Polo Festival store in Winnipeg after a complaint by activist educator Tasha Spillett. The book in question is Hergé’s Tintin in America, which depicts the title character interacting with stereotyped depictions of First Nations people. Spillet reported on social media that she had confronted store management about the images in the book entrenching racism. Store management temporarily removed the book, but replaced it after the chain, Canada’s largest, determined it did not violate its policies (basically, they won’t sell a book if it is child pornography, contains instructions on building weapons of mass destruction, or solely exists to incite genocide).
First published as Tintin en Amérique in Hergé’s native Belgium, Tintin in America was originally serialized between 1931 and 1932 in Le Petit Vingtième, the children’s supplement of a conservative Catholic newspaper. In 1945, Hergé redrew the book and added colour, eliminating a racist depiction of Chinese people. When translated into English in 1973, racist depictions of African Americans were also altered. Although Tintin in America and the other Tintin books have sold millions of copies, several of the series (most notably Tintin in the Congo) have come under fire for similar reasons.