David Thomson: Moving books would be ill-conceived, unfair

Last modified: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
To the editor:

The pain felt by families of color who must explain to their children the racist depictions of blacks in the “Tintin” series is unquestioned. I feel deeply for them. But that is not a reason to censor the books. I commend the Jones Library for their difficult but absolutely necessary and correct decision not to remove these books from the children’s shelves where they belong.

The “Tintin” books are filled with stereotypes, some uglier than others. They are racist and have stereotypical depictions of blacks, Jews, orientals, American Indians. White American males are most often greedy businessmen or gangsters and women have almost no role at all. Despite these sometimes appalling flaws, the books are great reading and can stir the imagination of children and adults alike.

Moving these books out of the children’s room would be the easy solution. It would appease the real pain of those hurt by the racist depictions. It would however be the wrong thing to do. Like the ill-conceived nut ban this fall or the infamous cancellation of “West Side Story” several years ago, it would appease a few, salve our consciences and be unfair and hurtful to many others.

David Thomson