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Store Pulls Dated, Stereotype-Laden 'Tintin' Book From Shelves—Temporarily

An educator complained that 'Tintin in America' promotes harmful racial imagery, but a Canadian bookseller has decided to continue stocking it.
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A Winnipeg branch of the Canadian bookstore chain Chapters pulled a racially insentitive Tintin comic from its shelves—but ultimately decided to continue selling it.

Like many books in the series, Tintin in America has been criticized as a product of its time (it was first published in 1932) and Eurocentric, colonialist viewpoint. Tintin, a young Belgian world traveler, visits America with his dog; a major section finds the protagonist interacting with warlike "red Indians" who speak in a stereotypical broken English.

A Chapters spokesperson confirmed to CBC that the book was pulled "pending the investigation of a customer complaint at our Winnipeg location ... a decision taken in isolation by that store," and that "it is now back on the shelves."

Educator Tasha Spillett, who lodged the complaint with the store, was disappointed. Chapters "can’t see the connection between the images and further entrenching racism," she said. "We have a responsibility to our children not to pass on the narratives that have created realities that are harmful to our communities.

Chapters' policies prohibit the store from stocking "anything written with the sole intent of inciting society toward the annihilation of one group;" the retailer, which reportedly had 231 stores in 2013, decided that Tintin in America did not meet this criteria.

Below are the cover and a few frames from the Tintin book; did Chapters do the right thing in deciding to continue selling it?:

Cover of 'Tintin in America,' copyright Herge / Moulinsart

'Tintin in America,' copyright Herge / Moulinsart

'Tintin in America,' copyright Herge / Moulinsart

'Tintin in America,' copyright Herge / Moulinsart

'Tintin in America,' copyright Herge / Moulinsart

'Tintin in America,' copyright Herge / Moulinsart