It’s all words, until it’s words that hurt children. I was not following the Racist Tintin debate until China Miéville weighed in. I’ll read anything he writes, so I was happy to read this.
It seems like this is an argument that the government of Belgium should put a sticker in a racist Tintin book. The book seems racist. The author did some rework of the book. We need fewer racist things on the planet. And hey, think of the kids. The kids get hurt when they see a racist world full of racist things with no explanation that this is a historical item from back when people did this particular awful thing more than they do now.
He must, by this logic, wish to live in a world where any black child – any child – excited to see Fantasia must be shocked by (no warning allowed!) & suffer through Sunflower, must wander into bookshops to be faced with mass-selling books calling them N****r in the title.
It is a strange, depraved morality that chooses relentless fidelity to racist texts over consideration of the day-to-day lives of children & others. Or to put it another way, ‘fuck you people, we care about our little n****r dolls more than we care about you’.
Me, I don’t know. I just think that even if the world would be better with a sticker in the book and a refiling of the book, this doesn’t rise to the level of something a government should work on. Governments always seem to me to be a way we can refer to the guys who have the most guns locally. Bring them into issues in a very limited way.
Why do we need the government to intervene? This seems like a matter of fashion and culture. These are areas where I hate to see the government tread. I would rather see a grass roots effort. I would rather see a few kids get hurt. I don’t want the government deciding what speech is acceptable – I want the culture doing that.
Since I’m not a black woman, but I’ve watched Good Hair, I feel fully qualified to make statements about what black women should do with their hair. They should go natural and rock what they got. I’m proud of the Curly Girl Collective and my friend Tracey in it (SHE’S BLACK YALL) and the way they kick ass. Even though I think it’s lame for black women to straighten their hair and probably not great for the self esteem of little black girls, I don’t think the government should do a damn thing about it. Black folks have to sort that fashion and culture out. Black folks doing it will be a damn site better than whatever benefits arise from government legislating it.
That isn’t a very analogous situation, but I did want to link to Tracey’s group. Racist literature is a culture’s responsibility. The racism has to get pushed out and that comes from the people, not a law.
I agree with China that this Tintin book is bad. I agree that it probably hurts kids. I don’t agree that a government should do anything about it. Keep them out of issues of what is correct speech or ideas. It is too dangerous to let them in these issues. I don’t like the idea of a government then making laws about the speech of other dangerous elements like socialists who write about collective action. There are many people in governments who dislike radicals and anarchists much more than they dislike racists – it is best not to let the guys with the guns get involved in speech at all.