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Pippi Longstocking books are racist

Posted by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:31 PM
  • 17 Replies

 

 

Photo: DPA

 

Pippi Longstocking books deemed racist

Published: 8 Nov 11 15:57 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20111108-38739.html

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

A German theologian has sparked controversy by calling Sweden's beloved Pippi Longstocking children's books racist and demanding additions to prompt parents to skip over or explain certain passages.

 

Dr. Eske Wollrad from the the Federal Association of Evangelical Women in Germany first made her comments as a speaker at a state conference on anti-discrimination in Leipzig last weekend, stirring debate in the German media.

"It is not that the figure of Pippi Longstocking is racist, but that all three in the trilogy of books have colonial racist stereotypes," Wollrad told The Local on Tuesday.

The publishers had already changed the original phrase used for her father as king of a South Seas island from Negro King to South Seas King, noted Wollrad, who is advisor for equality and social responsibility at the Protestant women's group.

But other passages in the much-loved books were also problematic, she said.

"The black children throw themselves into the sand in front of the white children in the book," she said. "When reading the book to my nephew, who is black, I simply left that passage out."

She said there were many such sensitive areas in the books, which were written by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren in the 1940s.

"I would certainly not condemn the book completely - on the contrary, there are many very positive aspects to the book, as well as being very funny, it is instructive for children as it not only has a strong female character, she is against adultism, grown-ups being in charge, and she is fiercely opposed to violence against animals - there is a very strong critique of authority in the book."

But Wollrad would like to see additions made in the books to guide readers at such points where the original text was racist. "The question to ask yourself is whether you could read a certain passage out loud to a black child without stopping or stumbling," she said. "Only then can you say whether it is okay or not."

Footnotes for such passages could be a helpful aide to those reading the books - either to prompt discussions or to help readers put racist terms into context.

Wollrad said literature for young children was woefully lacking in any characters that are not white - meaning that many white children do not encounter children of other heritage until they start kindergarten - and worse, that non-white children do not find any characters similar to them in pre-school books.

"It simply isn't helpful if we want to help our children find their place in a multicultural society," she said.

"A third of children under the age of five in Germany are from a migration background," she said. "Publishers seem to think it is only white, middle-class women buying these books. We as consumers have to show that this is not good enough."

 

by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:31 PM
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Replies (1-10):
briesmomisback
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:35 PM
2 moms liked this

EVERYTHING is racist nowadays. I mean some things and people are but come one these are children's books and nowadays they have SO many different books for different ethnicities that you can buy a book for every color of the rainbow!

♥♥♥Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your HEART♥♥♥

♥♥♥Brielle: My heart, soul and existence! God's Gift! Mommy's Angel♥♥♥

SunnyJoJo
by on Nov. 10, 2011 at 12:02 AM
2 moms liked this

They are just pissed that the book is centered around a ginger. Racist? I say they are gingist!

Ok seriously I've never read the books and skimmed over the article so I have no idea

justinnaimee
by Bronze Member on Nov. 10, 2011 at 12:06 AM
I agree. Plus would you seriously expect different from a book written in the 40's? Why not use it as a learning tool about the past and what we hope to change?

Quoting briesmomisback:

EVERYTHING is racist nowadays. I mean some things and people are but come one these are children's books and nowadays they have SO many different books for different ethnicities that you can buy a book for every color of the rainbow!

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SnapIt
by Bronze Member on Nov. 10, 2011 at 12:09 AM
1 mom liked this

Some people just have to get over the fact that there are tons of books written long ago and if they don't like it then don't read them

Why would people want to get rid of things that has been out for years? It won't change anything. It's already written. I have a copy of this book and so do thousands of other people. It's just stupid. It's History and nothing you can do will change what happened. 

gypsy_rose
by Kandy on Nov. 10, 2011 at 12:14 AM

EXACTLY! Pretty soon no book will be left untouched. No original books will be left. There will be many mutilated books around. I HATE when people screw with STORIES! if There were books that offended me I WOULD NOT. More people should do the same. But to me a Book is just that a BOOK. Stories are stories.  I don't care if a character in a book says all ___________ people should be shot. That is what the author wrote. Does that mean that is how they feel? NO it means that is how the CHARICTER feels. A good author can take themselves out of themselves and place themselves into their characters. Hell did anyone know Dumbledore is gay!?

Quoting justinnaimee:

I agree. Plus would you seriously expect different from a book written in the 40's? Why not use it as a learning tool about the past and what we hope to change?

Quoting briesmomisback:

EVERYTHING is racist nowadays. I mean some things and people are but come one these are children's books and nowadays they have SO many different books for different ethnicities that you can buy a book for every color of the rainbow!


i.heart.nerds
by on Nov. 10, 2011 at 12:19 AM
Have they read anything by Mark Twain? It is actually hard to read some of his stuff because of the language, but it shouldn't be changed. That is like denying history and I firmly believe that that is more insulting to tge memory of those discriminated against than the language will ever be.
Those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

GagaNTattooS
by on Nov. 10, 2011 at 12:20 AM
1 mom liked this
Whatever they rocked.. now I am going to make sure my kid reads the original.. I'll be the rebel fueling racism...
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bmw29
by Bronze Member on Nov. 10, 2011 at 12:23 AM

 

Quoting i.heart.nerds:

Have they read anything by Mark Twain? It is actually hard to read some of his stuff because of the language, but it shouldn't be changed. That is like denying history and I firmly believe that that is more insulting to tge memory of those discriminated against than the language will ever be.
Those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

 I was going to mention that. I love his books though and so does my son.

tennisgal
by on Nov. 10, 2011 at 12:26 AM

I assume she didn't read much Mark Twain. My boys love Tom Sawyer. I find it important to read it in it's original text. 

GagaNTattooS
by on Nov. 10, 2011 at 12:28 AM
How old were they I am thinking of reading the orGinal to my by he is 9 but i think he will enjoy the story

Quoting tennisgal:

I assume she didn't read much Mark Twain. My boys love Tom Sawyer. I find it important to read it in it's original text. 

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