Pippi books charged with racism

German theologian Dr Eske Wollrad started a hot debate by describing Astrid Lindgren’s novels about Pippi Longstocking as having “colonial racist stereotypes”. In the article published in the German paper the Local, Dr Wollrad says “the black children throw themselves into the sand in front of the white children in the book,” with reference to Pippi in the South Seas.  “When reading the book to my nephew, who is black, I simply left that passage out.”

Yesterday, Astrid Lindgren’s daughter Karin Nyman made a comment in the English paper the Guardian:

“She is not a racist. She is the opposite. She is not only ‘against adultism, grown-ups being in charge, and fiercely opposed to violence against animals’ she certainly is also against racism. The passage quoted by Eske Wollrad, where the ‘black children throw themselves into the sand’ in front of Pippi and Tommy and Annika, is explicitly preceded by the explanation that they did so thinking,’for some incomprehensible reason’, that white skin was to be revered. This passage is, of course, referring to ‘colonial racist stereotypes’, but since it is immediately questioned by Pippi, who refuses to be knelt in front of, who makes a very strong point of the children being all alike, black and white, and enjoying the same games in the two books dealing with the South Seas, it is difficult to see the books as representatives of a dubious racist conception and thus harming reading children of to-day. But, of course, the old harm of colonial racism itself remains!”

Read full article here.

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