From The Guardian:
Astrid Lindgren’s much-loved books about Pippi Longstocking, she of the red hair, incredible strength and impossible lies, have been described as racist by a German theologian.
Dr Eske Wollrad, a feminist theologian from Germany’s Federal Association of Evangelical Women, has claimed that Lindgren’s classic children’s novels “have colonial racist stereotypes”. In Pippi in the South Seas, “the black children throw themselves into the sand in front of the white children in the book,” she told German paper the Local. “When reading the book to my nephew, who is black, I simply left that passage out.”
Wollrad neglected to mention that Pippi goes on to mock white children for their obsession with school. “If you come across a white child crying you can be pretty sure that the school has either gone up in flames, or that a half-term holiday has broken out, or that the teacher has forgotten to set homework for the children in pluttification,” she says.
The Pippi Longstocking books were written by Lindgren in the 1940s, covering the adventures of Pippi, an inveterate liar and eccentric whose parents are dead and who shares her house with a monkey and a horse who lives on the porch.
“It is not that the figure of Pippi Longstocking is racist, but that all three in the trilogy of books have colonial racist stereotypes,” said Wollrad. “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,” she told the Local.
But Wollrad believes footnotes should be added to the text to help put racist terms in context and to prompt discussions. “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 OK or not.”
Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Meryl for the tip.