Because it is supposed to cater to racist stereotypes, Ravensburger Verlag stops selling the new children's book "The Young Chief Winnetou". The withdrawal caused a lack of understanding on the Internet. Karl May expert Andreas Brenne also criticizes the publisher's decision.
A retraction by Ravensburger Verlag on a Winnetou children's book sparked discussions. As a company spokesman confirmed, the delivery of the book has already been stopped. The publisher had previously announced this on a social network, citing "the many negative responses" to the book "The Young Chief Winnetou".
The publication of the children's book for the film of the same name triggered considerable criticism on the Internet. The feedback showed that "we hurt the feelings of others with the Winnetou titles," the publisher explained on Instagram a few days ago. "That was never our intention," Ravensburger explained and apologized "expressly". According to the information, the stopped articles are licensed titles - a children's book from the age of eight, a first-time reader's book, a puzzle and a sticker book.
According to reports, one criticism of Internet users was that the book reproduced racist stereotypes. Also under the hashtag
Already in a preliminary remark it is made clear that the book is to be understood as a fictional story and not as an objective representation of the life of indigenous peoples. Brenne warned against generalizing the accusation of false cultural appropriation without thinking. "Even dressing up as an Indian is considered a racist act," explained Brenne, who works on program issues at the Karl May Society.
Previously, the German Film and Media Evaluation (FBW), which is supported by the federal states and which assesses films for their quality, had published a split opinion on the film "The Young Chief Winnetou". Some jury members consider it no longer permissible to make a film "in the spirit of the mythically charged and very clichéd Karl May 'folklore'".
According to the FBW, the film was approved by a large majority of the jury. They pointed out that Karl May wrote his stories from his imagination, and that the films made in the 1960s were also fairy tales that "represented the world of the indigenous peoples in an absolutely clichéd image". The members of the jury decided that bringing this into a fairytale-like children's film today was quite legitimate. In the end, the film received the rating particularly valuable.
(This article was first published on Monday, August 22, 2022.)