Tikki Tikki Tembo is a children’s book written by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent. The book was first published in 1968 by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. It tells the story of a Chinese boy named Tikki Tikki Tembo who encounters various adventures with his younger brother, Chang.
The book has been a favorite among young readers for generations. However, in recent times, some have started to raise concerns about the racial implications of the book. Some have even gone as far as to accuse the book of being racist.
What Is The Controversy About?
The controversy around Tikki Tikki Tembo stems from the fact that the book features a Chinese character with a long and seemingly unpronounceable name. Tikki Tikki Tembo is the name of the book’s protagonist, and it is also the name of his brother’s dog.
The name “Tikki Tikki Tembo” is a fictional name that does not have any meaning in Chinese. Some critics argue that the name is an example of cultural appropriation and reinforces the stereotype that Chinese names are difficult to pronounce and remember.
Is Tikki Tikki Tembo Offensive?
While the name “Tikki Tikki Tembo” may not be offensive in and of itself, some argue that its use in the book is problematic. Critics claim that the book perpetuates harmful stereotypes about Chinese people and reinforces the idea that Chinese culture is exotic and foreign.
Others argue that the book is a harmless children’s story that should be judged based on its literary merits, rather than its political correctness. They point out that the book has been beloved by generations of children and has won numerous awards.
What Do Experts Say?
The debate over the racial implications of Tikki Tikki Tembo is a complex one, and experts have varying opinions on the matter. Some argue that the book is a product of its time and should be viewed within its historical context.
Others argue that cultural sensitivity is important, and that books like Tikki Tikki Tembo should be updated to reflect modern attitudes towards race and culture. Some have suggested changing the name of the protagonist to a more culturally appropriate name.
The controversy surrounding Tikki Tikki Tembo is an example of the ongoing debate over cultural sensitivity and political correctness. While some argue that the book is a harmless children’s story, others see it as perpetuating harmful stereotypes about Chinese people.
Ultimately, whether or not Tikki Tikki Tembo is racist is a matter of personal opinion. While some may see the book as a relic of a less enlightened time, others may view it as a beloved children’s classic.