n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - "Warum soll man nicht schwarz sein?" - blackness und whiteness in Michael Endes Jim-Knopf-Romanen

Volume 43, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



The paper recapitulates two closely linked media debates which recently concerned the German general public. These controversies were about acts of black face in popular TV shows and about the alleged censoring of youth books for the sake of political correctness : In both contexts, references to Michael Ende's still widely read Jim Knopf novels played an important role. Against this backdrop, it is shown how these works deal with the intricate relation between blackness and whiteness - and which narrative strategies they use to undermine common racist discourses. However, it cannot be overlooked that they aren't consistently successful in doing so; in fact, Ende's bestsellers tend to reinforce a number of colonialist stereotypes about Africa.

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