Racism in child and youth literature
The image of coloured people in western European literature was delineated by a few basic types before the children's books emerged during the 18th century. Child and youth literature adopted existing stereotypes. The stereotype of the coloured man as the noble savage appears in a letter about a journey to Brazil in 1500. Later, the noble savage emerges in occidental philosophical novels from Voltaire's Ingenu up to A. Huxley's Brave New World. This false idea of a primitive yet noble manner of being also provided the basis for Rousseau's philosophy and lay the seed for the turning away from Europe and the enthusiasm for America among some of the European romanticists. The image of the noble savage can be found in youth literature as well as in literature originally written for adults but afterwards mainly read by young people. Famous examples are the Indians in the novels by James Fennimore Cooper and the Indian Winnetou in the novels by Karl May.
Racism against coloured people is still very common in western Europe, South Africa, the USA and Brazil. For more than a century children's and young people's literature with its stereotyped discrimination against coloured people has perpetuated white racism; either euro-centrism or gringoism projects inferiority feelings into coloured people. Extremely racist groups such as those that exist in the USA, the UK, the Union of South Africa, Germany and France can readily take advantage of children's literature for the purpose of openly preaching racial hatred.