Biggles and the casual racism

Biggles and the casual racism, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

We bought a lot of old books recently, including a few Biggles tomes. Biggles in the Blue was only lightly racist, with its references to "coloureds" and negroes. But five pages into Biggles Flies Again we get this little outburst from Algy- "Jungle Airways Limited, Joy Rides for Niggers, Flip-Flaps for Cannibals," when pondering running joy-rides in Guiana.
It was a more innocent time……

2 Responses to Biggles and the casual racism

  1. Innocent is an odd term for it. I’d go for dehumanising, arrogant and callous.

  2. Irony was being deployed.

    It’s an interesting snapshot of the time. Algy’s one of the good guys, a stalwart and near permanent fixture by Biggles’ side. A modern reimagining wouldn’t see such language passing his lips, or a clumsily orchestrated comeuppance and lesson learnt. But W.E. Johns lets him come out with this throwaway remark and then carry on blithely unaware of the offensiveness.