Saturday, August 2, 2008

Would you like some racism with your scone, sir?



Having stumbled over this page on the internet that lists the top ten Most Racist Toys I was reminded of the tea room that I visited a couple of months ago that sold golliwogs not dissimilar to the ones pictured. I was somewhat shocked that gollys were still sold in the UK, especially in a beautiful, quaint tea room in a beautiful conservation village!  

I think Robertson's jam only removed the golly from their packaging relatively recently, I certainly remember from my childhood there always being Robertson's jam in the cupboard with the golly logo on it. 

A brief search on the internet finds a thriving golliwog appreciation community with collectors' guides etc. 

Pro golly arguments claim there to be no racism involved ("it's just a doll" they cry).
 Mr Golly, the garage owner in Noddy's Toytown, was replaced in the 80s by Mr Sparks. Enid Blyton, Noddy's creator, has a terrible history of flinging awful racism at impressionable children, as this passage from one of her books ( "The Three Golliwogs") shows: 

Once the three bold Golliwogs, Golly, Woggie, and Nigger, decided to go for a walk to Bumble-Bee Common. Golly wasn't quite ready so Woggie and Nigger said they would start off without him, and Golly would catch them up as soon as he could. So off went Woggie and Nigger, arm-in-arm, singing merrily their favourite song - which, as you may guess, was Ten Little Nigger Boys.

So, what would you do if faced with golliwogs on sale? 

13 comments:

Shoegazer said...

Gollywog songs, hmm:

I Feel Like A Wog - Stranglers
Wog - Cornershop
Good Golly Miss Molly - Little Richard

Shoegazer said...

If Enid was a racist old trout back in the day, would you believe we still have lawn jockeys over here?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawn_jockey

Fronk said...

It would have been more racist to not produce black dolls at all but, as my dad pointed out, the main problem was with the name "Golly Wog"

It is OK to produce caricatured dolls of chinese or caucasion children, if only you steer clear from calling them golly-chinks or honky-wogs

DarceysDad said...

Fronk Snr's right.

What would I do if I saw gollys on sale? Probably nothing. The dolls aren't the problem; the context is.

Enid Blyton? Yep, I'm just approaching that problem. Both DarceysMam and I have still got our childhood collections, and DarceysSis is starting to dip in. DarceysMam has taken it upon herself to re-read Mr Pinkwhistle (now THERE'S a name to make a cynical adult wonder!) to see what - if any - supervision we ought to have over DsSis' choices.

DarceysDad said...

And re passive racism: there is still - really - a Kaffir Street in Huddersfield.

I understand there is a legitimate horticultural reference, but still ...

Mr Pinkwhistle said...

Wonder about what?

steenbeck said...

I lived in London for a year each at age 5 and 7 (1975, 1977) and I remember seeing that I could win such a doll if I bought the jam, and I remember my parents being HORRIFIED. It's really stayed with me...

Blimpy said...

steen, if you still want one, i know a place...... ;-)

alimunday said...

I was born in the late '50s - I wasn't allowed to read Enid Blyton because my dad thought she was awful - but I did have a golly, and used to collect golly badges from Robertson's jam. My parents were sensitive to racism but at that time I don't think it occurred to them (or me) that there was anything racist about a golly - I think DsD is right, it's the context that's the problem, not the doll. And there is still a Blackboy Hill in Bristol (may have stemmed from the slave trade) but there is also a Whiteladies Road. Just thought I'd throw that in!

Abahachi said...

Almost identical experience to AliMunday - no Noddy (though I was allowed to read the Adventure books) but ultra-right-on-liberal parents saw no problem in collecting Robertson golly badges. And I was going to mention Blackboy Hill as well. Interesting debate in Bristol over the last few years about naming the new shopping centre development: original proposal of 'The Merchant's Quarter' was abandoned in the face of protests about what said merchants used to trade.

Blimpy said...

I just watched Clerks 2, which has the scene where Randall doesn't realise that "porch monkey" is a racist term.

FP said...

Blimpmeister: you're a wee bit younger than me if I remember. Go on Youtube, search under "Love Thy Neighbour" and click on PLAY.

Light. Blue. Touchpaper. And. Retire.
---
Message for the Hippo - just got my Where eagles Dare DVD. If I turn it right up you'll hear that snare drum....

nilpferd said...

Thanks for that info FP- I was picking up some tremors from the west and thought a storm was on its way... enjoy..