Err, yes, one can

“The sale of these dolls perpetuate racism as they hark back to a time when the mockery and stereotyping of black people was considered a social norm rendering black people as submissive and lesser.
“We urge the public to refrain from buying such overtly racist items and we hope the shop selling Golliwogs would consider taking them out of the store as one cannot profit on the oppression of an entire community.

The question is whether one should so profit, not whether one can.

And I fear for the Telegraph subs, I really do:

Golliwogs were invented by American Florence Kate Upton in 1985 and became culturally popular as caricatures of Africans

Sigh.

40 thoughts on “Err, yes, one can”

  1. I wonder to what extent small children do see stuffed toys as representative of something. When I was a wee bairn I had a golliwog, it wasn’t representative of the vibrant West Indians in the street it was just “Golly”, a thing in its own right.

    I suspect to small children all stuffed toys are stuffed toys first and foremost, and almost incidentally in the shape of a rabbit, bear or jolly rasta.

    Well gee Tim, if you’re twenty, 1985 was ten years before you were born, i.e. ancient history. Sobering thought.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    I have never felt such desire to go out and buy a golliwog.

    How exactly is growing up loving your golly going to make a little girl racist? It isn’t as if children are being taught to stick pins in them or anything.

  3. “Ever since they have been used as an offensive racist caricature of black people.”

    I’d be interested in seeing any examples from, I dunno, the last 20, 30 years of someone actually using a golliwog for this purpose.

  4. The marketing people at Robertson’s Jam were white supremacists of the most virulent kind, foisting their racist enamel badges on small children and warping their little minds.

  5. Good year 1985.

    Everybody at that Live Aid concert should have bought one of those new-fanged Golliwogs and held them up on high.

  6. The wonderful Lanhydrock House in Cornwall built 1881, preserved by the National Trust as a quintessentially forwardthinking Victorian grand home, has its nursery equipped with the book “Gollies go Foxhunting”.

  7. Dongguan John – ok, I will stop segregating my black jelly babies, but riddle me this:

    Which fruit juice is more racist – Um Bongo or Kia Ora?

  8. “The question is whether one should so profit, not whether one can.”

    The is-ought fallacy: because something is the case, it should be the case.

    The moralistic fallacy: because something is moral, it must exist. Because something is immoral, it cannot exist. Ought-is.

  9. “I’d be interested in seeing any examples from, I dunno, the last 20, 30 years of someone actually using a golliwog for this purpose”

    Stormfront used to superimpose a golliwog head onto whichever black person was in the news. That was a while back though. I don’t have the stomach to revisit.

    It’s nothing to do with the child playing with the toy, it’s the perpetuation of the intent to portray black people as inferior.

    http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/golliwog/

  10. @Arnald, I suppose I should have guessed there would be some bunch of knucle-draggers on the net that would do something like that.

  11. Thank you Arnald
    So Ms Upton did NOT invent the Golliwog, she copied it from one of her childhood toys and it was a loveable character, not a basis for anti-black racism.
    You have done better than Tim in showing just how wrong Nicola Hay etc are.

  12. It’s nothing to do with the child playing with the toy, it’s the perpetuation of the intent to portray black people as inferior.

    Damn those racist marmalade manufacturers.

  13. Tintin in Africa is more popular in Africa than it is in the guilty West.
    Robertson’s was a Quaker family firm, so presumably at the forefront of the anti-slavery movement a century before the golliwog appeared on their jam.

    People see what they want to see. If you want to see racism, that’s what you’ll see.

  14. apricot77

    “So Ms Upton did NOT invent the Golliwog, she copied it from one of her childhood toys and it was a loveable character, not a basis for anti-black racism.”

    Are you sure you can read? I know it’s a long article, but you might learn something.

    I agree we should be a bit more relaxed about these things now, but to deny that the use of golliwogs, picaninnies and the rest were not blind racism is to be ignorant of the facts.

  15. bif

    “f you want to see racism, that’s what you’ll see”

    No. These symbols were racist. There is no confusion of perception here.

    Should they be now? Probably not, they could do with rebranding, but originally this is how black people we looked on.

    I’m waiting for SMBS to come up with some revisionist bollocks.

  16. We see this story every few months. It’s like catnip to the Progressive media. What would they do without them?

    “Thank fuck – we’ve heard a rumour a shop in is selling Golliwogs. Get everyone there NOW!!”

  17. You are supplying all the bollocks needed on here Arnald.

    Worry–if you needs must worry–not about children’s toys but about the millions dead because of the evil creed you endorse and expound.

    We need a new stuffed toy–SocialPigg–a bright red pig. Red to symbolise the blood of the innocents murdered by the left in all its forms( Jolly decent of socialist scum to sum themselves up by picking a colour that shows what they are all about). He could have his own kids cartoon series.

    SocialPigg works for Mr Death out of his HQ on the magic isle of Gurn-Sea . His job is to lure lovable cartoon creatures –The Muggs –into the clutches of Mr Death in his City of Evil with tall tales of Utopian bliss to come. The cartoon needs a hero–Say a cute and courageous Jack Russell terrier who protects the Muggs and bites the fleeing SocialiPigg’s arse off on a regular basis.

    Beats those Metrosexual pukes the TeleTubbies into a cocked hat.

  18. “Is The Story of Little Black Sambo still OK?”

    Sorting through family stuff from the loft, came across a suitcase full of soft toys. My father’s from the 1920s inherited by me in the 50s. Amongst them are not only a Gollywog but also something’d probably induce the writer of the article to have a seizure. It’s my very own slave boy. Dark brown velvet covered figure about 8″ tall. Dressed in dungarees & a floppy hat. I was always fond of him. Wondering what to do with him now.
    I suppose hanging him from the car rear-view as a mascot wouldn’t….
    Probably not.

  19. @ Arnald
    Golliwogs *were* racist – stating black people were nice. That is racist – white people like you aren’t as nice. All the black guys I know are nicer than you – that’s racist but very clearly true.

  20. The Navy’s Electronic Warfare branch have been nicknamed “gollies” for a long time, and still are (there’s even a plaque explaining the reason in Lewin Building, down in HMS Collingwood). Is this enduring wickedness merely a racist denigration, a conspiracy to oppress, or a hateful attack on an entire culture?

    Nope – it’s sustaining a joke from the early days of the branch, when promotion could be very rapid. It was said that for members of the EW branch, your PO’s hooks could be had by simply sending off ten of the golliwog tokens from jars of Robertson’s jam…

  21. @ Jason Lynch
    My #1 son is a geek: I’ll tell him that his black friends should apply for a job in the Navy if they dislike their boss – it should get them plus points in the interview if they say the RN wants goilliwogs in EW!

  22. I suspect negroes are inferior to other races in certain respects and superior in others. In everyday life, this wouldn’t matter, simply because they are human. In terms of social – particularly immigration – policy, however, it would matter.

  23. So Much For Subtlety

    Arnald – “I agree we should be a bit more relaxed about these things now, but to deny that the use of golliwogs, picaninnies and the rest were not blind racism is to be ignorant of the facts.”

    How do you know? Racism can only exist in the mind of the racist. I am sure that some racists did see a golliwog and saw what they wanted to see. Most other people saw a golliwog.

    john77 – “My #1 son is a geek: I’ll tell him that his black friends should apply for a job in the Navy if they dislike their boss – it should get them plus points in the interview if they say the RN wants goilliwogs in EW!”

    A geek with Black friends? Come on dude. Black geeks only exist in Hollywood. I have always held the Bond film franchise up as a role model in inappropriate casting – Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist? Who are they kidding? But I think a special award ought to go to Transformers. I also note that The Martian seemed to have more Black STEM graduates than the whole of the UK.

  24. SMFS – Black geeks only exist in Hollywood.

    Nah, black techies do exist, they’re just a lot less common than white or asian ones.

  25. My personal view is that gollies are distasteful, or at least have gone past their date of being considered culturally appropriate, and good riddance to them. But on another level, I can understand the nostalgia. I reckon there’s bound to be a strong nostalgic effect for any childhood thing, particularly if it didn’t have (at least in the kid’s view) connotations of being racist or offensive at the time.

    @john77

  26. @john77

    I recall a conversation with an Indian chap that became uneasy rather quickly:

    “How did you know I was Tamil, by the way?”

  27. There’s a shop a few miles from me (a safe distance south west of Birmingham) where there was a golly selling incident a few years ago. The police confiscated the gollies in question and the police station was later surrounded by protestors. I’ll pop over and see if they are still on sale this year. I have several golly badges, Noddy books with gollies and a copy of Nigger of the Narcissus for when that is banned. I started collecting PC-naughty things some years ago for posterity.
    I never made any connection between gollies and coloured people.

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