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Are Golliwog Dolls Racist???

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I keep seeing these things EVERYWHERE where I live! I find them really offensive and I always thought they were racist and at the very least politically incorrect. But maybe this was my own false assumption? Im really shocked to see them in every second store at the moment. As a mother of biracial kids I feel like going into the store and yelling at them for selling it.

I dont know much about where they originated from, except that they are in my old Noddy books where they are sometimes bad creatures who live in the dark wood and sometimes friendly. They've been replaced with goblins in the modern version

So are they racist dolls? Or is it just me? Do black people like them, or are they offensive?
post #2 of 13
Where are you? I've never seen them, except in the Noddy books.

They are based on nasty racial stereotypes. So I can see why they would be offensive.

I think, though, that most people are probably unaware of that.
post #3 of 13
I had never heard of them before, so I Googled it and found this article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golliwogg

I'm shocked that anyone would sell them!
post #4 of 13
We have a Golliwog doll from DS' grandad. DH and FIL grew up on the comics (FIL from UK)....we don't treat it as anything other than another dolly.

Interestingly I followed the link on the bottom of the wiki page to Little Black Sambo....that was a childhood fave of mine. Of couse it is seen as controversial now...as a child we read it in school many times and it was just a fun story.
post #5 of 13
I find Golliwogs extremely racist. They seem extremely popular at craft shows and in folk 'art'.

You can still buy Fruit Mincemeat in the UK with a Golliwog as the mascot.

When I was a kid in Australia we had Golliwog cookies that were made from chocolate flavoured dough (like the choc part of an oreo). We used to eat the hair off first! These were pulled sometime int he late 80s and I think they were re-released in a bear shape.
post #6 of 13
Yes, they are based on horribly racist stereotypes and attitudes.

Just because someone has a positive connotation to them doesn't mean that they aren't based in racism.

Lots of children and adults grew up loving blackface minstrel performers too. Fifty years ago, even Bugs Bunny and other famous cartoons had horribly racist characters (or caricatures, more correctly) on them. You used to be able to buy postcards from florida showing cartoon black children trying to escape being eaten by alligators and that was ha ha cute and funny.

I think it's good to be shocked and nauseated by such things now. I had a golliwog doll growing up (got in in the UK, I believe), and I don't consider myself a racist--but I can't look upon that with warm hearted reverie now. As an adult, I know what that stands for and the history behind it, so I view it quite differently now, and I would not buy something like that for my child. It's not, and never truly was, harmless.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, Im glad I wasnt the only one. I wasnt sure if I should be happy they were at least selling black dolls, but its an insult when they will only sell ones which have a racist meaning. Im in Australia and they are everywhere. Its only been lately- the last few months or so that I keep seeing them around. I was in a shopping centre (what you probably call a mall) yesterday and there were 4 (!!!) different places I saw them in as we passed- this was just through windows/entrances, I wasnt going in the shops- they do stand out. This is a small shopping centre too. They are in newsagents, novelty shops, gift shops, discount shops. Everywhere. We are in a very multi-cultural area too. There are a lot of African immigrants, I feel offended that they would come here and see those being sold. I dont like confrontation, so maybe I should write a letter to the managers of these stores and go around passing them out like flyers I dont think most of them probably even realize how offensive they are, but its still no excuse to be ignorant.
post #8 of 13
Logan, when you talk to the management (if you do) can you ask them why they're selling them or why they seem to be popular? I'm really curious, is there some repopularization or something? I have not seen one in years and years and years! I have seen some black rag dolls (the style whether black or white they don't really have faces or have waldorfy faces, very simple dolls) now and then, but they're not the blackface character (exaggerated red lips and bugging out white eyes in the minstrel outfit) like gollywog dolls tend to be.
post #9 of 13
I'd never heard of or seen these before, but yes they are horrible! I can't believe people would sell them.
post #10 of 13
Never seen or heard of these, but wow, I'm surprised that they are sold. I think that they are extremely racists.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have no idea why they are being sold, we dont watch kids TV so maybe the old Noddy is being aired again recently...I really dont know. They are definitely the Golliwogs, if they were nice black dolls they wouldnt be offensive. I can ask I suppose, but I'm doubtful any reason would be justifiable though.
post #12 of 13
I can see that they might have very positive nostalgia for some folks, and hopefully they're not intended to be hurtful or degrading. But I think I would have to give someone an earful if I saw them selling them.
They make me think of the primitive black "mammy" dolls that you often see at country style art shows. No bad intentions, just amazingly ignorant!!
post #13 of 13
What's to be nostalgic about? The good old days when we didn't have to hide the fact that we're racist? Yuck!
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