To be shocked by this?

(91 Posts)
malovitt Tue 29-Jan-13 17:19:36

I went to our local council offices today to have a look at a neighbour's planning application.

The planning officer I was dealing with made some small talk about this being her last month as she was coming up for retirement age.

She then took off her cardigan and was clearly wearing a largish (3 inches?) Robinson's Jam Gollywog pendant around her neck.

I couldn't believe my eyes - would this be not frowned upon in most normal working environments? I could hardly bear to speak to her after that and left the building as soon as I could.

Sparklingbrook Tue 29-Jan-13 17:21:26

I would be shocked too. Where would you buy such a thing? How bizarre.

Seabird72 Tue 29-Jan-13 17:24:06

They're collector's items - doesn't mean she's racist - I loved collecting the badges and toys via the tokens and I am not a racist at all - it was all purely innocent for me as I had a golly when I was younger and it was my favourite toy. If you want to call it a Gollywog then fine - I just call them gollies. It's the "Wog" part that's offensive.

RuleBritannia Tue 29-Jan-13 17:27:30

So she was wearing a pendant to work? What has it to do with you what she wears?

Sparklingbrook. Things like that are probably not available these days so the pendant was probably old. Some of my jewellery which I love so won't get rid of is from the sixties. Anyone remember mink earrings? I bought mine at Whitechapel market. Furry earrings. I can't buy clip-on earrings in the shopps these days. My beautiful earrings have to come from charity shops.

EverybodysSnowyEyed Tue 29-Jan-13 17:28:12

My beloved grandfather was a baker so went through a lot of robinsons jam. He used to send me toys with the vouchers - badges, little statuettes etc. I always saw them in te same way as you see a teletubby - I never really got that they were supposed to be people.

I still have them because they remind me of my grandad. I don't display them round the house or wear one to work though!

ComposHat Tue 29-Jan-13 17:28:29

It wouldn't have been my first choice of accesory, but to imply that she was a card carrying racist from that and be so disgusted that you could hardly talk to her is a huge leap.

If it had been a Swaztika or a BNP badge then yes you would be justified in making that assumption.

DrHolmes Tue 29-Jan-13 17:30:32

Everyone thinks Golliwoggs are a symbol of racism..they are not! They were created as as a term of endearment/childhood tradition. I have never understood the backlash. Just because there is a black doll? Surely you are more racist to think there shouldn't be any black dolls and kids should have only had white dolls? Ridiculous!

"British jam manufacturer James Robertson & Sons used a golliwog called Golly as its mascot from 1910, after John Robertson apparently saw children playing with golliwog dolls in America"... oh how...terrible hmm

Sparklingbrook Tue 29-Jan-13 17:31:05

Yes, actually I remember now-sending off for things from Robinsons. I very much doubt she is wearing it to make any sort of statement at all other than she likes it. Bit ill judged though-but I doubt it has crossed her mind.

LessMissAbs Tue 29-Jan-13 17:33:09

I could hardly bear to speak to her after that and left the building as soon as I could

Gosh! Hope you were all right!

ILoveTIFFANY Tue 29-Jan-13 17:33:20

They can still be bought!

Why 'shocked'? Op

ILoveTIFFANY Tue 29-Jan-13 17:33:51

Over reaction or what!

ApocalypseThen Tue 29-Jan-13 17:34:24

They are an offensive racist caricature, and intended as such. Have them if you want, but don't think you're fooling anyone about their nature or origin. I'm astonished that someone would have sufficiently poor judgement to wear such an item to work, particularly someone working for the public who has dealings with the public. It can only be a calculated statement, in my opinion.

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 29-Jan-13 17:36:37

It's just a little pickaninny doll in blackface! It's not like she's wearing a crucifix or something awful like that.

FWIW, I can see why people find them offensive. I didn't grow up in the UK and I don't have fond childhood memories of them. There were American brands that used the black, "pickaninny" stereotype. One was a popular chain of restaurants called Sambos. When black people said they found it offensive, white people were all "Oh, no! You don't understand! It's just a cute thing/story/picture/ thing that is fond memories from childhood!"

Do black people find them offensive? If so, then maybe it's offensive.

malovitt Tue 29-Jan-13 17:36:56

Thank you ApocalypeThen - my feelings exactly.

LessMissAbs Tue 29-Jan-13 17:40:47

Perhaps its the way the planning officer made small talk to set the scene, (not about the planning application then?) and then swept off her cardigan to reveal the pendant!

I'm picturing this errant employee spending all day taking her caridgan on and off to shock people! Bit like a flasher...perhaps shes demob happy over her forthcoming retirement and has been waiting to do this for years.

Truly terrible.

usualsuspect Tue 29-Jan-13 17:45:17

Awful, why would you wear something so offensive to work?

ApocalypseThen Tue 29-Jan-13 17:45:35

Do black people find them offensive? If so, then maybe it's offensive.

Just use your imagination. Suppose there was a caricature of people who share some of your features designed in a time when people who also shared those features were denied civil rights. Imagine this caricature emphasised the features that set you apart and was associated with stories about simplemindedness and obedience which were considered traits of people like you.

Would you find it offensive, do you think?

Seabird72 Tue 29-Jan-13 17:50:07

It was the Robertsons Jam's trademark for many many years - if they were racist then no way would they have choosen to use a golly as their trademark they would have steered well clear. They changed because they were worried about offending people - back when suddenly anything with the word "black" was deemed racist - Blackboards are racist and Ba Ba Black Sheep........??? Seriously - If people want to be racist then they are racist openly and don't care who they offend or what they say. Those of us who aren't racist are terrified that our little golly badges/necklaces/dolls will get us labelled racists. Do people who think they're racist immediately think KKK on halloween night when they see the little kid in a white sheet?? (and I mean here in the UK)

usualsuspect Tue 29-Jan-13 17:51:30

They are racist.

my dd's have the dolls, quite big ones, my mum bought them, she spent ages specifically looking for them and we cant get rid of them becasue of this, I have no idea why she is not normally strange/offensive/weird. I hate the bloody things and worry so much about upsetting one of dd's friends if they saw them, I try to hide them.
If they offend anyone then they are offensive, simple as, it is not up to me to decide what is or is not racist, it is up to the people who may be upset by these things.
Yanbu to be shocked, very odd.

Porkster Tue 29-Jan-13 17:58:08

Of course they are racist!

As a local govt officer (in possession of a brain), I can't imagine meeting members of the public with a gollywog necklace. I think I'd fear for my job.

ILoveTIFFANY Tue 29-Jan-13 17:58:38

What about doll dressed in national costume?

On the golly doll website there are some... Are they racist too?

And what makes them racist?

malovitt Tue 29-Jan-13 18:02:36

Just a doll? Read this

ComposHat Tue 29-Jan-13 18:14:11

As a local govt officer (in possession of a brain), I can't imagine meeting members of the public with a gollywog necklace. I think I'd fear for my job

Not everyone, especially an older woman who lived/work in a not particularly diverse area of the country, wouldn't be aware that it may be percieved in that way. It doesn't imply she is an active racist, just think of the posters who come on here gobsmacked that 'coloured' or 'half-caste' are outdated and offensive terms.

ComposHat Tue 29-Jan-13 18:15:26

Just a doll? all well and good, but that doesn't prove that this woman is aware of this background.

TheSecondComing Tue 29-Jan-13 18:18:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MMMarmite Tue 29-Jan-13 18:21:24

Oh no, not the gollywog argument again. Yes they are racist and offensive, as explained in malovitt's link which gives their history.

At the very best, she was being unintentionally racist: she might be ignorant of the history, but she still needs to be told to stop wearing this, as it's likely to make black people she comes into contact with feel very uncomfortable and offended.

malovitt Tue 29-Jan-13 18:48:03

She was in a council office in a central London borough - a pretty diverse area of the country, wouldn't you think ComposHat?

I think she forgot she had it on tbh, it hasn't been 'cardi off' weather recently and I'm sure someone would have pulled her up on it had they seen it. Or maybe all her colleagues think it's a innocent dolly from the past.

SolomanDaisy Tue 29-Jan-13 18:52:06

I am very very surprised that the planning officer was allowed to wear it. Many people find them offensive, with good reason. Whatever people's arguments that they're not intended to be offensive, a public servant shouldn't be wearing a controversial potentially racist symbol.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 29-Jan-13 18:52:18

I'd be quite surprised to see one, and while I wouldn't think the wearer was racist, I would think they were seriously misguided.

I used to love my collection of Robinson's golly badges when i was a kid. I even ate the vileness that is marmalade to get tokens to send off quicker.

ApocalypseThen Tue 29-Jan-13 19:51:27

Anyone who expects people to believe that they don't think those dolls are racist is really being very disingenuous. You might think anyone believes you, but nobody does.

ComposHat Tue 29-Jan-13 19:52:49

I'd be quite surprised to see one, and while I wouldn't think the wearer was racist, I would think they were seriously misguided

^^ This

nkf Tue 29-Jan-13 19:53:01

I would have been shocked. Because you would think she had a bit of a brain and some public sector standards.

ubik Tue 29-Jan-13 19:55:22

You can buy them on the BNP website

Yes really

BigGalah Tue 29-Jan-13 20:05:48

Daily Mail reading pensioners take great delight in buying gollies.

Usually for the grandchildren, especially if their daughters-in-law have dangerously liberal ideas on political correctness.

The planning officer is obviously getting a bit of practice in the run up to her retirement, I mean, what are they going to do, sack her?

I'd email lots of people at the council and complain (but then I might be holding onto a teeny bit of resentment about our own little golly fiasco, bloody thing had to live in the bottom of the toybox for years before it was safe to chuck it away without causing MIL-meltdown angry )

TheArmadillo Tue 29-Jan-13 20:09:22

Given that she was working for a local authority AND doubly so that she was dealing with the public face to face she should not have been wearing it and you should be making an official complaint.

Whether or not everyone agrees it should be thought of as racist is irrelevant, the fact is that it is widely accepted that a large amount of the population do find it so, therefore it is unacceptable for her to wear it.

I am genuinely gobsmacked that anyone in the public sector would think this acceptable and can't imagine anyone where I work doing the same even where they thought public opinion was wrong.

SingySongy Tue 29-Jan-13 20:12:01

Suffice to say, if I were her line manager, I would be having a gentle word.

edam Tue 29-Jan-13 20:18:24

I'm surprised anyone working for a council would wear one. I do appreciate some people have fond memories of the Robinson's mascot and never associated it with racism, but the views that count most are those of the victims or targets or likely victims. Best avoided.

SavoyCabbage Tue 29-Jan-13 20:18:30

Perhaps her name is Robertson. A friend of my mothers collected the badges as it was her surname. There is no way she would wear them nowadays and she is over 60. She gets it that it would offend some people.

There are golliwogs abounding in the shops where I live in Australia. I do find them offensive and repellent and I won't shop where they are sold. My sister had one growing up in the 70s (bought by the Robertson lady) and we never gave it a thought.

edam Tue 29-Jan-13 20:20:42

The swastika was originally a Hindu symbol but anyone wearing a swastika necklace to work these days would quite rightly be asked to take it off (unless they work for the BNP, I guess). Same goes for the jam mascot.

whateveritakes Tue 29-Jan-13 20:23:49

Just use your imagination. Suppose there was a caricature of people who share some of your features designed in a time when people who also shared those features were denied civil rights. Imagine this caricature emphasised the features that set you apart and was associated with stories about simplemindedness and obedience which were considered traits of people like you.

Er I have a necklace, a calendar and makeup mirror with 1950's women on them..

Brilliant, whateveritakes!

Yamyoid Tue 29-Jan-13 20:31:03

I'm shocked by people's ignorance on this thread. As ApocolypseThen has said, they are offensive and even if the stupid woman didn't realise, someone senior should have told her why she shouldn't be wearing it.

Greensleeves Tue 29-Jan-13 20:34:19

Of course they are racist and offensive

and if I saw one on a public servant I would complain, while knowing my complaint would probably be fruitless like the jam

JaquelineHyde Tue 29-Jan-13 20:44:05

This argument goes round and round and round on MN, year after year.

Some people find them offensive (black and white), some people don't (black and white).

As someone working in a public facing role the planning officer should not have ever been allowed to take the risk of offending someone with it regardless of how harmless she believes the image to be.

Hardly baring to speak with her and having to leave as soon as possible is a little far fetched OP. Why not express your opinion to the lady in question or make an immediate complaint if it bothered you that much like any normal grown up?

nkf Tue 29-Jan-13 20:50:53

An argument going round and round is basically a definition of MN. And it's a much more worthwhile argument to have than paying bars or whether a TV can be too big. I don't personally believe it's as balanced as that. I think idiots and racists don't find them offensive and sensible people with a sense of history and society do.

Bobbybird40 Tue 29-Jan-13 20:50:59

While they probably are racist, I can't help think that only somebody who was incredibly prissy would be shocked by them.

ApocalypseThen Tue 29-Jan-13 21:40:17

Yeah, you'd have to be prissy to be shocked when someone in a public service role makes a point of showing you their racially-offensive jewellery.

For goodness sake, the only reason it exists is to demean people! Like, get off your high horse and accept that some people like pretending that they don't understand why these dolls are racist. They just like them for some reason that has nothing at all to do with racism, and everything to do eith their love of bygone commercial advertising symbols. And continue to like them after being told that they're racist. For some reason. Probably because jam is just that unbelievably good.

JaquelineHyde Tue 29-Jan-13 21:58:32

So if a black family allows there black children to keep and play with gollies that family are racist idiots?

My definition of an idiot is someone who cannot and will not ever see an argument from the other side just continuing on blindly because they obviously know best.

I see both sides of this argument and agree with parts of both sides. There is a history deeper than the cute little jam logo in this country and the U.S. this is true and to deny or not acknowledge this is foolish, but it is just as foolish to not understand that gollies are not universally acknowledged as a negative stereotype and are very much loved in black and white families around the world.

I get the impression that people wear or display golliwogs with the intention of provoking an arguement. Either an arguement about how they aren't racist or about free speech, of the "it's political correctness gorn mad" type. I really find it difficult to imagine an adult wearing a 3 inch pendant of one for any other reason as a 3 inch pendant of another brand mascot or doll would just look odd.

It is also much easier to believe that things aren't racist when that form of racism isn't ever directed at you.

JaquelineHyde Tue 29-Jan-13 22:02:58

I think the planning officer should not of been wearing the gollie pendant.

However, I don't think anyone and everyone who likes gollies can be labled a raving racist.

quoteunquote Tue 29-Jan-13 22:18:59

Every time these thread come up, I ask those who earnestly defend "Gollies and Gollywogs" as not being offensive,

To go to Southward,Lambeth or Croydon and stand on any street corner and shout it repeatedly,

or walk up to any black police officer and say it,

no one has yet taken up the challenge to do so and report back, which is funny considering how sure people are that it isn't offensive.

Please let me know if anyone wants to take up the challenge as I would love to film it.

one might ask considering it was such a successful marketing campaign for Robinson's, why they dropped it?

www.ferris.edu/JIMCROW/golliwog/

enemiesofreason.co.uk/tag/rod-liddle/page/2/

www.guardian.co.uk/news/2001/aug/23/netnotes.shoppinghttp://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=golliwog

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1092640/Golly-Theyve-junked-jam-Robertsons-axed-144-years-shelves.html

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2034203/Neighbours-war-golliwog-Gran-race-hate-charge-planning-dispute.html

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/21/golliwogs-vile-throwback-tory-mps

www.northlondon-today.co.uk/news.cfm?id=36256

Karoleann Tue 29-Jan-13 22:29:42

I wouldn't have given it a second thought and I lived n London for 16 years. I loved collecting gollies when I was little too.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 29-Jan-13 22:33:42

They just like them for some reason that has nothing at all to do with racism, and everything to do eith their love of bygone commercial advertising symbols. And continue to like them after being told that they're racist. For some reason.

I liked them because collecting and sending off tokens then getting a badge in the post is fun when you are 8/9/10. But mainly, I liked all the different outfits blush

Jesus wept!

Lovesabadboy Tue 29-Jan-13 22:51:26

I have a black friend and when I went to visit her on one occasion I was surprised to see, on prominent display, in her dining room, not one, but two Gollies.
Clearly she does not have a problem with them at all and is far from trying to provoke an argument!
As someone upthread said, some people find them offensive (black and white), some people don't (black and white).

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 29-Jan-13 23:17:22

Lovesabadboy, I used to tend bar in the US at a real working class sort of sports bar. These builders would come in as a group and drink and watch football. One guy in the group was black. It was sort of a running joke with the group that they'd call him all sorts of racist things, including the N-word. He'd just sit there and laugh. I guess he wasn't offended.

So, you know, I knew a black guy who didn't find it offensive to be called a N*****. That doesn't mean it's not a racist word.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Tue 29-Jan-13 23:32:30

I've seen more of them around in the last year or so, lots of shops selling Golly Dolls, keyings etc. I went to a toy trade fair and there was a whole stand dedicated to them.

Harriet35 Tue 29-Jan-13 23:35:47

She was probably a member of the KKK. She should be sacked and shamed in public for her behaviour. And lose her gold-plated council pension.

On the other hand, maybe it was just a pendent. Everyone loved the Gollywogs back in the day, including black people. It's just ridiculous ultra PC types today that get all het up about them.

usualsuspect Tue 29-Jan-13 23:37:43

It's just ignorant and stupid people that think they are ok.

ApocalypseThen Tue 29-Jan-13 23:42:48

So, you know, I knew a black guy who didn't find it offensive to be called a N****. That doesn't mean it's not a racist word.*

Well, the other thing is he might have known from experience that (as we see on this thread), many people are very defensive about their right to use racist words and display racist symbols, regardless of how anyone else might feel. He may have concluded that it wasn't worth the hassle, because reading this thread, he could be talking to the wall.

Racists are none too bright, and certainly don't think that any consideration is more important than displaying pigshit thick ignoance in the most cretinous manner possible.

I don't have a problem with gollies (but then I'm not black) and op's reaction does seem a bit melodramatic. Really? You were desperate to leave the building? A bit over the top.

Having said that I think for someone working with the public it was a stupidly insensitive item to wear. Whether or not she is racist is actually irrelevant. She has made a member of the public feel uncomfortable. Perhaps a rationally worded email to your councillor, even without naming the officer in question asking that all staff be reminded of cultural sensitivities would be appropriate.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 29-Jan-13 23:56:26

who does not know that they can and often do cause offence. Everyone knows not everyone cares

times change, society changes move on it is thankfully no longer acceptable to cause offence just because when you were young it was differently

no one is going to die if the can not wear their golly necklace

sparklyjumper Wed 30-Jan-13 00:01:19

I used to have a golly and em and df said I had to change his name as his name had a naughty word. We drew names out of a hat and golly was to be called James! Sorry bit of nostalgia there.

Boomerwang Wed 30-Jan-13 00:07:44

I would think it in bad taste, certainly. Proud she may be of her collection, but it should remain in her home.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 30-Jan-13 00:09:29

So, OP... you were that bothered that you only left as soon as you could... didn't ask to speak to anybody else instead and didn't challenge this woman on her choice of adornment?

No? Just faux outrage then... If you were truly bothered, you'd do something about it, not just start an impotent thread on a chatboard. hmm

RafflesWay Wed 30-Jan-13 00:12:09

I absolutely adored Gollies as a child and much preferred one to Tiny Tears, Sindy and Tressy. Golly was most definitely the favourite with me. Crikey didn't realize how racist I was beinghmm Ridiculous! However, I don't think the pendant was appropriate from a professional perspective. And I loved collecting the Robertson jam tokens for the badges as did most children of my era. I also have black, white and Far eastern friends and colleagues and admire and care for them all equally.

Startail Wed 30-Jan-13 00:12:26

I still have my Robinson's apron, it was my school cookery one. lots of happy memories.

I have put it in a safe place as I don't want to offend anyone.

like the memories it belongs to another place and time.
(30+ years ago in the least ethically mixed corner of rural Wales you could imagine. The only black people Id ever met were the lovely lads at Birmingham ice rink who picked you up when you fell over).

It's not hanging up in my kitchen and I definitely wouldn't wear it in the work place.

When I was little I was given a Golly and I loved it, I played with it along with my teddies and dollies (and he wasn't naughty or the bad character in my games). I still have a Golly, in a box in the attic. I still love it as it reminds me of something I loved and the person who gave it to me. However I haven't given it to my dd to play with and it isn't on display because while it might have positive meaning for me that obviously isn't the same for everyone and I don't want to offend people.

If a significant section of society is offended by Golliwogs they are, by definition, offensive so professional people should respond accordingly and not wear them to work. Common sense I would have thought.

Still love my Golly though.

DoJo Wed 30-Jan-13 12:02:25

Pendants aren't racist - people are.

I've just looked on ebay....there are pages and pages of gollywog stuff on there.

FairyJen Wed 30-Jan-13 12:16:53

I don't find them offensive and not do I know anyone who does.

I find this all ridiculous quite frankly she is entitled to wear whatever she fucking wants you the one with the problem with it. People find tattoes offensive should they have to peel their skin so as not to offend?

The world is going pc mad if you ask me. And as for it bein racist is it not a racist assumption that will offend people as your basically saying "don't talk about or show the black person the gollywog as it will upset them" which means your basically making an assumption about them base on the colour of their skin!

Boomerwang Wed 30-Jan-13 13:31:18

Lying what exactly could she have done? She could tell the woman what she thinks of her necklace and I bet the woman would spout back a load of guff. Then what? OP has to deal with this woman as she's the planning officer. If I needed her services I'd probably leave it until the end to point out that she's wearing an offensive symbol around her neck and that I don't expect to see it when she's at work again, but it won't actually make her do anything, will it?

LessMissAbs Wed 30-Jan-13 13:33:52

I'm shocked at someone wearing such a strange pendant. The sheer sartorial choice...what an odd thing to wear. How does a gollywog motif get on a pendant in the first place, and why would you put it there? Do people actually manufacture these things, or was it homemade?

I'm off to have a look on ebay too. Sounds vile I can hardly believe such things exist and people even pay money for them!

malovitt Wed 30-Jan-13 18:11:05

Thanks FairyJen, what a thoughtful and articulate post.

Lying - no faux outrage - I'm usually the first one to speak up in a situation like this, but I was one of a group of fellow neighbours there who would have been furious with me for derailing the meeting. This woman is dealing with something that is very important to them AND she is in the last few weeks of her career of over thirty years with the council. I genuinely think she forgot she had it on. Had I been alone, I would have said something, and if I have the chance of seeing her again, I will.

Interesting responses though!

Bobbybird40 Wed 30-Jan-13 18:25:36

Say what malovitt? She's an ageing woman wearing a relic of a bygone era. She probably has no idea it is offensive - and, tbf, it is people choosing to being offended rather than genuine offence lets face it. So say what to her? Tell her she is racist? She is offensive? Seriously, where do people like you get off constantly looking for offence in absolutely bloody everything. Why can't you just live and let live FFs.

JaquelineHyde Wed 30-Jan-13 20:53:08

I have told DH that he is an ignorant racist for owning and displaying with pride on the top of the shelves in our bedroom his very own golly.

I have also told him to ring his mother and brothers and sister and make sure they are aware how ignorant and racist they are for not finding these dolls offensive.

I do this everytime this discussion comes up on MN and everytime he laughs a lot and then he laughs some more.

Just to explain DH is a black Zimbabwean imigrant who has been on the recieving end of plenty of racism in this country and in Zimbabwe.

PessaryPam Wed 30-Jan-13 20:55:33

Obviously OP she should have been removed from post and stripped of her pension. How very dare her.

cumfy Wed 30-Jan-13 21:45:03

<Waiting for golliwog tattoo AIBU>wink

Writehand Wed 30-Jan-13 22:10:56

My parents gave my DSG a ragdoll from Martinique that resembles a Robinson's Golly, only in a dress. It's reversible - one way up she's going to market, the other she's in her best. It was created by black locals to sell to tourists of any old colour.

Sensitivities vary with geography -- Americans see things very differently because of slavery, the civil rights movement and their huge racial issues. Although we were involved with the slave trade there weren't any slaves in the UK, and our attitude to Robinson's Gollies was far more innocent.

I remember being read Little Black Sambo. He was an Indian boy. They don't have wild tigers or ghee (both of which feature heavily) in Africa. Or America. And of course he was the total hero of the book, which people seem to forget.

RuleBritannia Wed 30-Jan-13 22:11:25

Can't reember exactly where I saw it on the internet but there's a group of knitters who have created 'knitted pageants' of dolls. Hand knitted for a charity or museum or exhibition of some sort -- can't remember what--.. Some of them have brown or black faces. Surely they are golliwogs? No-one's making a fuss there.

For heaven's sake!

MrsDeVere Wed 30-Jan-13 22:18:19

A brown knitted doll is not a gollywog.

I have made dolls that look like my DD. They are beautiful.
They do not have googly eyes, great gaping mouths and nappy heads.

A gollywog is very different from a brown/black doll.

MrsDeVere Wed 30-Jan-13 22:21:55

That may be so Jaqueline but my OH is a very laid back sort of bloke. Show him a golly and tell him its a bit of fun and you will see a very different side of him.

So who wins? The black bloke from London who hates them, for whom they provoke anger and trigger memories of years of abuse and name calling?

Or you OH who thinks they are fine?

Dawndonna Wed 30-Jan-13 22:40:31

The world is going pc mad if you ask me Nobody is, thank goodness.
The same old shite from people who are scared. PC mad is used to defend what is wrong, it's an excuse because those using it not allowed to say what they would like to.
A Golliwog is racist. Whether worn with racist intent or not, it should not be publicly displayed, it is rude and offensive.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Wed 30-Jan-13 22:49:04

As usual with kind of threads there is half that find it offensive and half that don't. No one wins.

I find page 3 offensive and despite signing petitions etc it's still out there isn't it. You could say 'don't look then' but that could be said to the OP about the golly pendant. I think we all have to accept that we will have to live with offensive things/behaviour no matter how we try to challenge it. That's life.

JaquelineHyde Thu 31-Jan-13 14:30:08

MrsDeVere you have helped demonstrate my exact point. Thank you.

My DH would never ever wave his gollie around in front of anyone who he knew was sensitive to its image or whom he thought might be sensitive to it, which is why it sits in our bedroom quite happily and is why the DC's gollies were never taken out in the pram etc as we would hate to offend anyone.

This is why I said in my very first post and several afterwards that the planning officer should have never worn her pendant to work.

However, I will not believe for one minute that anyone who owns or like gollies in any form is an ignorant racist who deserves to be wiped off the face of the earth. Which is unfortunately the opinion that is coming accross on this thread by several naive posters who like to think they know it all and over the years on these threads have constantly refused to see the other side of the argument, throwing insults around with ease.

For what it's worth there are many totally innocent words, phrases and items in use in the UK to day that you and I and your DH probably use/own without a second thought but that are highly offensive to my DH due to them being used in an utterly racist manner in Zimbabwe. Yet still my DH doesn't run around screaming ignorant racist in the face of anyone using such items/words because he understands that there are cultural (and passage of time) differences at play.

Why is this so difficult to understand and accept?

MrsDeVere Thu 31-Jan-13 15:21:14

I don't think anyone has says the woman needs to be wiped off the face of the earth did they?

The argument is that they are a symbol of racism and should not be worn in public office and that they are not the harmless dolly that some people insist they are.

Your husband suffered abuse but where Gollies a big part of Zimbabwean culture when he was growing up?

Me and OH are in our mid 40s. If you were a black children growing up in London in the 70s gollies may have very different connotations from a person growing up in a predominately black country.

My OH is second generation West Indian. He was one of only a couple of black kids in his school apart from his siblings. Gollies were used to mock and insult.

I do not know one single person in our position who would have given these monstrosities to there children. I am amazed that you did that.

For us that would be like putting them in a babygro with swastikas on it.

Why is that so difficult for you to understand and accept?

Bobbybird40 Thu 31-Jan-13 16:57:47

Mrsdevere they are a symbol of racism for some people but with the best will in the world, to compare them with swastikas is slightly ott - and I suspect you know that. I also strongly suspect that only those people with strong PC leanings would be offended by a doll - and even then I would question whether they genuinely were offended or were just trying to impose their liberal, sterile view of the world onto others.

MrsDeVere Thu 31-Jan-13 17:19:17

I disagree with you.

Please do not attempt to tell me what I really think. How odd that you would think you could do that confused

In my family, we would be as likely to put a golly in our child's pram as we would be to put them in a babygro with swastikas on it. How can you possibly tell me that that is not true?

People who are offended by gollywogs are only saying they are, they don't really mean it? Bizarre.

Strong PC leanings = I don't agree with your ideals so I want to find a label in order to discredit them. I won't try very hard, mind. I will just pull out this old chestnut out of the bag.

JaquelineHyde Thu 31-Jan-13 19:32:56

confused you are amazed I gave my beautiful mixed race childrern a golly doll that matched their black Zimbabwean fathers much loved golly?

Why would this shock you?

Did you read any of my last post about how we understand the connotations the dolls have in this country and how that is the reason why the planning official should not have been wearing her pendant.

Did you read how I explained that Gollys are not offensive to my DH or any of his family and in fact they are just normal, much loved dolls.

I also thought I made it quite clear that there are many things that are considered normal in this country that are horribly offensive to my DH due to the racism he has suffered. However, as a reasonable man he understands that these things are not offensive here and so he just accepts things for what they are, innocent and in no way racist.

I have said from the begining that I/we understand, accept, appreciate and sympathise with the feelings of some people towards these dolls, this is not in any way in question.

Is it so hard for you to see it from the other side as well or is it a case of you are right and anyone who doesn't agree with you is wrong?

EldritchCleavage Thu 31-Jan-13 19:55:12

Everyone thinks Golliwoggs are a symbol of racism..they are not! They were created as as a term of endearment/childhood tradition hahahahaha, as if!

Although we were involved with the slave trade there weren't any slaves in the UK Of course there were. Not in great numbers like the Americas, but there certainly were. When Lord Mansfield declared in 1772 that slavery was not recognised by the English common law, Wikipedia says:

As a result of Mansfield's decision between 14,000 and 15,000 slaves were immediately freed, some of whom remained with their masters as paid employees.The decision was apparently not immediately followed; Africans were still hunted and kidnapped in London, Liverpool and Bristol to be sold elsewhere, and Mansfield was so uncertain about how it would be applied that he specified in his will that his "mulatto" great-niece Dido Elizabeth Belle was to be considered a free woman

There's no citation for the 14,000 to 15,000 figure though.

St. Giles in London (hard by Centrepoint) was the ghetto where escaped slaves used to hide out. They often sought sanctuary in St. Giles Churchyard.

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