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To assume someone who has a gollywog from childhood is racist?

(371 Posts)
InigoTaran Sat 19-Aug-17 00:05:08

Me and my partner are currently having a discussion about this and he wants to know whether it's true that black people associate gollywogs with racism...?

echt Sat 19-Aug-17 00:06:42

Your title says one thing, your OP another. Which bit do you want addressed?

MrsOverTheRoad Sat 19-Aug-17 00:08:16

echt you get the gist surey?

I think they're unaccaptable because black people think that.

That's enough for me.

Orangebird69 Sat 19-Aug-17 00:09:58

Yabu. I know they're not the done thing now but when I was little, my grandparents had a woollen gollywog doll and I loved it! It was just the little man from the Robertsons marmalade jar in my mind. The specific colour of him didn't actually register. It was just made of black wool.

EnidColeslaw771 Sat 19-Aug-17 00:10:54

This old chestnut.

echt Sat 19-Aug-17 00:11:44

No, I don't get the gist, that's why I asked the question. I'd like to know more about the childhood golliwog scenario.

Also, thinking that black people associate golliwogs with racism does not equate to the golliwog hoarding person being racist. That's why I asked.

ihatethecold Sat 19-Aug-17 00:13:04

I'm brown. I used to collect gollywog pins from jam jar labels when I was a kid.
I'm not racist!

squoosh Sat 19-Aug-17 00:13:24

If they displayed them prominently in their home or were keen for their own child to be seen playing with a Gollywog when out and about I'd certainly have my suspicions.

If someone had held on to one for sentimental reasons (gift from a now deceased relative) I wouldn't necessarily assume they were racist.

Golliwogs are most definitely associated with racism though.

BadPolicy Sat 19-Aug-17 00:13:40

I think it's a big leap from childhood toy to racist. If someone collected them as an adult I would certainly raise an eyebrow, but not one old toy.

ITCouldBeWorse Sat 19-Aug-17 00:13:49

In isolation, a golly is just a simple rag doll and I know a few people who are still fond of them viewing them as creatures like teddies rather than as human dolls.

However we do not live in isolation and many people don't view them as harmless in the same way that a swastika is not just a geometrical shape.

I actually think lots of non racist people think they are harmless because they don't see them negatively, but they need to be sensitive to history.

tethersend Sat 19-Aug-17 00:13:53

Golliwogs are racist. It's not just black people who think so. Although I'm sure someone will be along soon with tales of how their black friend doesn't think they're racist at all.

Children rarely are.

I'm pretty sure this child didn't agree with the annihilation of 6 million Jewish people, but the book remains pretty racist.

HTH.

WorraLiberty Sat 19-Aug-17 00:14:15

A simple Google will answer your question about Golliwogs and racism, OP.

You really are asking two different questions here.

echt Sat 19-Aug-17 00:14:17

Spot on, squoosh.

Notknownatthisaddress Sat 19-Aug-17 00:14:31

biscuit

SylviaPoe Sat 19-Aug-17 00:15:15

The only way that the OP would know if someone else had a golliwog was if they were going around flaunting it, unless she's a cat burglar.

sandgrown Sat 19-Aug-17 00:18:10

I collected the gollywogs from Robertson's jam jars. I still have a collection of pot gollywogs I sent for. There is no way I associate them with black people and racism. They were just jolly little men who advertised jam and happened to be black.

Liiinoo Sat 19-Aug-17 00:19:14

I had a much loved gollywog in about 1966. He looked so unlike any of the black people I knew I didn't even realise he was meant to represent a black person.

Roll on 10 years to 76/77 when I was a teenager, my beloved golly had gone the way of most other childhood toys. I had become aware of the racist significance of the doll and have never missed it or sought to replace it. So I do think your DP is wrong - owning a gollywog 50 years ago did not make me a racist, then or now. It was however an indication that I was growing up in a racist society and I thank god for the progress we have made.

mnaab Sat 19-Aug-17 00:21:18

I have a relative with a gollywog. not an old one but a new(ish) one. they did start doing them again at one point (I can't remember exactly when). this relative has it because they remember gollywogs fondly from their childhood.

I'm not comfirtable with it but this person insists on keeping it

WinterIsComingKnitFaster Sat 19-Aug-17 00:21:35

A person of age 60+ who still kept their own treasured childhood golly is not necessarily racist. Beyond that the balance of probabilities shifts.

NoqontroI Sat 19-Aug-17 00:21:43

I've got one. It's hidden away in the cupboard. I can't bring myself to throw it away because it is so old, and it was a gift from my mother when I was really small. But I can't bring myself to look at it either, let alone display it. It's like a bad secret in the cupboard shock

echt Sat 19-Aug-17 00:22:02

I collected the gollywogs from Robertson's jam jars. I still have a collection of pot gollywogs I sent for. There is no way I associate them with black people and racism. They were just jolly little men who advertised jam and happened to be black.

The way things work though is that your perceptions aren't the only ones. Times have moved on, and things that were done in innocence back in the day because of the different values of the time, are now considered offensive.

ITCouldBeWorse Sat 19-Aug-17 00:24:32

Exactly liinoo - I thought as a child it was some kind of character rather than a person, because no-one looked like that!

I did have black and mixed race friends but they did not look like gollies, so I never made a connection.

We never called them golliwogs as we knew 'w*gs' was a rude word not to be used, but thought it was a coincidence. I was quite a dim child!

WorraLiberty Sat 19-Aug-17 00:25:51

The only way that the OP would know if someone else had a golliwog was if they were going around flaunting it, unless she's a cat burglar.

Going around flaunting their Golliwog? grin grin

Please do elaborate because the mental image I have in my head is hilarious.

Right now, they've got it perched on the baby seat in their shopping trolley, whilst perusing the frozen veg aisle in Tesco...

SylviaPoe Sat 19-Aug-17 00:29:05

Well, we would need the OP to come back and explain how exactly she came to know of the toy in question.

There's a ghost story somewhere in that tale of the one secretly hidden in the cupboard by Noqontrol.

Mum2OneTeen Sat 19-Aug-17 00:29:14

I used to love my little woollen golliwog last century sad but just because something was okay in the past doesn't make it acceptable now. Moral change & evolve with the times.

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