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Is racism acceptable in predominantly white areas then?

(201 Posts)
beansprout Sat 02-Jul-05 20:07:55

Have just been to Lyme Regis for my holiday. Was utterly shocked to repeatedly see golliwogs for sale in toy shops and at craft fairs but the piece de resistance was surely being in a book shop and seeing a book called "The Little Black Sambo" for sale. This was a children's book, which somehow made it worse. I told the manager I was very offended by this but she was incredibly ignorant. She started off by saying "are you black?" (I'm not) so I explained that I don't have to be black to be offended by racism.

To cut a long story short she was adamant that the book was fine and I was the one being ignorant (?!). She was very defensive and absolutely refused to acknowledge what I was saying.

I was born and live in London. You just wouldn't see this stuff here but is it really normal in other areas? Am interested to know!!

Tissy Sat 02-Jul-05 20:12:26

I've seen Little Black Sambo for Sale in Glasgow! We had the book (and the others in the series) when I was a child. I don't think the story itself is offensive, but the illustrations might be considered to be so.

Dh also had the book as a child, and one of dd's favourite ways to get off to sleep is to have dh telling her the story with LOTS of embellishments- eg descriptions of LBS's underwear, sunglasses, backpack etc.

WideWebWitch Sat 02-Jul-05 20:18:52

It's one of the reasons I left Devon beansprout. Racism is, imo, more likely in predominantly white areas and Devon is 99.9% white (that's from the Devon cc website, I looked it up when we lived there). I moved there from London and was very shocked at a lot of the attitudes tbh, not just the racism. I'm relieved to be back in a multi cultural city. My hairdresser in London, who is black, said he couldn't believe how much he was stared at on holiday in Cornwall. <sigh>

beansprout Sat 02-Jul-05 20:24:44

WWW - glad you understand. It left me feeling really uncomfortable. We want to move out of London but I couldn't live somewhere where I would be "odd" to find that offensive!

Enid Sat 02-Jul-05 20:33:48

I thought little black sambo had been renamed the story of little babaji - it must have been a second hand copy?

I live near Lyme and I don't notice people being particularly racist but then I hang out with a pretty arty, tolerant crowd. There are lots of older people in that area so I guess they haven't caught up with modern thinking just yet.

Enid Sat 02-Jul-05 20:34:15




I have never seen one in a shop ever.

beansprout Sat 02-Jul-05 20:35:45

Unfortunately not Enid. It was a brand new copy in the book shop on the High Street.
I'm not for a moment suggesting everyone in Lyme is racist but I was shocked that this sort of thing is obviously tolerated.

Enid Sat 02-Jul-05 20:39:14

well I think its widely available - I am sure you can get it in London too.

Enid Sat 02-Jul-05 20:40:34

in fact it is on the Waterstones web site.

not picking holes but I don't think you can judge a town by this book which although pretty un-pc is widely available nationally.

HappyMumof2 Sat 02-Jul-05 20:40:47

Message withdrawn

beansprout Sat 02-Jul-05 20:41:25

I would be amazed if you can. I live in a very mixed area and it really would be seen as offensive. Will keep an eye out though!

HappyMumof2 Sat 02-Jul-05 20:42:08

Message withdrawn

popsycal Sat 02-Jul-05 20:42:43

I read it as a child and have seen it in shops up in the north east

Enid Sat 02-Jul-05 20:42:49

yes I would doubt they would display it in a very mixed race area it is true.

actually I remember I have seen it in my local bookshop but remembered it fondly as I loved it when I was little

beansprout Sat 02-Jul-05 20:43:14

Enid - I did say that I don't assume that everyone in Lyme is racist!! Not for a moment!!! My judgement of Lyme is that it is a lovely place with a dodgy bookshop manager!!

Pinotmum Sat 02-Jul-05 20:43:20

I thought it was the name gollywog that was offensive not the actual doll. You can buy them anywhere but they are called gollys usually.

Enid Sat 02-Jul-05 20:44:19

yes you are probably right

crap cafes too

although can I plug the Blue Lias Gallery as being a lovely place

beansprout Sat 02-Jul-05 20:44:24

I used to have a Noddy book where the golliwogs took him into the woods and stole his car and clothes. They (quite rightly) don't print it now.

madmarchhare Sat 02-Jul-05 20:44:27

To answer your initial question beansprout, I dont think it is. I think your experience here, could be down to ignorance towards other peoples feelings, but not in a malicious way IYSIM.

HappyMumof2 Sat 02-Jul-05 20:44:39

Message withdrawn

beansprout Sat 02-Jul-05 20:45:09

Blue Lias is fab - am currently wearing some rather lovely ear rings I bought there!!!

hercules Sat 02-Jul-05 20:45:20

I would live to live in Devon again, www, but dont for the same reasons you've stated.

Enid Sat 02-Jul-05 20:45:49

ah all is right with the world

I work with them quite often and love it there

madmarchhare Sat 02-Jul-05 20:46:14

If they are called gollys, I dont see the problem. Is it OK to sell a white skinned doll?

starlover Sat 02-Jul-05 20:47:01

agree with pinotmum... i also thought that it was the NAME golliwog that was deemed offensive.

i see no problem with the doll itself...

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