golliwog doll

In laws have bought my 6month old son a golliwog doll for xmas . I have said I don't want it in our house because I think its a symbol of racism and I don't want him associated with it. am I right or being over sensative? just doesn't feel right to me.


  • Its from a time gone by..

  • Each to his own where kids are invlved you do what you think is right anyway. For what it's worth it's only a symbol of racism if you think that way 

  • Quite apart from what it represents, they're also quite ugly things...

  • It represents a stuffed toy and most stuffed toys are ugly

  • I would say over-sensitive but then as Barkles says, these were common when he and I were lads - Robertson's jam used the golliwog as it's brand image back in the 50's and 60's (probably before as well) and the dolls were part of that branding.

    tbh - I'm surprised they even found a golliwog doll to buy as I wouldn't have though they were made in these more "enlightend" days.  perhaps it's a collector's item??  if so, take it - it might be worth something in the future...image

    google "Black and White Minstrel Show" if you'e not aware of it - that's what we had to watch on TV in the 50's and 60's.  unfuckingbelievable.....

  • I think you know that's rather a naive view EKGO.

  • FB, they were on sale in Monmouth recently!!

  • This has always baffled me slightly. It's a doll. It's black. What's the problem?

  • you have fairly obviously done the right thing.

    a strange choice of gift though. i can't believe that the in-laws are not aware of the racial connotations of the golliwog doll, so why choose that out of a million possible options for a present?

    are they making a barely-veiled political statement? rage against political correctness?

    regardless of the rights and wrongs of golliwog dolls, its pretty appalling to use a 6-month old boy to illustrate some sort of half-baked sociological point.

  • They first appeared in children's books in 1895, I understand, and were based on black and white minstrel characters. Now, I understand social mores were different at the time, but there is quite clearly a racist element behind the depiction of black people.

  • Don't think its a political statement. Robinson's jam removed it as symbol due to the uproar in the early nineties and at one point it was illegal to display the image. Obviously not anymore. it came off eastgate market in ingoldmells.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    More disturbingly, I will probably have nightmares tonight because I've managed to find one that looks like Ken Dodd.



  • sarah - The Golliwog represents a symbol of racism. they are a ridiculous caricature (admittedly so are other dolls) with frizzy hair, white staring eyes and paws instead of hands. to my knowledge it's based on a horrible 19th century storybook character by Florence Upton who was roughly treated and ridiculed by his playmates.

    aside from any historical context however, it is not about what i think and it is not about what you think.

    i'd say a significant number of black people find golliwog dolls offensive, and therefore common politeness should stop us from reproducing their icon where possible, and certainly not normalizing them as presents for children who cannot know better.

  • runningowl - if it isn't a political statement, then what? why give that? they cannot be unaware of the offense it might cause. are they just stupid?

  • I find Barbie dolls offensive, and I'm fairly certain I could find plenty of people who agree with me. I'm not calling for them to be banned though.

    And I'd be amazed if the doll was given to make a political statement, that just seems utterly absurd. It's a doll. It happens to be black. I wouldn't find it offensive, and I'm not going to presuppose offence on someone else's behalf. As you say, lots of dolls are caricatures. Surely it's a greater example of racism to say you can't have a black doll?


  • Should all red heads be protesting against this sort of thing? Stereotypically frizzy hair, freckles, etc. It shouldn't be normalized!





  • bizarre thing to buy to be honest - forget the racist angle but its an old fashioned toy - whats wrong with an iggle piggle or peppa pig???!!

    Now if its some authentic antique thats going to fetch thousands when your little one is grown up then let them look after it.
  • Barkles wrote (see)

    FB, they were on sale in Monmouth recently!!

    that's Monmouth for you mate....image

    but perhaps let's not get too over-sensitive here - these dolls are probably made by some nigg....coloured person....  image

  • no, because nobody is saying you can't have a black doll. are all black dolls gollliwogs? no.

    this is a Golliwog doll, which has strong cultural and hstorical associations with the subjugation of black people, and that is what we are discussing.

    As I said, regardless of the rights and wrongs, the doll does cause offense to people, something the in-laws could not possibly have been unaware of. Imagine if the wee boy took the doll into nursery. right or wrong, it would cause offense, which places a small child in a very awkward position which they could not have been aware of.

    whether it's politically correct nonsense or not, it isnt fair on the child. if the parent wants to parade a golliwog doll around that is their business as a free adult, but the child cannot exercise that choice.

  • re the ginger doll. that is up to ginger-haired people. as far as I am aware they aren't offended. if they are, then we can have a thread discussion about that. but they aren't so we arent.

    the offensiveness of the doll is slightly irrelevant. the real point i'm making is: is it an appropriate present? the in-laws could have chosen any doll/toy they wanted in the world. anything. but they didn't. they chose something they knew could cause offence. rightly, or wrongly, that was a dumb thing to do.

  • tda - what would be your view if the parents were black and they were buying the doll for their black child??   would a gollowig doll be viewed by them as stereotyping??  

    I don't have kids so can't pass comment, but I'm pretty sure that it must be very disheartening, and somewhat also racist, if black parents can only buy white dolls??  I can't honestly say that I've seen a black doll (not that I've looked hard) since the passing of the orginal golliwogs dolls

    at the end of the day, it's a doll and a 6 month old child won't be bothered with the colour 

  • i'd stick it in the attic in case it's worth something in a few years - that's if it's an original. if it's a new toy, then it's worth nothing, and i'd bin it. I'm not saying everyone should bin it, i'm saying I would bin it, or perhaps give it back to the inlaws with a polite explanation of why I think it is inappropriate. plus I think they're ugly dolls anyway.

    either way, he's your child and until he's old enough to make these sort of judgements for himself, you're within your rights to decide what is and isn't appropriate for him.

  • FB - my view would be that it's utterly bizarre image

    as regards your general point, it isn't about the colour of the doll. my neice has a black doll and so do many in her nursery. that isn't offensive in the least, nor is it banned. it is this particular type of doll that causes offence.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Come on fb, it takes two seconds to do google image search on "black doll" and ignore the freaky scary results!  Golliwogs are another matter entirely...

    I'm with the dude on this - it's one thing to address taboo subjects in the name of mature debate but we're talking about a toy for a baby.  What's wrong with a nice teddy bear?!

  • I am not saying he can't have a black doll, that wouldnt have been an issue, The golliwog is a symbol of an idiot which Victorians believed coloured people to be. thick and uneducated. dont forget it wasnt till the 50s when west indians arrived that britain got an ethnic element. before then they were poorly paid and sometimes mistreated servants. Even upto the 80s there was a strong racist element even in this country, 80s tv shows this with rising damp etc. in the 90s we as a nation became more enlightened and symbols like the golliwog were disposed of. The accepted term is now gollidolls but doesn't make the symbol right.

    Sarah, I can see the problem with barbies ie skinny but seen as dumb and blonde. All girls dolls have freckles as it is supposed to be a sign of beauty.
  • I have kids and I can tell you there are plenty of black, non-golliwog dolls around.

  • a golliwog doll is different to a black doll..if its a black doll i would find that totally acceptable.....

    a goliwog doll is not........it was term that was use as a offensive phrase and it is wrong to use it in these more enlighrtened day....s..........it is associated with the whole time of racism.....

    i would not allow one in my house

  • I'd bin it - doesn't surprise me they got it from Ingoldmells that place is as close to hell on earth you'll get - had to drop my daughter and her mates off there this Summer for a day in that big funfair place there is there - I felt like I should really have a couple of tattoos, take my shirt off and walk round with a lager just to fit in - it's like visiting the City Ground by the sea.    

  • Do young children really know the difference between a golliwog and a black doll ? I doubt they will search on the internet to find the history of the golliwog and then tell their parents they dont want to play with it. In my opinion, a young child will not know the difference and just play with a golliwog in the same way they would a black doll. The fact that some people would make such a fuss of it, and they are entitled to their views, just means that racisim is still discussed.  

  • popsider wrote (see)

    - it's like visiting the City Ground by the sea.    

    Pie or shagger ?

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