golliwog doll



  • do young children know the difference in calling a person a black man or a nigger......probably not..........but i would definitely think one is wrong and would stop them using that word

  • I would not want my child to play with a golliwog doll, and I wouldn't want to own one. I think runningowl and the dude abides have summed up my what I feel about them. I know plenty of people who would be eager to say that there is no harm in them because they were around when they were kids, but then so was asbestos.

  • True story - when we were kids we had a couple of genuine wartime armbands with swastikas on them - no idea where they came from (neither of my parents are nazis - not to my knowledge anyway - I think it's just the kind of things that got brought back from the war and somehow found there way into our dressing up box as they do) and we had no idea what they really symbolised we just used them for playing war with.   I wouldn't suggest it's OK to buy a young kid nazi regalia th ough - neither is it OK to buy them a golliwog.   

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    I'm scared of dolls so regardless of its in black/white/ginger - it'd scare me.

  • Yes, there are plenty of black dolls around and of course there is no problem with children of any background playing with them! Rooti Dolls were in the news this week as the company said want to promote a healthier self-image amoung young black children by providing dolls that they can identify with.

    But a golliwog isn't a 'black doll' in my opinion, it's a lazy, racist, stereotype masquerading as a children's toy.

  • My daughter is scared of her old favourite doll after her brother showed her a trailer for Childs Play on youtube.   

  • I had no idea a golliwog was racist when I was a kid.  I didnt see any link to it being human at all.  It was just a golliwog. And gonks were just gonks.  Aah simpler times.

  • I totally agree xine267. It's just that someone asked if there were 'ordinary' black dolls - there are plenty! The golliwog is, as you say, a lazy racist stereotype from another era.

  • I think Golliwogs are an interesting part of British history but I do think we shouldn't be making them and selling them today. You can find one quite easily in the Isle of Wight(White). An elderly relative bought one for my daughter and we flatly refused to except it. There are plenty more nicer things for them to buy like the measles and the common cold.
  • Runningowl, you are right. 

    No, the baby won't know what it symbolises, but you do, and if you don't want your son to have one, then don't let them give it to him.

    Have the in-laws led very sheltered lives?  How did they react when you said you didn't want it in the house?


  • It's going to their caravan for him to play with there which i am fine with. not in my house its not my problem to deal with. I haven't directly said it to them. Wife was at their house and I rang her before running club training. Told her but not sure if she told them.
  • I agree with Ultra Cougie when I was growing they were just golliwogs - any form of racist connotations just weren't thought of or heard about - we collected them from the Jam Jars - but my Mum still has one and to be honest I am quite uncomfortable about it, particularly as we are a multi race family  - I wonder would it be viewed as offensive if it was known, and had always been known, as a golly without the word wog. Would it now be viewed as a racist toy or just a toy?

    That said, my Indian Brother in Law is one of the most racist people I have ever met, and that includes a former running buddy who became a BNP counsellor.

  • So out of principal you don't want it in your house but it's ok for him to play with in the caravan? Seems like your'e more worried about the house than you are your son.
  • Not really. I don't want him to have it but they have bought it and I can't stop them letting them play with it at the van. When I am with him then yes he won't be playing with it but I can't control over what he plays with when I am not with him.

    Pissed off they think it is ok for him still.
  • Kudos for standing up to the in-laws runningowl, I'd like to think I would do the same in a similar situation.


    SwissJames wrote (see)

    Kudos for standing up to the in-laws runningowl, I'd like to think I would do the same in a similar situation.

    can't agre.they haven't stood up to them at all.........they are just hiding form the question..........ignoring their own instincts and belief to keep the peace


    is it ok for them to use racist language at their caravan.or do drugs......or swear lioke a trooper........underage sex.......firarms........as long as its not under your roof then all is ok.......

    If you are unhappy with it and what it stands then surely you want your child yo have the same values..........

    this is your child......

  • Totally agree with Seren Nos.
  • There has been a reassessment of goliwog dolls, a number of years ago and the racism angle was dropped.

    The originator of the golliwogg was a French authoress and the original 'golliwogg' was I believe just a black ragdoll, nothing sinister in that.

    The Golliwog was a number one selling toy which was how it became the mascot of Robertsons Jam.

    Quite where the relatyionship between golliwogs and (the black and white minstrel show) and black people came from I don't know. It has nothing to do with the original concept of the Golliwogg

    'golliwogg' was the name of the original black rag doll, ie rag doll made from black cloth, and the name of the hero.

    'golliwog' is the name for the toy and mascot of jams.

    "...a study by academics at the Bolton Institute supported the view that 'wog' had a  separate derivation and that 'the golliwog, it seems, was not in origin a racist  icon'. "

  • I had a golliwog toy as a child - it was actually knitted for me by by nan's neighbour who was black. The neigbour's grandchild had a golliwog which I was fascinated with - thus why I ended up with one. However it was the early/mid eighties so attitudes were probably very different to now. I can't say i'd buy one or give one as a gift these days.

    If you don't want your son to have it that's your decision - perhaps you need to explain to your in-laws why and that golliwog toys are generally not seen as very 'PC' today. They might not have meant any offence - perhaps it's a generation thing? 

  • I think your twisting the point. the in laws are generally good responsible people with good values. I was still pre teen when gollywogs were around but as adults they at the time didn't see it as racist and obviously still dont. they don't actually prejudice against anyone and have raised 5 kids, the wife being the youngest and none of them are really racist.

    the problem is the wider population now see the dolls as racist despite what there origin. I do trust there judgement but me, personally see the dolls as indicative as racist symbol, they don't, just as a funny little rag doll. I don't want to see my son playing with it. the wife can't see the harm as he doesn't know different . when the time comes Lucas will be taught right from wrong by both me and the wife as well as his grandparents.
  • But like what has been pointed out I haven't stood up to them and told them he isn't allowed to play with it at all just that I don't like it because of the perceived connotations so if it came into my house I wouldn't allow him to play with it. so it has been agreed it will go to the. van for him to play with there. at 6months he doesn't understand and they don't see it as a racist statement just a toy .
  • My Grandmother had a golliwog doll that I played with when I visied her. My lil sister had a golliwog doll that she was very fond of and protective of. I never found golliwogs to be racist. At the same time the golliwog toy that my granmother had was a work of love and art as it was beautiful and home made. A proper rag doll.

    My Grandmother alo had a book 'Little Black Sambo'. Now that was racist and I recognised that even as a very young child. I was upset by that book and complained to my mother about it and asked why such things were allowed.

    I know right from wrong and I don't find the concept of golliwogs racist. I never even associated golliwogs with black people. I did however find the Black and White Minstrel Show offensive and walked out when I was taken to see it as a child. My parents respected that - it was a mystery trip and they didn't know and it was only part of the show.

  • from reading peoples accounts of the times from that era.......golliwog was used at the same time as nigger....both were used as an insult and were meant to be derrogative...the word has gone from our language because however it originated.........it was changed into something nasty......

  • does that mean we are no longer allowed to call those frozen watery things that fall from the sky in winter - snowflakes - as that was an equally used racistly offensive term used in the 70's, although that was used against the paler human form so perhaps thats ok.


    People really do need to get over themselves and stop looking for excuses to be offended.

    As the mouse has pointed out .. the golliwog is not a racist doll .. its just a kids toy, stop trying to make it into something it isn't !

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    So, what about that film where one of the characters called his 'black' labrador 'dog' nigger. Is this offensive? who, is supposed to be offended? is it (a) Dogs or (b) ..... this is where you let your imaginations and potential to be offended run riot. Note, no reference has been made to any human being. One for the thought police.

  • As late as the 60's  there was a shade of cotton called Nigger Brown.  Ironically American Negroes (as they were called then) found the term 'black' far more racially offensive. 

  • Ric, the film was the dambusters. It's being remade as it happens and they're changing that dogs name to "trigger" or "digger" or something. Some people might yell that it's (all together now) "political correctness gone mad" which, in my experience is a phrase used as a euphemism for "i like saying certain things, and i don't care that times have changed and they're not considered appropriate anymore, i'm going to go on saying them, under the guise that i'm a brave advocate of freedom of speech, when in fact I'm the first to lambast others who say things that offend me".

    I don't think we should white wash history either, at the time when the original dambusters was made, the dogs name was not considered so offensive to the audience, in 2012 it is, hence the change. When gollywogs were made, the popular sentiment was that it was not sufficiently offensive to prevent it being widely available as a toy distributed by a common consumer product. Some years ago Robertsons jam dropped their once popular logo, as they recognised that the public sentiment had shifted against it. Sensibilities change over time, in many different directions and many things that were once taboo are not, and vice versa.

    Thankfully in 2012 in Britain, people are largely free to express themselves as they wish, even if the daily mail would have you think otherwise. The caveat is that laws exist (e.g. inciting racial hatred) to prevent your freedom of expression being at the expense of someone elses freedoms.

  • AgentGinger - I think when golliwogs were originally made they were not even thought of as being some kind of racial stereotype.  Even the Black and White Minstrel Show which appears grotesque now was aired not because the producers thought it would only offend a minority of the audience but because they genuinely could see no cause for offence at all.

  • I'm sure you're right, Bear. But i'm pretty sure you'd struggle to find someone now who would not make the association between gollywogs/minstrel show and derogatory racial stereotyping. So, armed with this knowledge we're able to say fairly confidently that these things would offend a great many people today. We can't pillory those from earlier times when the sentiments were different.

  • Forgive my ignorance here but how do you differentiate between a golliwog and a black doll?  Is it in the caricature or the label on it ??    Black dolls are very normal to be seen around and about and if I remember correctly when a friend of mine became a child minder it was an essentail to have in her house,  I understand the current feelings with regards the Golliwog collections and I would doubt if they were made any more so what makes this doll one and not the other?

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