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-   -   “What are Golliwogs and are they racist?” (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=96941)

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 04 September 2018 08:15 AM

“What are Golliwogs and are they racist?”
 
YouTube link from BTN.

Normally the answer would be “yes they are”, but our Australian racial history is quite different. I have actually seen golliwogs for sale in areas near Brisbane.

Also, the piece is intended to be shown in classrooms, and the comment section will go with the fact sheet on the ABC’s web site.

Blatherskite 04 September 2018 12:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jusenkyo no Pikachu (Post 1986495)
Normally the answer would be “yes they are”, but our Australian racial history is quite different.

The appearance and name of Golliwogs doesn't change just because a country has a different 'racial history'.

Surely it's obvious they're based on old timey depictions of black people even there.

thorny locust 04 September 2018 01:27 PM

Different history or no different history, the dolls are still racial caricatures. And that different history also certainly inludes racism.

While it makes sense for the video to reference USA history, for it to only reference USA history and thereby imply that there were never any problems or caricatures in Australia strikes me as a problem.



-- Jusenkyo no Pikachu, thanks for the much clearer posting style.

Seaboe Muffinchucker 04 September 2018 03:14 PM

The creature I was introduced to as a golliwog (when I was about 10, circa 1970) was not human looking (it was a squarish body made of any kind of flannel, with long spindly arms and legs), and I did not know that there was any other kind until I was much older.

While I do agree that the name is racist and should not be used to describe any kind of dolls, I also note that there may not be anything about a particular doll to indicate why the name is racist.

Seaboe

St. Alia 04 September 2018 08:08 PM

Here is a link that gives information from the Jim Crow Museum.

While white people in England and Australia might have nostalgic memories for these dolls and their childhoods, I'm much more inclined to listen to people of color on their feelings and experiences regarding issues of how racism effects them.

erwins 04 September 2018 08:19 PM

I found this article interesting, particularly as to the "different history" bit.

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-0...t-race/8573324

GenYus234 04 September 2018 08:24 PM

I would dispute the wording of this sentence [in St Alia's link], "In this climate the Golliwog doll and other Golliwog emblems were seen as symbols of racial insensitivity." and say instead, "In this climate the Golliwog doll and other Golliwog emblems were recognized as symbols of racial insensitivity." Whether or not they are racially insensitive, they were always that way. It may seem a minor detail, but it is often this detail that the claims about political correctness run amok are based on. For example, there accusation that someone is "playing the race card" is somewhat based around the idea that there is no racism until someone brings up race. ETA: IMS, some commentators have said something along the lines of how black people are the ones keeping racism around because they keep talking about it.

Or, to use an analogy, did Newton invent gravity or did he discover it?

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 04 September 2018 09:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blatherskite (Post 1986509)
The appearance and name of Golliwogs doesn't change just because a country has a different 'racial history'.

Surely it's obvious they're based on old timey depictions of black people even there.

Our racist caricatures are a little different…

Also, when the Essgee production of The Pirates Of Penzance made a return tour in 2003, it was apparently appropriate to fire a cannon at Jon English’s face (replacing the “Pi-RAAAAAAATE” joke in this video). This is despite that joke having the same racist origin.

GenYus234 04 September 2018 09:51 PM

A cartoonist's response to reports of horrific abuse of minors (many of whom are aboriginal) at the hands of authority figures is to create an image with the father of an aboriginal child uncaring to the point of not knowing the child's name?

I don't think your racist caricatures are as different as you think.

St. Alia 04 September 2018 10:30 PM

Did that guy use the "color blind" excuse?

I'm guilty of formerly thinking that "not seeing color" was something people should want to do; that color blindness was achievable and desirable.

I've learned better since then and still could learn much more.

Here is a quote from this link that talks about strategies that are "color blind" versus those that "value-diversity" (talk about race and culture directly in positive ways)
Quote:

“people exposed to arguments promoting color blindness have been shown to subsequently display a greater degree of both explicit and implicit racial bias, and that a color-blind ideology . . . can also facilitate—and be used to justify—racial resentment.” In part, that’s because a color-blind approach can move pretty quickly from “everyone should be treated the same” to “we’re better off not noticing if people aren’t being treated the same.”
I see this play out often all the time with people who think they mean well. They think they aren't racist, they don't "see color", etc... and it's immediately preceded or followed by something racist.

GenYus234 04 September 2018 11:08 PM

"I don't see color." is a sentence version of a contraction. It is really, "I don't see the centuries of racist history and institutionalized racism that is based on skin color."

erwins 04 September 2018 11:26 PM

It's often combined with that other trope you just mentioned, GenYus. "I don't see color. It's the minorities that keep making everything about race."

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 05 September 2018 12:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GenYus234 (Post 1986570)
A cartoonist's response to reports of horrific abuse of minors (many of whom are aboriginal) at the hands of authority figures is to create an image with the father of an aboriginal child uncaring to the point of not knowing the child's name?

I don't think your racist caricatures are as different as you think.

We don’t really have things like “reservations” though, and there is no one unifying culture among the various tribes.

We did, however, kidnap hundreds of biracial children and try to get the aboriginal signifiers out.

GenYus234 05 September 2018 12:27 AM

Black people in the US have neither reservations* nor one unifying culture**.

* Not officially anyway. For a long time there were various gentleman agreements and legal frameworks to enforce where black people could live.
** People will talk about "black culture" but its as specific and/or unifying as "white culture" would be. And sometimes a dog whistle.

ganzfeld 05 September 2018 01:54 AM

Even if they are so very different that non-Australians (and apparently many Australians as well) just don't understand, it's no surpise the excuses for them are pretty much exactly the same right up to and including "our culture is different; you just don't get it" and "I'm colourblind."

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 05 September 2018 02:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GenYus234 (Post 1986577)
Black people in the US have neither reservations* nor one unifying culture**.

* Not officially anyway. For a long time there were various gentleman agreements and legal frameworks to enforce where black people could live.
** People will talk about "black culture" but its as specific and/or unifying as "white culture" would be. And sometimes a dog whistle.

Well, I was thinking more about Native Americans. Our history is closer to that aspect of yours.

Although I must admit to having never heard the word “boong” outside of the context of “boong is a racial slur”.

(Actually, if you want an idea of how Australian racism goes, check out the excellent tv series Cleverman. All the treatment given to the “Hairypeople” in that show is taken from history).

ganzfeld 05 September 2018 01:58 PM

I don't see what's so different about the reservations either.

http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downlo...e/ch04s03.html

I still don't see any other answer to the question in the thread title except variations of "undeniably so" even if one is so obtuse as to not notice it doesn't even look human because its purpose is to dehumanize.

thorny locust 05 September 2018 02:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jusenkyo no Pikachu (Post 1986576)
We don’t really have things like “reservations” though, and there is no one unifying culture among the various tribes.

I don't know whether you mean that you think there is or was one culture shared by all Native American tribes; but those actually were and still are very diverse cultures.

St. Alia 05 September 2018 10:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jusenkyo no Pikachu (Post 1986576)
We don’t really have things like “reservations” though, and there is no one unifying culture among the various tribes.

We did, however, kidnap hundreds of biracial children and try to get the aboriginal signifiers out.

Emphasis mine above.

Hundreds?

Don't you mean hundreds of thousands?

Blatherskite 05 September 2018 11:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jusenkyo no Pikachu (Post 1986566)

Are you implying that Australians don't typically realise that Golliwogs are intended to be black caricatures due to the difference in racism?

Or are you suggesting that Golliwogs aren't racist in Australia because that particular kind of caricature of black people wasn't as common?

If the former, does ignorance make the dolls themselves not racist even if the buyers might not be? If the latter, surely if the depiction is racist and dehumanising then it's racist and dehumanising no matter how rare or how common it might be?

Something doesn't become more racist the more people criticise it or less racist when fewer people acknowledge it.

Incidentally, I had an old Golliwog doll as a child. This was way past the era of the Golliwog, so I don't know how I ended up with it or where it came from. I had no idea the figure was meant to be a black person (I thought it was meant to be made out of liquorice, sort of like Bertie Basset). I even picked up a book (second hand, I suspect) about Golliwogs because it had 'my' doll in it! It was the only humanoid male figure I had and it was wearing a suit, so I made it get get married to various female dolls. I loved my strange-looking, be-suited, unwillingly bigamous liquorice man! Later, when my eyes were opened, I realised that what I had been lovingly playing with was an attitude that harmed and even killed countless real people. My innocence at the time doesn't make the existence of the doll more acceptable.


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