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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 09:15 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 01:05 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 02:27 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 04:14 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 09:08 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 09:19 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 09:24 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 10:32 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 10:51 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 11:30 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 05 September 2018 12:08 AM

"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 05 September 2018 12:26 AM

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 01:20 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 01:27 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 02:54 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 03:55 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 02:58 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 03:14 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 11:39 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 06 September 2018 12:37 AM

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.

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 06 September 2018 02:40 AM

I’m not trying to suggest anything other than “we seem to be ignorant of the racist baggage”.

Both the things I mentioned above (the golliwog and the ash face joke) are things I’ve seen this century. I’m also one of the last generation to grow up with the “Jo, Bessie, Fanny, Dick and Dame Slap” editions of the Faraway Tree books (and remember, there was a full colour illustrated version of that series).

Also, I grew up hearing “Eeny, meeny, miny, mo” with a racial slur in it. I never paid it any mind (although I didn’t make the association until after reading To Kill A Mockingbird).

Oh, and an old guy shock jock used a turn of phrase I had never heard until last week. (But then again, he’s not someone I deem “worth listening to”, mostly because those clips of Media Watch are far from his first appearance on the show).

Steve 06 September 2018 04:02 AM

You're reasoning is really unclear here, Jusenko. When you write:
Quote:

Normally the answer would be “yes they are [racist]”, but our Australian racial history is quite different. I have actually seen golliwogs for sale in areas near Brisbane."
I'm baffled. I'm not really sure how that differs from, "No, that ethnic slur isn't racist here. After all, I once heard a guy say it."

I'm trying not to come down to hard on you, but what with your weird description of the Stolen Generation and bizarre leaps of logic, maybe you should just acknowledge you're terribly wrong here. I mean, a sentence like,
Quote:

Both the things I mentioned above (the golliwog and the ash face joke) are things I’ve seen this century
isn't really a sign that "Aw, shucks, we just don't know what racism is."

Gutter Monkey 06 September 2018 05:23 AM

Current Australian society has a weird relationship with its blatantly racist past, there's a whole ton of stuff that gets swept under the rug or under-reported or discarded as 'fake news' or conspiracies and the whole debate over whether Golliwogs are offensive or not is just one example of that.

We still get people dressing up in blackface for costume parties and quite often people will claim that it's not offensive because Australia doesn't have the same history of black and white minstrelsy as the US does. In fact Australia has a pretty long history of minstrelsy from the 1830s until at least the 1950s ({cite}, {cite}) which has been forgotten to the point where people deny it ever happened here. It's simply not talked about so people assume it never happened.

We also had a bunch of right wing media pundits (usually from outlets owned by Rupert Murdoch) claiming that The Stolen Generations never happened or were just a handful of children who were taken from abusive households and rehomed and the situation was a "myth" and "propaganda" which was massively blown out of proportion by "The Left". Here's a pretty good article about the systematic, collaborative movement to cover up one of the worst parts of Australia's racist history. Most of their maneuvers come straight out of the "right wing troll's handbook" and many, many people bought their lies because it's a lot easier to assume the stories were just a conspiracy cooked up by "the Left" rather than face up to the reality.

The n-word also has a long history in Australia. One of our most famous rugby players in the 1910s to 1920s was nicknamed Edwin "Nigger" Brown because of his light complexion (Australians love ironic nicknames) and a local sports stadium was called the "E S 'Nigger' Brown Stand" until 2008 when the name was finally removed due to a public campaign, and even then there was a move to erect a commemorative plaque that kept the name. We also had a whole bunch of household products with the n-word in their title and you could even buy n-word licorice shows bags at the annual royal show up until the 1960s. The radio ads were something else as well (WARNING: audio plays automatically and is very NSFW: link.)

I think this incident from 2009 is fairly emblematic of the whole situation: a local TV variety show called Hey Hey It's Saturday which was big in the 1980s had a short revival and they brought back a blackface act that had previously appeared on the show 20 years ago and was remembered really fondly by the fans of the show. Harry Connick Jnr was appearing as a guest judge and he naturally reacted along the lines of "WTF, this is racist as hell, why the hell did you involve me in this???" and the host of the show was completely unprepared for his reaction and genuinely had ZERO idea anyone would be offended by a blackface song and dance act. They actually had to stop everything and allow Harry Connick Jnr to explain in very simple terms to everyone that blackface is offensive.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEtjaZ8ZuNU
Looking back, the host's dumb ignorance about the implications around blackface is incredibly cringeworthy but it's also genuinely reflective of how most Australians felt about the issue. The 'debate' still comes up at least once a year when some random idiot wears blackface to a costume party and the photos get spread around social media and many many Australians still don't 'get' why it's offensive. (Of course these days quite a few of the people dressing up in blackface are doing it because they know it will offend a lot of people and they're being deliberately offensive and "edgy".)

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 06 September 2018 08:04 AM

Article about the “Nigger” Brown Stand’s removal.

Alarm 06 September 2018 02:01 PM

I knew a girl whose nickname was Nicky... because she was part native American and was the darkest one in her school, until they got some black people in town, so they changed her nickname from n_____r to Nicky...

:rolleyes:

Her name wasn't even Nicole...

erwins 06 September 2018 02:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gutter Monkey (Post 1986654)
Current Australian society has a weird relationship with its blatantly racist past, there's a whole ton of stuff that gets swept under the rug or under-reported or discarded as 'fake news' or conspiracies and the whole debate over whether Golliwogs are offensive or not is just one example of that.

This (the entire post this was cut from) was a thoughtful and informative post. I appreciate it. I wonder though, if the biggest issue is that current Australian society has a weird relationship with its blatantly racist present.

The recency of some of these examples means it isn't about the past being quietly swept under the rug. Rather, it's an example of one.of.the.first defenses of longstanding racism: "It's traditional." People are denying that current practices are racist by appealing to tradition. That is not merely a failure to cope with past racism.

Gutter Monkey 06 September 2018 02:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by erwins (Post 1986665)
This (the entire post this was cut from) was a thoughtful and informative post. I appreciate it. I wonder though, if the biggest issue is that current Australian society has a weird relationship with its blatantly racist present.

The recency of some of these examples means it isn't about the past being quietly swept under the rug. Rather, it's an example of one.of.the.first defenses of longstanding racism: "It's traditional." People are denying that current practices are racist by appealing to tradition. That is not merely a failure to cope with past racism.

I was going to add on a bit at the end about how all those attitudes have carried over to the current blatantly racist practices in this country (especially against refugees who arrive via boats, and Lebanese and sub-Saharan African immigrants). Many of them aren't exactly a continuation of 'traditional' racist practices, they're just similar practices applied to different racial groups. There's way more dogwhistle racism these days, for example, against Muslims for being "un-Australian" and for not having "Australian values" or "assimilating into Australian culture".

But there's also been a few very open attempts to return to 'traditional' racist practices, one of which was the White Australian immigration policy which was ingrained in the Australian constitution from its inception in 1901 and only dismantled between 1949 and 1973. There's been a few politicians openly calling for a return to the policy with one senator even using the phrase "the final solution" in one such speech just a few weeks ago. People were understandably outraged at that and his party leader had the gall to defend the speech, saying that the senator "didn't go to university" and wasn't aware of the historical context behind the phrase. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: He also stated that the people defending open immigration were "bringing people into this country dedicated to [Jewish people's] destruction and their annihilation" which was one of the more spectacular examples of the old "Well maybe YOU are the real bigot?" gambits I've ever seen. We also get the good old "I don't even see colour, why are you making this about race, maybe YOU are the real racists?" counter argument, and I'm sure it won't surprise any of you to learn that the main media pundit pushing that agenda was charged for breaching the Racial Discrimination Act for several of his published articles.

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 06 September 2018 03:34 PM

Katter not only had the gall to defend Anning, but the absence of mind to go with bullshit like this:

Quote:

KATHIYAJANI NITHIYANANTHAN
Senator Anning’s speech to Parliament, which you, Mr Katter, strongly supported, referenced the White Australia policy. But, Senator Katter, your own grandfather, a Lebanese immigrant, would not have been allowed to migrate to Australia with your current beliefs. Please explain.

TONY JONES
Bob Katter.

BOB KATTER
Firstly, my mother told me that you don’t ask anyone about their racial origins or their money income or their religion. And she told me she’d give me a good hiding if I ever did. Now, we’re all Australians, I would hope, in this room. And, you know, whether a person has this religion or that religion is utterly irrelevant. The policy of our party has been very clear. And if you can find anywhere in that speech where he advocated White Australia policy, I’d be very curious to find out where it is. I might even give you a cheque for money.
(The hissy fit starts 15 minutes in, and continues over several other questions)

erwins 06 September 2018 05:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gutter Monkey (Post 1986667)
But there's also been a few very open attempts to return to 'traditional' racist practices, one of which was the White Australian immigration policy which was ingrained in the Australian constitution from its inception in 1901 and only dismantled between 1949 and 1973.

While a return to that policy would be horribly racist, I think the thing that is not being grappled with is that making, displaying, and selling "golliwog" dolls (let alone giving them to children) which in any era are a dehumanizing caricature of people with dark skin, is itself a traditional racist practice. There's nothing "past" about it.

Gutter Monkey 06 September 2018 06:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by erwins (Post 1986679)
I think the thing that is not being grappled with

I think you're misreading people's posts and flying off on tangents. Absolutely no one is saying that Australia isn't continuing to be racist and that all that racism is just in the past.

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 11 September 2018 02:12 AM

And now the Herald Sun has to remind us how racist we are (Link from Sydney Morning Herald).

I avoid the HS just on principle, what with it being a Murdoch rag (remember: he owns FOX News and Sky News Australia), but the Serena Williams thing here is just horrible.

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 11 September 2018 11:38 PM

https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/...6ae0eee994c06f

This thread seemed like the perfect place for this.

GenYus234 12 September 2018 12:40 AM

Or a non-paywall version.

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 12 September 2018 01:19 AM

I have a bias against the Daily Mail too, so here’s a non-commercial take: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-1...sbane/10235792

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 12 September 2018 03:47 AM

Still not a fan of News Corp but I have to link this: https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/pa...5af7da742c5dfc

Why? Because BRING ON THE MIDDLE AGED WHITE FOLK!

Quote:

Shock jock Alan Jones and controversial commentator Mark Latham said Harper was “defying the school”.

“We used to have special schools for children with behaviour problems,” Mr Latham said on the 4BC radio show. “Not standing is a behavioural problem, so kick her out.”

Jones was also furious about the Brisbane student’s decision.

“What on earth do you do ... other than call the parents in and say ‘listen, these are the rules here, if you don’t like them you do as we say or go somewhere else because we’re not accommodating you”.

Spud Sabre 12 September 2018 06:05 AM

I'm guessing that's a 'student refuses to stand for the flag' story?

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 12 September 2018 07:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spud Sabre (Post 1986989)
I'm guessing that's a 'student refuses to stand for the flag' story?

You’d be right, except we don’t pay any real homage to our flag.

However, the school should know that “All students are required to display blind patriotism” is not actually a rule.

Don Enrico 12 September 2018 07:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jusenkyo no Pikachu (Post 1986917)
And now the Herald Sun has to remind us how racist we are (Link from Sydney Morning Herald).

I avoid the HS just on principle, what with it being a Murdoch rag (remember: he owns FOX News and Sky News Australia), but the Serena Williams thing here is just horrible.

And the artist claims that he had not known of earlier racist cartoons in that fashion:
Quote:

The way Knight drew Williams has been compared to the racist illustrations ubiquitous during the US Jim Crow era and Sambo cartoons.

(...)

Speaking on ABC, Knight said he had “no knowledge of those cartoons or that period” and he thought the said people were “making stuff up”.

The Guardian
I very much doubt that a person who draws for a living can on the one hand be ignorant of earlier racist portrayals of people of colour, and on the other hand be able to nail that style like he did here. Check Mz. Williams lips in the cartoon against these pictures of the Jim Crow era, for example (or this example from Nazi Germany).

In short: I don't believe him.

Jusenkyo no Pikachu 12 September 2018 10:08 AM

Wikipedia lists his birth date as “c. 1960s” and says his childhood was spent in Sydney. That’s not Hicksville, North Western Australia or wherever. It’s possible that the Censored Eleven and Bosko shorts were shown and he might have liked Tintin, but up until this thread I wasn’t actually aware of minstrelsy being performed down here.

However, my mother had no idea who A. O. Neville was. I called him the “Rabbit-Proof Fence guy” and she thought I meant he built one of the actual rabbit-proof fences. (I’m hoping you either know the movie or can infer that he’s the villain).

Also: on Monday someone on Twitter joked that we need an “Abbott-proof Fence” (The Winking Sack Of Useless being the new Minister For Indigenous Affairs).

Don Enrico 12 September 2018 01:49 PM

Whether or not he was exposed to this kind of caricature in his childhood or youth isn't the point. Being a professional artist, he's bound to have studied all kinds of caricature, and he must have come across examples of this kind of racist portrayals of black people. I have, and I'm be no means an artist.

That goes even more, because his cartoon is a rather typical example of it's kind, and I just don't beleive he happend to come up with that all on his own without any model.


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