Jul 10, 2010

Golliwogs at Highpoint

Speaking of racists...! I was walking around Highpoint Shopping Centre with my girlfriend, as is our wont,  when we happened upon this piece of astounding ignorance that I had to snap on my phone.
That, my friends, is a display of Golliwogs. Notice that you can buy male or female Golliwogs, and the female Golliwog rounds the whole thing off nicely by dressing like a classic American Mammy. This Mammy is sporting a charming lemon headband instead of the traditional red.
Are these dolls available as part of some sort of exhibit? Oh my no. They're for sale, as any other item would be, in a gift shop called Cardiology.
The display shows a terrifying lack of understanding or even awareness of the racist connotations of these dolls, to the point that they seem to have invented an origin story that Googling reveals has no basis in fact whatsoever. (Click for a bigger, only barely legible resolution)
What's so astounding is that whoever OK'd the sale and display of these dolls is so incredibly ignorant of their horrible relationship with slavery and racism against African Americans. They're so ignorant, in fact, that they make probably the most egregious error of judgement by stringing the dolls up from the ceiling.
In my attempt to find justification for the seemingly made up story they've written on the plaque, I found an Australian website that carries the same baffling ignorance about the racist origins of the Golliwog. Read this link and marvel at how unaware the author is, going so far as to posit that Golliwogs disappeared from children's book because they were "allergic to the newer style of ink." I hope, for their sake and for the sake our genetic stock, that this website is tongue-in-cheek.
My god, look at that photo below. Unbelievable!
Can you imagine if a black American walked past that display? Can you imagine the embarrassment this would cause if he alerted the American media? Couple this with the Hey Hey blackface incident (one that could have been explained away as a one off incident), and we'd be propelled so far back into the dark ages in terms of the world's view of us, the only way out would be to donate our country to the U.S.
I intend to inform the store that it'd be in their best interest to remove these dolls post haste. I wonder what they'll say?
The look on our faces in the reflection is shock and amazement that anyone could be so out of touch. I wonder if anyone will post a rant about how this is political correctness gone mad? If so, in the interest of education as the our saving grace, here are some links that may give a little context.
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