Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What in the hell is a Golliwog?!?!?

The doll pictured above is not vintage... It is contemporary. In fact, the "Golliwog" doll pictured above was purchased in December of 2008 at a shop in the UK. I juxtaposed the image onto a photo of President Obama and General Powell to highlight the absolute absurdity of this type of racist imagery.

UK blogs such as the Bent Society and Lola Adesioye have spoken out about the sale of these items and a recent controversy sparked by comments made by Carol Thatcher, daughter of Margaret Thatcher, who was fired from the BBC for referring to a French tennis player several times as a ‘golliwog frog’, a ‘half-golliwog’ and other ridiculous racist names.

Prior to catching the posts on Lola's blog, I was unfamiliar with the term. But a quick Google search was all that was needed to confirm that these dolls and images are not ill-advised reproductions or otherwise harmless tokens that are simply reminiscent of some earlier era: These are a part of the continuous lineage of denigrating products born of the antebellum. These should have gone the way of "Darkie Toothpaste"... But they have survived. I did a quick search on EBay and found 160 Golliwog dolls for sale.

In the grand scheme of things, it should be noted that we certainly have more pressing issues at hand... But clearly, this just confirms the words of our NAACP National President Ben Jealous who said, "we can't be Post-racial until we first become Post-Racist".

For my part, looks like I'll be having a short but exciting conversation with the good folks at EBay today...

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