SRtRC looks at these recurring stories and trends in reporting
A few times a year, Show Racism the Red Card is contacted by press to comment on a story about the sale of ‘Golliwogs’. Here are just a few of the stories we have commented on in recent years.
The Sun, April 2011 – (The National Front selling Golliwogs)
Typically the press reports will contain phrases and words like ‘shop owner slammed / blasted / under fire’, ‘outrage’, ‘branded racist’.
Just to be absolutely clear, SRtRC does not ‘brand people racist’ for selling or buying ‘Golliwogs’. We don’t go out looking for shops that do or contact papers to tell them how “outraged” we are. However when asked what we think about the sale of these items, the campaign will comment that we don’t think that they should be on sale as they are based on racist stereotypes.
There will then follow many comments from people on newspaper comment sections, to our Facebook, Twitter and even to staff e-mail addresses along the lines of:
“I don’t find them offensive / I don’t think they’re offensive / They are just toys / This is political correctness gone mad.”
Sometimes, people are very angry that we have commented and will get abusive, as has happened this week.
It has, and could be argued that commenting on the stories reinforces people’s opinions about the ‘golliwog’, hardening resolve to buy and sell them. Because they have been around for so long in Britain, people can be sentimentally attached to them as it may remind them of childhood.
The fact is though, they are based on racist stereotypes of black people that have no place in the 21st century.
And people who sell or buy them often say they can see how they would be offensive to others.
Whether you, personally, find them offensive or not is really not the issue. Many people find that they are. If you really want to buy them, they can be bought in shops and online, but it is worth considering why you want to.
Mark Hay wrote an excellent article, about Britain’s ‘golliwog’ problem which is a thought provoking read.