ten little what!?

Not done with Golly yet.  When I first looked into what the heck that was, I was led to a website for collectors of Golly memorabilia.  I saw Golly as a doctor, an astrounaut, all sorts of things, so I thought “Maybe he isn’t really racist because he doesn’t seem to be held back by his color or regulated to a station of servitude.  He’s achieving things.”  Short-lived thought, for next i was led to this site http://www.golliwogg.co.uk/racism.htm

For the past four decades Europeans have debated whether the Golliwog is a lovable icon or a racist symbol. In the 1960s relations between Blacks and Whites in England were often characterised by conflict. This racial antagonism resulted from many factors, including: the arrival of increasing numbers of coloured immigrants; minorities’ unwillingness to accommodate themselves to old patterns of racial and ethnic subordination; and, the fear among many Whites that England was losing its national character. British culture was also influenced by images – often brutal – of racial conflict occurring in the United States.

The claim that Golliwogs are racist is supported by literary depictions by writers such as Enid Blyton. Unlike Florence Upton’s, Blyton’s Golliwogs were often rude, mischievous, elfin villains. Blyton, one of the most prolific European writers, included the Golliwogs in many stories, but she only wrote three books primarily about Golliwogs: The Three Golliwogs (1944), The Proud Golliwog (1951), and The Golliwog Grumbled (1953). Her depictions of Golliwogs are, by contemporary standards, racially insensitive. An excerpt from The Three Golliwogs is illustrative:

Once the three bold Golliwogs, Golly, Woggie, and Nigger, decided to go for a walk to Bumble-Bee Common. Golly wasn’t quite ready so Woggie and Nigger said they would start off without him, and Golly would catch them up as soon as he could. So off went Woggie and Nigger, arm-in-arm, singing merrily their favourite song – which, as you may guess, was Ten Little Nigger Boys.

Ten Little Niggers is the name of a children’s poem, sometimes set to music, which celebrates the deaths of ten Black children, one-by-one. The Three Golliwogs was reprinted as recently as 1968, and it still contained the above passage. Ten Little Niggers was also the name of a 1939 Agatha Christie novel, whose cover showed a Golliwog lynched, hanging from a noose.









6 thoughts on “ten little what!?

  1. My mouth is hanging WIDE opened!! I knew it!!! Honest 2 Goodness!!! That’s a shame….

  2. As much as I really did’nt want to, I clicked on the website and found that “Golly/Golli” is used as the n-word is used in America. In Germany, England, Ireland, Greece, & Australia, it’s directed toward “brown-skinned” ppl (notice they didn’t state black ppl) and “dark-skinned?” whites. They also still sell these on Ebay and Yahoo auctions. Things like this gives me the inspiration to shed light on just how much “innocent’ cartoon characters and toys/dolls can influence young minds. Inevitably, shaping their perceptions about the way of the world which they sometimes carry into adulthood.
    It would be great to see how this “steppin fletcher” mentality was shifted to create “certain” movements of more recent decades. I am outraged, but thanks for setting off that spark. 🙂

  3. I’m floored by this info, Tiff! I read the Agatha Christy book in school and it was called “Ten Little Indians.” When i read your post I looked it up on wiki. So bizarre. It was originally (in 1940) “And Then There Were None” in the US printings, which is a title I’ve heard of as well. From 1964 -1986, the printings were changed to “Ten Little Indians.” Changed to that during the civil rights movements. WTF?!?!

    more here including more cover pics:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s