To be shocked by this?

(91 Posts)
malovitt Tue 29-Jan-13 17:19:36

I went to our local council offices today to have a look at a neighbour's planning application.

The planning officer I was dealing with made some small talk about this being her last month as she was coming up for retirement age.

She then took off her cardigan and was clearly wearing a largish (3 inches?) Robinson's Jam Gollywog pendant around her neck.

I couldn't believe my eyes - would this be not frowned upon in most normal working environments? I could hardly bear to speak to her after that and left the building as soon as I could.

Sparklingbrook Tue 29-Jan-13 17:21:26

I would be shocked too. Where would you buy such a thing? How bizarre.

Seabird72 Tue 29-Jan-13 17:24:06

They're collector's items - doesn't mean she's racist - I loved collecting the badges and toys via the tokens and I am not a racist at all - it was all purely innocent for me as I had a golly when I was younger and it was my favourite toy. If you want to call it a Gollywog then fine - I just call them gollies. It's the "Wog" part that's offensive.

RuleBritannia Tue 29-Jan-13 17:27:30

So she was wearing a pendant to work? What has it to do with you what she wears?

Sparklingbrook. Things like that are probably not available these days so the pendant was probably old. Some of my jewellery which I love so won't get rid of is from the sixties. Anyone remember mink earrings? I bought mine at Whitechapel market. Furry earrings. I can't buy clip-on earrings in the shopps these days. My beautiful earrings have to come from charity shops.

EverybodysSnowyEyed Tue 29-Jan-13 17:28:12

My beloved grandfather was a baker so went through a lot of robinsons jam. He used to send me toys with the vouchers - badges, little statuettes etc. I always saw them in te same way as you see a teletubby - I never really got that they were supposed to be people.

I still have them because they remind me of my grandad. I don't display them round the house or wear one to work though!

ComposHat Tue 29-Jan-13 17:28:29

It wouldn't have been my first choice of accesory, but to imply that she was a card carrying racist from that and be so disgusted that you could hardly talk to her is a huge leap.

If it had been a Swaztika or a BNP badge then yes you would be justified in making that assumption.

DrHolmes Tue 29-Jan-13 17:30:32

Everyone thinks Golliwoggs are a symbol of racism..they are not! They were created as as a term of endearment/childhood tradition. I have never understood the backlash. Just because there is a black doll? Surely you are more racist to think there shouldn't be any black dolls and kids should have only had white dolls? Ridiculous!

"British jam manufacturer James Robertson & Sons used a golliwog called Golly as its mascot from 1910, after John Robertson apparently saw children playing with golliwog dolls in America"... oh how...terrible hmm

Sparklingbrook Tue 29-Jan-13 17:31:05

Yes, actually I remember now-sending off for things from Robinsons. I very much doubt she is wearing it to make any sort of statement at all other than she likes it. Bit ill judged though-but I doubt it has crossed her mind.

LessMissAbs Tue 29-Jan-13 17:33:09

I could hardly bear to speak to her after that and left the building as soon as I could

Gosh! Hope you were all right!

ILoveTIFFANY Tue 29-Jan-13 17:33:20

They can still be bought!

Why 'shocked'? Op

ILoveTIFFANY Tue 29-Jan-13 17:33:51

Over reaction or what!

ApocalypseThen Tue 29-Jan-13 17:34:24

They are an offensive racist caricature, and intended as such. Have them if you want, but don't think you're fooling anyone about their nature or origin. I'm astonished that someone would have sufficiently poor judgement to wear such an item to work, particularly someone working for the public who has dealings with the public. It can only be a calculated statement, in my opinion.

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 29-Jan-13 17:36:37

It's just a little pickaninny doll in blackface! It's not like she's wearing a crucifix or something awful like that.

FWIW, I can see why people find them offensive. I didn't grow up in the UK and I don't have fond childhood memories of them. There were American brands that used the black, "pickaninny" stereotype. One was a popular chain of restaurants called Sambos. When black people said they found it offensive, white people were all "Oh, no! You don't understand! It's just a cute thing/story/picture/ thing that is fond memories from childhood!"

Do black people find them offensive? If so, then maybe it's offensive.

malovitt Tue 29-Jan-13 17:36:56

Thank you ApocalypeThen - my feelings exactly.

LessMissAbs Tue 29-Jan-13 17:40:47

Perhaps its the way the planning officer made small talk to set the scene, (not about the planning application then?) and then swept off her cardigan to reveal the pendant!

I'm picturing this errant employee spending all day taking her caridgan on and off to shock people! Bit like a flasher...perhaps shes demob happy over her forthcoming retirement and has been waiting to do this for years.

Truly terrible.

usualsuspect Tue 29-Jan-13 17:45:17

Awful, why would you wear something so offensive to work?

ApocalypseThen Tue 29-Jan-13 17:45:35

Do black people find them offensive? If so, then maybe it's offensive.

Just use your imagination. Suppose there was a caricature of people who share some of your features designed in a time when people who also shared those features were denied civil rights. Imagine this caricature emphasised the features that set you apart and was associated with stories about simplemindedness and obedience which were considered traits of people like you.

Would you find it offensive, do you think?

Seabird72 Tue 29-Jan-13 17:50:07

It was the Robertsons Jam's trademark for many many years - if they were racist then no way would they have choosen to use a golly as their trademark they would have steered well clear. They changed because they were worried about offending people - back when suddenly anything with the word "black" was deemed racist - Blackboards are racist and Ba Ba Black Sheep........??? Seriously - If people want to be racist then they are racist openly and don't care who they offend or what they say. Those of us who aren't racist are terrified that our little golly badges/necklaces/dolls will get us labelled racists. Do people who think they're racist immediately think KKK on halloween night when they see the little kid in a white sheet?? (and I mean here in the UK)

usualsuspect Tue 29-Jan-13 17:51:30

They are racist.

my dd's have the dolls, quite big ones, my mum bought them, she spent ages specifically looking for them and we cant get rid of them becasue of this, I have no idea why she is not normally strange/offensive/weird. I hate the bloody things and worry so much about upsetting one of dd's friends if they saw them, I try to hide them.
If they offend anyone then they are offensive, simple as, it is not up to me to decide what is or is not racist, it is up to the people who may be upset by these things.
Yanbu to be shocked, very odd.

Porkster Tue 29-Jan-13 17:58:08

Of course they are racist!

As a local govt officer (in possession of a brain), I can't imagine meeting members of the public with a gollywog necklace. I think I'd fear for my job.

ILoveTIFFANY Tue 29-Jan-13 17:58:38

What about doll dressed in national costume?

On the golly doll website there are some... Are they racist too?

And what makes them racist?

malovitt Tue 29-Jan-13 18:02:36

Just a doll? Read this

ComposHat Tue 29-Jan-13 18:14:11

As a local govt officer (in possession of a brain), I can't imagine meeting members of the public with a gollywog necklace. I think I'd fear for my job

Not everyone, especially an older woman who lived/work in a not particularly diverse area of the country, wouldn't be aware that it may be percieved in that way. It doesn't imply she is an active racist, just think of the posters who come on here gobsmacked that 'coloured' or 'half-caste' are outdated and offensive terms.

ComposHat Tue 29-Jan-13 18:15:26

Just a doll? all well and good, but that doesn't prove that this woman is aware of this background.

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