Time for the Human Rights Commission to LET IT GO

There is a song popular with young children from the movie Frozen and it plays in my head every time I see people still whining about Golliwogs.

Unbelievably the New Zealand Human Rights Commission is STILL going on about Golliwogs in a desperate attempt to convince all those who see them as cuddly dolls that because they were racist symbols in the past in America they are still racist symbols now regardless of how others view them.

You may remember that in my post addressing their claims I said that my Golliwog was made for me by my adopted Tongan Aunty. Other people made similar comments on the NZ HRC facebook page including someone who said that their Maori Grandmother gave them one.

Now in an attempt to counter all the people disputing the inherent racism of a cuddy and lovable doll, a Samoan New Zealander has written an article to tell us all that we are wrong to love our golliwogs.

[…] The Black and White Minstrel Show, like Golliwog dolls, are icons of a time when white people lampooning black people as stupid, ugly and evil was normal, entertaining and acceptable. These symbols were born in the United States during slavery and transported as popular culture across the Western world to countries like the UK and New Zealand. And it’s not just white people who accepted Golliwogs and minstrel shows as background furniture in our cultural lives. I’ve had Māori friends tell me, guiltily, about their Golliwog dolls. I’ve just rummaged about in my shed and found two of mine.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and one countries racist icon is another countries beloved non-racist, inclusive, diverse cuddly doll. The only reason her Maori friends felt guilty was because their Samoan friend had probably just lectured them condescendingly on their ignorance and had explained to them that it is unacceptable to own and love a Golliwog.

My teen was “grossed out” by them and said maybe I should burn them.

I also used to love reading Agatha Christie mysteries, and I had a copy of Ten Little N*****s, a book that featured on its cover a Golliwog with a noose around its neck as he was being lynched. Horrific.

American author Kate Upton created the Golliwog character in the late 1800s, inspired by a minstrel doll from her childhood. The doll wasn’t beloved by the Upton children, they used him for target practice.

Cabbage Patch kid dolls

Recently, when it came to light that a Waiheke shopkeeper was selling Golliwogs I questioned on my social media whether it was appropriate. She’d (incorrectly) explained to some dumbfounded African American tourists that the dolls were actually sooty-faced chimney sweeps and not meant to be black people (funny, Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins never reminded me of a Golliwog). She defended her right to sell Golliwogs and she continues to do so. I think if people want to make money from selling a racist icon, they should at least take the time to understand its history and origins.

This is straight out of the regressive progressive handbook. In America, anyone who dares to display a certain historical flag is now condemned and told that they can’t because interfering busybodies have decided for the good of the entire population that the flag is a racist icon.

It is one thing to be aware of somethings history it is quite another to want it banned and to condemn people for having it. In America, watermelons are considered a racist fruit because of their history. Will people no longer be able to sell or eat watermelons?

Someone messaged to tell me that my comments were disgusting and that her nana wasn’t a racist because she’d made her a lovely Golliwog. While I wasn’t having a go at anyone’s nana or family, the truth is they are not benign, no matter how much we once loved them nor how innocently.

No, the truth is that reality is what was in your heart. They were benign and innocent and they weren’t racist if they were not viewed that way.

I had two of them! But just because we’ve always done things a certain way, it doesn’t mean we have to keep doing things that way mai ra ano. Ka pai if that present from your nana symbolises love. In that spirit we must encourage others not to use symbols of racism and bigotry as tokens of love in the future.

This lady really doesn’t get it. Humans add meaning to objects all the time. We create our own reality. They are only symbols of racism and bigotry if they are seen that way. For some sad reason, activists backed by the NZ HRC are determined to force us to see our beloved golliwogs through their poo tinted glasses. Why not change their perception of them and reinterpret them as a positive, kiwi doll that celebrates diversity? Goodness knows there are few enough brown-skinned dolls out there for children to love. The HRC should be promoting them not condemning them.

-thespinoff.co.nz


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