What are dollies and why are they considered racist?


A husband and wife have defied police by perpetrating to keep their collection of antique golliwog dolls on display at their pub after officers raided the site.
Benice Ryley, 61, and her husband Chris, 65, were visited by police after someone made a nameless complaint about the pair committing a “hate crime” by showing the golliwogs – seizing a number of dolls from the White Hart pub in Grays, Essex.
Since then, Ryley declares customers have been singing “Save the Gollies”, demanding the return of the dolls, which are nationally considered to be racist caricatures of black people.
Ms. Ryley has called the incident “political correctness gone out of control”, declaring that she is putting the endure dolls from her collection on display.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman reportedly considered the seizure a waste of police resources, which has left some people enormously disturbed.

The Racist Connotations of the Term “Dolly” for Romani People

Lawyer and political campaigner Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu accused Braverman of trying to “normalize racism”, and propose she should be prosecuted for doing so.
Scottish political activist Aamer Anwar said the home assistant is “turning back the clock to the 1970s, acting as a cheerleader for the far-right” by authorizing an “ugly, nasty racist trope”.
Here, Yahoo News describes the history of the character and why it is considered so offensive today.
The Golliwog (originally spelled Golliwogg) is the least-known major anti-black cartoon in the United States. Golliwogs are malformed creatures,1 with very dark, often jet-black skin, large white-rimmed eyes, red or white clown lips, and wild, frizzy hair.2 Typically, it’s a male adorned in a jacket, trousers, bow tie, and stand-up collar in an amalgam of red, white, blue, and sometimes yellow colors. The golliwog image, popular in England and other European countries, is found on a variation of items, including postcards, jam jars, paperweights, brooches, wallets, fragrance bottles, wooden puzzles, sheet music, wallpaper, pottery, jewelry, greeting cards, clocks, and dolls. For the past four decades, Europeans have talked over whether the Golliwog is a lovable icon or a racist symbol.

The Golliwog began life as a storybook character produced by Florence Kate Upton. Upton was born in 1873 in Flushing, New York, to English parents who had defected to the United States in 1870. She was the second of four children. When Upton was fourteen, her father died and, shortly thereafter, the family come back to England. For several years she honed her expertise as an artist. Unable to afford art school, Upton illustrated her own children’s book in the hope of elevating tuition money.
In 1895, her book, qualify The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls, was issued in London. Upton drew the picture, and her mother, Bertha Upton, note the go-with verse. The book’s main personalities were two Dutch dolls, Peg and Sarah Jane, and the Golliwogg. The story starts with Peg and Sara Jane, on the loose in a toy shop, encountering “a horrid sight, the dark gnome.” The little black “gnome” wore bright red pants, a red bow tie on a high-collared white shirt, and a blue swallow-tailed coat. He was a caricature of American black-faced minstrels — in effect, the caricature of a cartoon. She named him Golliwogg.

Examining the Historical and Contemporary Contexts of Discrimination

The Golliwogg was found on a Black minstrel doll that Upton had played with as a small child in New York. The then-nameless “Negro minstrel doll” was handled fiercely by the Upton children. Upton reminiscences: “Seated upon a flowerpot in the garden, his kindly face was a target for rubber balls…, the game being to bang him over backward. It pains me now to think of those little rag legs airborne ignominiously over his head, yet that was a long time ago, and before he had become a nature… We knew he was ugly!” (Johnson).
Upton’s Golliwogg character, like the cloth doll which inspired it, was ugly. He was often drawn with paws rather than hands and feet. He had a coal-black face, thick lips, wide eyes, and a heap of long unruly hair.3 He was a cross between a dwarf-sized black musician and an animal. The appearance was the warp and frightening (MacGregor, p. 125).

Florence Upton’s ugly little design was embraced by the English public. The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls was extremely popular in England, and Golliwogg became a national star. The second printing of the book was rebaptized The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg. For the next fourteen years, Bertha and Florence Upton created twelve more books featuring Golliwogg and his adventures, traveling to such “exotic” places as Africa and the North Pole, going with his friends, the Dutch Dolls (“Golliwog History”, n.d.). In those books, the Uptons put the Golliwogg first in each title.

About the author

Olivia Wilson
By Olivia Wilson


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