A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Do you stock golliwogs?

If so, read this story from NITV:

Racist dolls pulled from shelves at Gold Coast store

A Gold Coast store has told NITV News it has made the decision to stop selling golliwog dolls.

Staff at the Broadbeach Oasis News said that they had pulled the dolls from their shelves but declined to comment further.

The ABC reported the store had the dolls for sale alongside teddy bears, on Monday.

Once popular childhood toys, golliwogs have since been widely criticised for their racist depiction of people of colour.

The golliwog first appeared in 1895, depicted in Florence Kate Upton’s children’s book “The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls.”

The character of the golliwog was described as “a horrid sight, the blackest gnome.”

The issue has come up several times in recent years, as the dolls continue to be sold in stores around the country.

Earlier this month, a Tasmanian local government politician caused uproar when he posted a supportive comment of golliwogs online, leading to his removal from representing the Mental Health Foundation of Australia.

In 2018, the Royal Adelaide Show removed several golliwog dolls from display in response to social media outcry.

Nagarrindjeri, Kaurna man Dominic Guerrera posted photos of the dolls on Twitter.

At the time, Mr Guerrera said he was shocked the the dolls were on display.

“I think people have been a little bit blinded by the cuteness of the toy,” he said.

“Once you know what these dolls represent you should get rid of them.”

While the dolls have been removed from the shelves at Broadbeach Oasis News, the dolls are still sold in a number of other shops and online.

I accept that golliwogs are offensive and that offering them in a shop or having them on display is disrespectful to many in the community. Their racist origin and their representation of blackface mean, for me, that they have no relevant role to serve. There is nothing playful about them today.

Social responsibility

Join the discussion

  1. Graeme Day

    By promoting white dolls only -Does this emphasise white supremacy? Do Black people’s children have black dolls?
    What a ridiculous can of worms brought into being by the predjudiced.
    Black and white are colours NOT character discrimination for the character is NOT even skin deep.


  2. Mark Fletcher

    Graeme, I don’t see anything in the story urging people to promote white dolls only.

    This port is about Golliwogs. In my view they are offensive, especially to black people. For that reason alone we should not stock them in our shops.

    But, individual retailers have to make their own decisions at the moment.

    In my own shops, we have black, brown, yellow and white dolls available that look more culturally appropriate than the demonised golliwogs look. we do not sell golliwogs.

    Golliwogs represent racial insensitivity and that reflects poorly on civil society.

    I don’t care if anyone disagrees with me. That’s their right. Just as my view that we should not stock golliwogs is my right.


  3. Graeme Day

    Mark, I didn’t answers this post as one that was written from you as your point of view. In taking it this way you are setting yourself up a the judge of human thought.
    As in many past past acceptances such as Golliwogs and different names allocated or used with indifference to some of the interpretations implied today these names were NOT offensive when in use. nor were they ever meant to be this way.
    Today in our P.C. and narrow society we are becoming too cute (my opinion) which is as good as nay one elses opinion, to be judged , as is yours.
    This does not make either of us right or wrong just expressive of such for debate as you state on the last sentences of your reply
    The fact that I disagree with the over sensitivity by no means makes my comments racist nor have I “urged” people to promote these dolls.
    I certainly didn’t urge people to promote only white dolls nor did I acuse your article of such.
    My opening sentence if you care to read it properly was about “black dolls” I didn’t mention gollywogs which is a totally different argument an argument about what? the word “wog” which was used during World War11 as a perogative term which some say came from the word “Golliwog” or Golliwogs – a soft toy invented by author Florence Kate in the 1800’s. It was accepted and loved by kids for they were mostly male.
    Take a deep breath Mark and settle re read the article and understand there is a background to this and not a guilt complex to be transferred to people who can objectively look at the past without having to take sides with it or not with it.
    I accept the past as something that happened and can’t be changed or apologised for however it can be corrected by those who wish it to be.


  4. Mark Fletcher

    No, I’m owning my opinion. What others think and do is up to them.


  5. Graeme Day

    I totally agree.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reload Image