November 18, 2018, 7:03

‘Racist Symbol’ or ‘Just a Toy’? Golliwog Dolls Sales Spark Outrage in Australia

‘Racist Symbol’ or ‘Just a Toy’? Golliwog Dolls Sales Spark Outrage in Australia

A tourist was stunned to see the divisive soft toys displayed in a souvenir store in one Australian shopping center and said that they should be taken off the shelves.

Hundreds of thousands of these dolls are sold each year in Australia, and the matter has spurred much controversy nationwide because of the doll’s appearance.

“I was extremely surprised. I felt very ashamed to be Australian, to come here as a white person and see that, I mean it’s 2018,” said Soyla Echeverria, the tourist that stumbled into the store. She asked the manager to remove the dolls from the front display and even to take them off the shelves.

Henrietta Marrie, an indigenous rights advocate, supported Echeverria, saying that the sale of the controversial toys represented a wider cultural problem.

“It’s a huge problem and it’s laughable this is happening in the 21st century. It’s the look, the connotation and the naming [of Golliwog dolls] which sends a negative message. Years ago it was an insult and it’s still insulting to us. It gives a negative image about who we are and what we can do.”

Social media has been divided on the matter, with some sharing the stance of the aforementioned women, saying that such toys were unacceptable in this day and age…

While others said that it was a harmless toy, adored by millions around the globe, and there was nothing racist about it:

The soft toy manufacturer Elka defended the doll.

“Traditionally, in my childhood and most certainly my mother’s, everyone had a golly and it was a beloved doll, it was so wholesome and lovely. People need to get a grip, it’s a doll. We’re talking about an innocent, benevolent, beautiful black doll,” said Jan Johnco, the company’s sales manager.

Golliwog dolls are named after a blackface minstrel-like character in Florence Kate Upton’s 1895 children’s book, entitled “The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg.”


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