by Suzanne Moore
There is little ambiguity about these dolls; their literary presence spells it out. Blyton, in a Noddy story, has a naughty golliwog steal Noddy’s car. In her book Three Little Golliwogs (currently trading on eBay with the description “Banned, so bid fast!”), the characters Golly, Woggee and Nigger sing their favourite song, Ten Little Nigger Boys, which celebrates the death of 10 black children. In a 1975 edition of Agatha Christie’s 1939 mystery Ten Little Niggers, a lynched golliwog appeared on the cover.
These harmless toys for white children fully dehumanise black people to such an extent that someone such as Carol Thatcher would, in 2009, refer to a black tennis player as a golliwog. It wasn’t till that year that Hamley’s banned them. By 2011, Bill Etherbridge, a prospective Tory councillor, was thrown out of the party after posing with golliwogs on Facebook. He promptly joined Ukip and recently stood in the leadership contest. He said he was merely trying to stimulate “healthy debate”. Right. He has also written a book celebrating golliwogs called Britain: A Post-Political Correctness Society.
Golliwogs represent racism. The people who defend them really are awful.