Stop Calling People Wogs!

PLEASE, Stop Calling People Wogs!

I'm taking up a bit of space and your time :) for a REALLY TEACHABLE MOMENT that arose on another thread regarding Scientologist's use of the word "wog" to describe people not in COS. This post is from the Candy Swanson on Hubbard thread, but I think the topic deserves a wider audience and a thread of it's own for those Exes who might not know about this and Scientology researchers. Here goes:

Mark was responding to a post about Yiddish:

Yes, like english it is a bit of a 'portmanteau' tongue. The basic language is derived from german dialect but it has vocabulary influnces from other languages. It originated essentially as a common dialect among jewish traders. The european jews, having been a stateless people, picked up words and ideas from among the various peoples with whom they interacted and incorporated them into the dialect.

My own basic attitude on the statement of ANY thought is to aim for accuracy in expression. Whether others understand what was said has ALWAYS been for me at best a 'secondary' consideration. For those who will understand, enough said.

Some people choose neither to exert the effort needed to understand or, for a variety of possible reasons, may not be able to follow the argument. As with my education in mathematics, students were welcome to participate in academic discussions BUT it was up to the students to be able to 'keep up'.

This is not generally received as 'sociable' way of conversing, but I consider that accuracy of expression trumps 'social nicety'. But then I'm not a particularly 'social' person and I only do the 'touchy feely' style in communication in private discourse.

Clearly, any speaker targets his speech for his expected audience. If you wish to be broadly understood, speak simply using simple vocabulary. If you are more interested in the scope of the ideas being discussed than whether all who encounter them will follow the argument at first hearing, then use whatever language you feel you need to discuss the idea in as clear and forthright a fashion as you can muster.

Anyone who wants to get their knickers in a twist because they don't like or can't understand the stated vocabulary is free to wander the world in bunched up undies. It's a choice they make for themselves. They could as easily have chosen to find out what was meant. I've never seen any particular value in targeting one's own communications for others who 'can't be bothered'.

As to the specific use of 'scientologese', wherever scientologists & ex-scientologists gather there is a reasonable expectation that those present are familiar with the lingo. They may not all like to hear it, but they are familiar with it. The presence of a few non-scientologists is not sufficient reason to expect the others to abstain completely from the use of a common jargon. Not all remarks are necessarily intended for all hearers.

That said, I do wish people would stop using the term 'wog' as it was originally a deeply offensive & racist term. In LRH's youth it was 'common as dirt', but it still indicated prejudice and was offensive. The fact that Hubbard found a 'new way' to use it does not in anyway eliminate the old baggage associated with the term.
Mark A. Baker

I mostly agree with you here Mark. But it's not just accuracy of expression of ideas or thoughts that rings the bell for me, it's communicating the emotions accurately, too, the underlying feelings behind the meaning. I see this is where folks go awry in communicating with each other all the time...even on this thread! :ohmy: :D

Knowing a teachable moment when I see one~

The use of the word wog and squirreling it into wogdom, wogish, etc. really offends me, too. I'm sure most people who use it do not know it's origins and it's meaning of the still current racist implications of superiority of lighter colored folks over darker colored folks, whatever their culture or ethnic make-up.

The word "wog" is short for and comes from "gollywog". This is a gollywog:

LYF9253249.jpg


Here's a whole book about them!:

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Golliwogg
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

...The "Golliwogg" (later "Golliwog", "golly doll") was a character in children's books in the late 19th century and depicted as a type of rag doll. It was reproduced, both by commercial and hobby toy-makers as a children's toy called the "golliwog", and had great popularity in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia, into the 1960s. The doll has very black skin, eyes rimmed in white, clown lips, and frizzy hair, and it has been described as the least known of the major anti-black caricatures in the United States.[1] While home-made golliwogs were sometimes female, the golliwog was generally male. For this reason, in the period following World War II, the golliwog was seen, along with the teddy bear, as a suitable soft toy for a young boy.

The image of the doll has become the subject of heated debate.
One aspect of the debate in its favour argues that it should be preserved and passed on as a cherished cultural artifact and childhood tradition, while opponents argue it should be retired as a relic of an earlier time when racism against those of African descent was blatant.[1] The perception of racism has reduced the popularity and sale of golliwogs as toys. Manufacturers who have used golliwogs as a motif have either withdrawn them as an icon, or changed the name. There has been wide press coverage of incidents in which the term "golliwog" has been applied to a well-known personality. The association with the also-abusive "wog" has resulted in many extant Golliwogs not being referred to as such, or being simply "Golly". Later it became popular as the "golly doll".

220px-Golliwogg1.jpg


History of the word "Gollywog":
Florence Kate Upton's Golliwogg in formal minstrel attire in Golliwogg and Friends in 1895.
There are differing versions of how the word "Golliwog" came into existence. One story is when the British soldiers were in Egypt in the 19th century, the Egyptian laborers working for the British Army were required to wear armbands with the letters W.O.G.S. indicating they were Working On Government Service and these laborers were called Ghuls (غول), an Arabic word for ghost, by the British soldiers. Children of the Egyptians played with rag dolls of black stuffed material and the British (soldiers) bought them as gifts and took them back to England with them. The dolls were called Ghuliwogs and this word later became Golliwog. Another version, with some similarities but one difference is also of the Egyptian laborers wearing the armbands with the letters W.O.G.S. The British soldiers in hilarity began calling them "wogs;" they (the Egyptian laborers) in turn then called the soldiers "Ghuls" and from these two words came the word "ghulwog" which in turn became ghuliwog, golliwog. Perhaps it was this that gave both Florence Upton and Enid Blyton the idea for the "Golliwog" character in their books.

Florence Kate Upton was born in 1873 in Flushing, New York, the daughter of English parents who had emigrated to the United States three years previously. Following the death of her father, she moved back to England with her mother and sisters when she was fourteen. There she spent several years drawing and developing her artistic skills. In order to afford tuition to art school, she illustrated a children's book entitled The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg. The 1895 book included a character named the "Golliwogg," who was first described as "a horrid sight, the blackest gnome", but who quickly turned out to be a friendly character, and is later attributed with a "kind face." A product of the blackface minstrel tradition, the character was classic "darkie" iconography. The Golliwogg had jet black skin; bright, red lips; and wild, woolly hair. He wore red trousers, a shirt with a stiff collar, red bow-tie, and a blue jacket with tails — all traditional minstrel attire. Upton's book and its many sequels were extremely successful in England, largely because of the popularity of the Golliwogg.

Upton did not trademark her character, and its name, spelled "golliwog", became the generic name for dolls and images of a similar type. The golliwog doll became a popular children's toy throughout most of the 20th century, and was incorporated into many aspects of British commerce and culture; for instance, some of Enid Blyton's books feature them, often as a villain and sometimes as heroes. Upton's Golliwogg was jovial, friendly and gallant, but some later golliwogs were sinister or menacing characters.

The golliwog contributed enormously to the spread of 'darky' iconography in Europe. It also made its way back across the Atlantic in the form of children's literature, dolls, children's china and other toys, ladies' perfume, and jewellery.

A 1920s Golliwog Perfume bottle:
220px-Perfumegolli.jpg


British jam manufacturer James Robertson & Sons used a golliwog called Golly as its mascot from 1910, after John Robertson apparently saw children playing with golliwog dolls in America. Robertson's started producing promotional Golliwog badges in the 1920s, which could be obtained in exchange for tokens gained from their products. In 1983, the company's products were boycotted by the Greater London Council as offensive, and in 1988 the character ceased to be used in television advertising. The company used to give away golliwog badges playing musical instruments or sports and other such themes. The badge collection scheme was withdrawn in 2001.

Golliwog as racist insult
After the publication of Upton's first book, the term "golliwog" was used both as a reference to the children's toy and as a generic slang term for Black people. In the UK and the Commonwealth, "golliwog" perhaps became "wog," a racial slur applied to dark-skinned people worldwide, especially those with darker skin.

In Australia many young people of Greek, Lebanese, Syrian and other Mediterranean descent have reclaimed the name "wog" as a humorous identifier. An example of this from popular Australian culture is the 2000 movie The Wog Boy starring the actor Nick Giannopoulos.

In the early 1980s, revised editions of Enid Blyton's Noddy books replaced Mr. Golly, the golliwog proprietor of the Toytown garage, with Mr. Sparks.

In March 2007, Greater Manchester Police seized two golliwogs from a shop after a complaint that the dolls were offensive.

In September, 2007, retail chain Zara put a T-shirt on sale in its UK stores with a Golliwog-looking little girl printed in the front.[citation needed] The design spurred controversy, coming only weeks after the company had been forced to pull a swastika-emblazoned handbag from its shelves, although the swastika is also a religious symbol for Hindus and Buddhists.

In September 2008, Amanda Schofield from Stockport claimed she was arrested for keeping a "golly doll" in her window. Greater Manchester Police denied this and said she was arrested after a series of complaints of alleged racially-aggravated behavior were made against her.[6]

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Thank you Mark for letting me piggyback on your post...and I know how much you hate long posts, rather than links! :p I didn't do it to annoy you personally, and I am not following you around or anything! :noevil: :innocent:

Folks. Please understand that to the rest of the non-scientologist world, "wog" is a racist slur for any dark skinned person. It is still used as such in the British Isles, where Ron picked it up. Ron KNEW this when he started using it to describe non-Scientologists.

"Worthy Oriental Gentleman" my rosy butt! :eyeroll:

gollxmas.jpg
 
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The Great Zorg

Gold Meritorious Patron
Fascinating OP! :yes: :thumbsup:

I have stopped using "wog" as a term or idea or thought years ago. It took a LOOOONG time to remove it from my mind!

Fucking hubbard and scientology! :grouch:
 

anonomog

Gold Meritorious Patron
No.

Firstly because I'm sick to death of being lectured on politically correct nonsense.

But mostly because of this:
The <b>Sci</b> usage of the term wog is to demean or devalue non scientologists.
I am a non scientologist, by using the term wog referring to myself, I am simply using it to refer to my non-sci'ness. Sci's can call me wog all they like, it means absolutely nothing more or less, to me, than I am not a Sci, never been a Sci, never will be a Sci. Thank God.

And no, I would never use the term intentionally to hurt anyone.

Context is important. No?
 

AnonyMary

Formerly Fooled - Finally Free
No.

Firstly because I'm sick to death of being lectured on politically correct nonsense.

But mostly because of this:
The <b>Sci</b> usage of the term wog is to demean or devalue non scientologists.
I am a non scientologist, by using the term wog referring to myself, I am simply using it to refer to my non-sci'ness. Sci's can call me wog all they like, it means absolutely nothing more or less, to me, than I am not a Sci, never been a Sci, never will be a Sci. Thank God.

And no, I would never use the term intentionally to hurt anyone.

Context is important. No?

try using it like this: "wog"
 

namaste

Silver Meritorious Patron
Scientologists seem to like to feel superior to others for no reason. This is another way of doing it.

But I distinctly remember reading the LRH policy letter or whatever on the subject and he said that WOG stands for Worthy Oriental Gentleman and that was a term for someone who just doesn't do too much of any real value (to delightfully give some verbal data on it :D ) -- sort of a good-for-nothing individual.
 
O.K.

No.

Firstly because I'm sick to death of being lectured on politically correct nonsense.

But mostly because of this:
The <b>Sci</b> usage of the term wog is to demean or devalue non scientologists.
I am a non scientologist, by using the term wog referring to myself, I am simply using it to refer to my non-sci'ness. Sci's can call me wog all they like, it means absolutely nothing more or less, to me, than I am not a Sci, never been a Sci, never will be a Sci. Thank God.

And no, I would never use the term intentionally to hurt anyone.

Context is important. No?

O.K. That's your choice to use language that most find offensive, given the truth about it's history and cultural background. I am a non also, and I use it only when talking with Exes to help ease communication with them...but I'm really thinking that I should stop using it altogether.

What you call political correctness has it's origin in words being used to cause active hurt and harm to people, to marginalize them, deny their human legal rights, etc. Especially historically oppressed groups, such as women, homosexuals, or people or color. Think of the Scientology use and meaning of SP. SP's may, by Ron ordered COS doctrine, be actively harmed as a benefit to the COS.

How many rights do you think we wogs would have in a COS ordered world?

The point I want to make is that Ron understood and meant it to be marginalizing and offensive...as in, we're better than all those wogs.

As in, don't waste your life working a wog job when you can be in the Sea Org. My Ex-SO friend actually had a recruiter use this on him! :no:

Just be aware that it is a fighting word to many...just like the "N" word or the "F" word is!
 

dianaclass8

Silver Meritorious Patron
I always had the idea that in Scientology wog meant someone who does not have an desire for higher spiritual and ethical levels. Someone who is only interested in shopping at the mall, someone who is only interested in material things, who use credit cards, vote for his party wether right or wrong, someone who likes the status quo and it is content with being controlled by the goverment and the powers that be. A wog. I never thought of it as derogatory...
 

Dulloldfart

Squirrel Extraordinaire
I always had the idea that in Scientology wog meant someone who does not have an desire for higher spiritual and ethical levels. Someone who is only interested in shopping at the mall, someone who is only interested in material things, who use credit cards, vote for his party wether right or wrong, someone who likes the status quo and it is content with being controlled by the goverment and the powers that be. A wog. I never thought of it as derogatory...

Agreed. That was the way Hubbard presented it. The Tech Dictionary helpfully backed up this view, saying:

WOG, 1. worthy Oriental gentleman. This means a common ordinary run-of-
the-mill garden-variety humanoid. (SH Spec 82, 6611C29) 2. a wog is
somebody who isn’t even trying. (SH Spec 73, 6608C02)​

However, it's just Hubbard extending the meaning of a racist (i.e., not our race) slur to a far larger group (i.e., not our cult). And most of us bought it. :)

Paul
 

anonomog

Gold Meritorious Patron
O.K. That's your choice to use language that most find offensive, given the truth about it's history and cultural background. I am a non also, and I use it only when talking with Exes to help ease communication with them...but I'm really thinking that I should stop using it altogether.

What you call political correctness has it's origin in words being used to cause active hurt and harm to people, to marginalize them, deny their human legal rights, etc. Especially historically oppressed groups, such as women, homosexuals, or people or color. Think of the Scientology use and meaning of SP. SP's may, by Ron ordered COS doctrine, be actively harmed as a benefit to the COS.

How many rights do you think we wogs would have in a COS ordered world?

The point I want to make is that Ron understood and meant it to be marginalizing and offensive...as in, we're better than all those wogs.

As in, don't waste your life working a wog job when you can be in the Sea Org. My Ex-SO friend actually had a recruiter use this on him! :no:

Just be aware that it is a fighting word to many...just like the "N" word or the "F" word is!

You have missed my point.

I have been told to fuck off and those words have left me laughing and I've been told to fuck off and those words have left me angry.
Its context.

In this context a wog is someone who didn't get trapped in the game Hubbard created, who has power over his or her life, who gets paid greater than minimum wage, who is allowed to make decisions and read what he or she likes.
This context has reversed the negative power Hubbard gave the word to further indoctrinate and frighten his followers.

I am well aware of what the word means to human rights. I understand where you are coming from. Hubbard used the word to denigrate the entire human race outside his very small cult. Why give his interpretation power.

Will someone insist we start calling dainty davey a person of restricted growth now?
 

shadow

Patron with Honors
The term may have use when talking to some still in scn. Using the term for yourself indicates that button is flat and has no power over you; or to the really indoctrinated it may mean you are too stupid to know you are denigrating yourself. I guess since most still in are likely the second case....this would backfire.
Oh well, started out as a useful thought but, whatever.:duh:
 

secretiveoldfag

Silver Meritorious Patron
I always understood that WOG meant Wiley Oriental Gentleman, and was both racial and denigrating.

But as a child I had a golly I liked very much, and there was no link in my mind between between my golly and real life.

Hubbard certainly meant to be offensive but I always found his choice of term something of a joke. Meaningless, really. In my own terms wog is cognate with fag. It could be offensive but the way I use it it is only means a person, a guy, one of us. Whoever we are.
 
A

Annonny

Guest
I call myself as muggle when I refer to the fact that I was never a scientologist. It's a pretty good term I think and totally harmless.
 
More Cultural History of Golliwogs

From the British website: http://www.golliwogg.co.uk/history.htm

Golliwog History

"The Golliwog (originally spelled Golliwogg) began life as a story book character created by Florence Kate Upton. Upton was born in 1873 in Flushing, New York, to English parents who had emigrated 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 returned to England. For several years she honed her skills as an artist. Unable to afford art school, Upton illustrated her own children's book in the hope of raising tuition money.

In 1895, her book, entitled "The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg", was published in London. Upton drew the illustrations, and her mother, Bertha Upton, wrote the accompanying verse. The book's main characters were two Dutch dolls, Peg and Sarah Jane, and the Golliwogg. The story begins with Peg and Sara Jane, on the loose in a toy shop, encountering "a horrid sight, the blackest gnome." The little black "gnome" wore bright red trousers, 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 caricature. She named him Golliwogg.
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The Golliwogg was based on a Black minstrel doll that Upton had played with as a small child in New York. The then-nameless "Negro minstrel doll" was treated roughly by the Upton children. Upton reminiscenced: "Seated upon a flowerpot in the garden, his kindly face was a target for rubber balls..., the game being to knock him over backwards. It pains me now to think of those little rag legs flying ignominiously over his head, yet that was a long time ago, and before he had become a personality.... We knew he was ugly!"
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Nevertheless, "The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg" was immensely popular in England, and Golliwogg became a national star. For the next fourteen years, Bertha and Florence Upton created a total of thirteen books featuring Golliwogg and his adventures, travelling to such "exotic" places as Africa and the North Pole, accompanied by his friends, the Dutch Dolls. In those books the Uptons put the Golliwogg first in every title.

Growing Popularity...

The Uptons did not copyright the Golliwogg, and the image entered into public domain. The Golliwogg name was changed to Golliwog, and he became a common toyland character in children's books. The Upton Golliwogg was adventurous and sometimes silly, but, in the main, gallant and "lovable," albeit, unsightly. Later Golliwogs were often unkind, mean-spirited, and even more visually hideous.

Golliwogg doll, circa 1880:
golliwogg-1880.jpg


The earliest Golliwog dolls were rag dolls made by parents for their children. Many thousands were made. During the early twentieth century, many prominent doll manufacturers began producing Golliwog dolls. The major Golliwog producers were Steiff, Schuco, and Levin, all three Germany companies, and Merrythought and Deans, both from Great Britain.

The Steiff Company is the most notable maker of Golliwog dolls. In 1908 Steiff became the first company to mass produce and distribute Golliwog dolls. Today, these early Steiff dolls sell for $10,000 to $15,000 each, making them the most expensive Golliwog collectibles. Some Steiff Golliwogs have been especially offensive, for example, in the 1970s they produced a Golliwog who looked like a woolly haired gorilla. In 1995, on the 100th anniversary of the Golliwog creation, Steiff produced two Golliwog dolls, including the company's first girl Golliwog.
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During the first half of the twentieth century, the Golliwog doll was a favourite children's soft toy in Europe. Only the Teddy Bear exceeded the Golliwog in popularity. Small children slept with their black dolls. Many White Europeans still speak with nostalgic sentiment about their childhood gollies. Sir Kenneth Clark, the noted art historian, claimed that the Golliwogs of his childhood were, "examples of chivalry, far more persuasive than the unconvincing Knights of the Arthurian legend." The French composer Claude Debussy was so enthralled by the Golliwogs in his daughter's books that one movement of his Children's Corner Suite is entitled "The Golliwog's Cakewalk." The Golliwog was a mixture of bravery, adventurousness, and love - for White children.
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A National Institution

The Golliwog is inextricably linked with the famous English preserves company, James Robertson & Sons.

Robertson's Jams has been using the smiling Golliwog as its logo since the 1920s, and still does. Despite much criticism during the 1960s and '70s, they simply changed their logo's name to 'Golly', and continued to stand by their trusty mascot. Consequently, the collecting of Robertson's Golly memorabilia is a hobby in itself, with a vast array of promotional material and items to be collected.

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Over the last seventy years Robertson's must have given away (in return for 'Golly' tokens collected from their products) hundreds of thousands of Golly items. A good proportion of these are Golly pins (or brooches), which were the first type of premiums they produced, and they are still making today. Serious Robertson's collectors may have thousands in their collections. Other Robertson's Golly memorabilia includes such things as clocks, watches, tableware, porcelain figurines, jewelry, aprons, knitting patterns, dolls, pencils, erasers, and, of course, the Golly tokens themselves.

A classic Robertson's Jam Golly badge from the 1970s:
70s_standard.gif

Nevertheless, Robertson's Golly badges still remain highly collectable, with the very rarest sometimes selling for more than £1,000, and even comparatively common and recent badges being worth £2.00–£3.00."
 
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AnonyMary

Formerly Fooled - Finally Free
Golliwog was also the original name of the rock band Credence Clearwater Revival. They sometimes performed the song "Brown-Eyed Girl" (not the Van Morrison tune), dressed in white afros. This is not to suggest that they were racists, only to show that golliwogs were a part -- albeit, a small one -- in American culture.

:whistling:
 
Minstrel Show Caricature Spin Off!

(I shortened my earlier post at Ladybird's request for ease in reading...sorry guys, I'm an Academic...you have no idea the walls of text I have waded through~ and written in my lifetime! :eyeroll:)

:ohmy: Good God! The Gollywog doll iconic image is also an outgrowth of American Blackface Minstrel Shows! :duh: Arrrg! In and of itself a racist institution...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From Ferris State University website:
http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/golliwog/

"In the 1960s relations between Blacks and Whites in England were often characterized by conflict. This racial antagonism resulted from many factors, including: the arrival of increasing numbers of colored immigrants; minorities' unwillingness to accommodate themselves to old patterns of racial and ethnic subordination; and, the fear among many Whites that England was losing its national character. British culture was also influenced by images -- often brutal -- of racial conflict occurring in the United States.

In this climate the Golliwog doll and other Golliwog emblems were seen as symbols of racial insensitivity. Many books containing Golliwogs were withdrawn from public libraries, and the manufacturing of Golliwog dolls dwindled as the demand for Golliwogs decreased. Many items with Golliwog images were destroyed. Despite much criticism, James Robertson & Sons did not discontinue its use of the Golliwog as a mascot. The Camden Committee for Community Relations led a petition drive for signatures to send to the Robertson Company. The National Committee on Racism in Children's Books also publicly criticized Robertson's use of the Golly in its advertising. Other organizations called for a boycott of Robertson's products; nevertheless, the company has continued to use the Golliwog as its trademark in many countries, including the United Kingdom, although it was removed from Robertson's packaging in the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong.

In many ways the campaign to ban Golliwogs was similar to the American campaign against Little Black Sambo. In both cases racial minorities and sympathetic Whites argued that these images demeaned Blacks and hurt the psyches of minority children. Civil rights organizations led both campaigns, and White civic and political leaders eventually joined the effort to ban the offensive caricatures. In the anti-Golliwog campaign, numerous British parliamentarians publicly lambasted the Golliwog image as racist, including, Tony Benn, Shirley Williams, and David Owen.

The claim that Golliwogs are racist is supported by literary depictions by writers such as Enid Blyton. Unlike Florence Upton's, Blyton's Golliwogs were often rude, mischievous, elfin villains. In Blyton's book, Here Comes Noddy Again, a Golliwog asks the hero for help, then steals his car. Blyton, one of the most prolific European writers, included the Golliwogs in many stories, but she only wrote three books primarily about Golliwogs: The Three Golliwogs (1944), The Proud Golliwog (1951), and The Golliwog Grumbled (1953). Her depictions of Golliwogs are, by contemporary standards, racially insensitive. An excerpt from The Three Golliwogs is illustrative:

"Once the three bold golliwogs, Golly, Woggie, and Nigger, decided to go for a walk to Bumble-Bee Common. Golly wasn't quite ready so Woggie and Nigger said they would start off without him, and Golly would catch them up as soon as he could. So off went Woogie and Nigger, arm-in-arm, singing merrily their favourite song -- which, as you may guess, was Ten Little Nigger Boys."

Ten Little Niggers is the name of a children's poem, sometimes set to music, which celebrates the deaths of ten Black children, one-by-one. The Three Golliwogs was reprinted as recently as 1968, and it still contained the above passage. Ten Little Niggers15 was also the name of a 1939 Agatha Christie novel, whose cover showed a Golliwog lynched, hanging from a noose. (Edit by Sweetness~ this is especially egregious when you know America's history of lynching black people, especially black men.:nervous:)
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The Golliwog's reputation and popularity were also hurt by the association with the word wog. Apparently derived from the word Golliwog, wog is an English slur against dark-skinned people, especially Middle or Far East foreigners. During World War II the word wog was used by the British Army in North Africa, mainly as a slur against dark-skinned Arabs. In the 1960s the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, one of the most noted regiments in the British Army, wore a Robertson's golly brooch for each Arab they had killed. After the war, wog became a more general slur against brown-skinned people. As a racial epithet, it is comparable to nigger or spic, though its usage extends beyond any single ethnic group. Dark-skinned people in England, Germany, and Australia are derisively called wogs. In the year 2000, a British police officer was fired for referring to an Asian colleague as a wog. The association of wog with racial minorities is also seen with the word wog-box, which is slang for a large portable music box, the European counterpart of the ghetto blaster. The wog-box is also called a "Third World briefcase."

Some Golliwog supporters tried to distance themselves from the wog slur by dropping it from the word golliwog. James Robertson & Sons, for example, has always referred to its golliwog as "Golly." In the late 1980s, when the anti-Golliwog campaign reached its height, many small manufacturers of the golliwogs began using the names Golly or Golli, instead of Golliwog. Not surprisingly, the words Golliwog, Golly, and Golli are now all used as racially descriptive terms, although they are not as demeaning as wog.

Golliwog is a racial slur in Germany, England, Ireland, Greece, and Australia. Interestingly, it is sometimes applied to dark-skinned Whites, as well as brown-skinned persons. Golliwog is also a common name for black pets, especially dogs, in European countries -- much as nigger was once popular as a pet name. Golliwog was also the original name of the rock band Credence Clearwater Revival. They sometimes performed the song "Brown-Eyed Girl" (not the Van Morrison tune), dressed in white afros. This is not to suggest that they were racists, only to show that golliwogs were a part -- albeit, a small one -- in American culture.

The Golliwog celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 1995. Golliwog collectibles, which always had a loyal following, again boomed on the secondary market. This popularity continues today and is evidenced by numerous eBay and Yahoo internet auctions and the presence of several international Golliwog organizations.
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A pro-Golliwog viewpoint can be found at the International Golliwog Collectors Club's website: www.teddybears.com/golliwog/direct.html. Many collectors, primarily though not exclusively Whites, contend that the anti-Golliwog movement represents political correctness at its worst. They argue that the Golliwog is just a doll, and that the original Florence Upton creation was not racist, intentionally or unintentionally -- this is reminiscent of the claims about Helen Bannerman's Little Black Sambo (Read the Picaninny Caricature essay on this website for a more in-depth discussion of Little Black Sambo).

Critics of the Golliwog have launched a new attack. They are trying to get the image removed from all newly published children's books, and they are trying to force businesses to not use the Golliwog as a trademark. The Black Trinidadian writer, Darcus Howe, said, "English [White] people never give up. Golliwogs have gone and should stay gone. They appeal to White English sentiment and will do so until the end of time." Gerry German, of the Working Group Against Racism in Children's Resources, was quoted in The Voice, a Black newspaper, as saying: "I find it appalling that any organization in this day and age can produce anything which would commemorate the golliwog. It is an offensive caricature of Black people."

The Golliwog was created during a racist era. He was drawn as a caricature of a minstrel -- which itself represented a demeaning image of Blacks. There is racial stereotyping of Black people in Florence Upton's books, including The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls -- such as the Black minstrel playing a banjo on page 45. It appears that the Golliwog was another expression of Upton's racial insensitivity. Certainly later Golliwogs often reflected negative beliefs about Blacks -- thieves, miscreants, incompetents. There is little doubt that the words associated with Golliwog -- Golly, Golli, Wog, and Golliwog, itself -- are often used as racial slurs. Finally, the resurgence of interest in the Golliwog is not found primarily among children, but instead is found among adults, some nostalgic, others with financial interests.

© Dr. David Pilgrim, Professor of Sociology
Ferris State University
Nov., 2000"

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