So is this racist?

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  • So is this racist?
  • deadlydarcy
    Member

    Was there even a golliwog in the Alice in Wonderland story?

    Junkyard
    Member

    what about the apology for Turing being prosecuted as gay or the apology for bloody sunday ?
    have we all lost out by sanitising history or have we recognised parts of our past were wrong and done things to redress these?

    The past was a different place for sure and we do need to remember but we dont need to tolerate it or turn a blind eye to it
    There is a difference.

    would you be offended?

    you probably need the centuries of oppression and slavery to go with it to get really offended.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    As someone born Catholic, should I be offended every Bonfire Night?

    Surely we can understand historical context?

    toys19
    Member

    so could they leave it there and just create some other kind of art/installation next to it to apologise/explain for the racism?

    edlong
    Member

    No. It’s a good opportunity to teach kids about why such images are offensive. But once you start Bowdlerizing the past you’re on a very slippery slope.

    I agree with this, but there is also something about whether we still celebrate those people and things from the past who’s values no longer sit easy with contemporary acceptability, whether that’s the art itself (Enid Blyton’s been censored, or edited for taste, in the editions you can buy for your kids today) or the artist (Wagner? Eric Gill, Gary Glitter, come to that Lewis Carroll might well be helping Operation Yewtree with their enquiries today).

    Truth is, there’s no consistency, you don’t hear Gary Glitter much on the radio these days, but Eric Gill’s Prospero and Ariel still adorn Broadcasting House. Go figure. Is it better for today’s kids to be able to read Enid Blyton without mum or dad needing to have some heavy conversations about how views on people of different ethnicities have evolved? Dunno. I guess it’s always happened to an extent, from puritans chopping the genitals off classical sculpture to my mum’s 1940s copy of Shakespeare that has the knob jokes missing

    In that context, I don’t know that there is an answer to the OP’s question unless it’s “Yes, if someone finds it racist.” I’m pretty much of the view that offensiveness is like beauty – it’s in the eye of the beholder. If someone finds something offensive, then it is offensive, that’s the word “offensive” means.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
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    Junkyard – lazarus

    what about the apology for Turing being prosecuted as gay or the apology for bloody sunday ?
    have we all lost out by sanitising history or have we recognised parts of our past were wrong and done things to redress these?

    How can you redress the past? You can’t.

    You can acknowledge the ignorance and attempt to learn from it.

    toys19
    Member

    I’m pretty much of the view that offensiveness is like beauty – it’s in the eye of the beholder. If someone finds something offensive, then it is offensive, that’s the word “offensive” means.

    I agree but isn’t it then a bit dangerous to allow the “offended” to dictate what is allowed and what is not? Essentially you can choose to be offended can you not?

    radoggair
    Member

    and while we’re at it and since nudity is seen as offensive i hope all those statues are demolished.

    edlong
    Member

    the apology for Turing being prosecuted as gay

    That really boils my wee, that whole argument for a pardon etc.

    It should be for every gay person that was prosecuted or for none. That the guy was a genius who may have helped end the second world war doesn’t make what was done to him any worse than the same thing being done to any other person was.

    chewkw
    Member

    radoggair – Member

    and while we’re at it and since nudity is seen as offensive i hope all those statues are demolished.

    Nudist!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    How would you feel as a black kid seeing that every day? A reminder of the way whites looked down on your kind not that many years ago and thought it was ok to ridicule you.

    Given the history of racial oppression, the legacy of which is still pretty big, I don’t imagine I’d enjoy seeing it every day.

    If this were an ideal future where everyone really was colour kind and had been for centuries, it might be a historical thing, but it’s not.

    People don’t get upset about Guy Fawkes, but they do about Orangemen marches don’t they?

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    I saw the Turing apology essentially as a symbolic gesture (for the greater part, for sure an individual apology too.) ie. “We treated homosexual people like shit back then. This was possibly the most prominent case in recent history. We’re sorry.”

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    I agree with this, but there is also something about whether we still celebrate those people and things from the past who’s values no longer sit easy with contemporary acceptability, whether that’s the art itself (Enid Blyton’s been censored, or edited for taste, in the editions you can buy for your kids today) or the artist (Wagner? Eric Gill, Gary Glitter, come to that Lewis Carroll might well be helping Operation Yewtree with their enquiries today).

    Could we not just acknowledge them as people of their time, complete with the prejudices and failings considered normal then?

    edlong
    Member

    isn’t it then a bit dangerous to allow the “offended” to dictate what is allowed and what is not?

    I didn’t say that they should, and I’m not sure that they’re mutually exclusive.

    In this case, I think it’s perfectly possible to acknowledge the offence caused (which, while I don’t share it, I find reasonable) but still say that, as a significant, historic piece of art, it stays, the owners make clear that by keeping it they’re not condoning or agreeing with any of the connotations that can be read into it.

    It can, as has been said, be a positive learning resource, a jumping off point for a “hey kiddies, people didn’t always think about people with different coloured skin the way we do today, and what do we think about that?” conversation, and we don’t forget about our history by hiding away the uncomfortable bits.

    I’m happy with people being allowed to be offensive as they choose within the bounds of round about where we are legally, so inciting hatred or violence is about where I think someone needs to step and in say “the line is here”. I was never comfortable with that thing that happens a lot in student unions where they “won’t give a platform” to, say the BNP, or hardline islamists. Remember the furore about Nick Griffin on Question Time? Have you ever heard Nick Griffin speak? The best way to ensure that people like that have no credibility isn’t to hide them , to martyr them to “political correctness” or whatever, it’s to give them the full glare of the publicity they seek, and expose them.

    So, yep, I totally agree that letting the offended dictate what is allowed is generally not the answer, but I don’t think that’s a necessary consequence of accepting that something is offensive (to some people).

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    Could we not just acknowledge them as people of their time, complete with the prejudices and failings considered normal then?

    I think we can and do as rational adults. The debate I’d be having with myself is “Do I let my child read this and hope he realises what’s wrong with it or would I rather the nasty stuff was left out for now?” I’m trying to think back to when I would have been reading EB books and I’m not sure I had the reasoning abilities or the education to realise that what I was reading was so horrible. So did I just ignore it or did I think it was ok because it was written in a book that everybody was reading? I’m not so sure to be honest. Then again, this was Ireland which was pretty racist (through ignorance more than anything.)

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    I’m going out on limb here and going to say that its presence in a primary school now is a rather good symbol of race tolerant society!

    For those of us who grew up with gollies, or lets face it gollywogs as they were known by all of us at the time, the image and the name that the image brings to mind is a powerful symbol of a nationally racist past. The image of the doll is not in itself particularly racist but it brings back racist connotations.

    But…..for a school full of young children without these preconceived ‘issues’ with the doll, it’s just a painting of a doll. The fact that so many young people are growing up in families where racism is not indoctrinated into them from a young age or are not victims of racism should be celebrated and their ability to look at this image with different eyes to us could be seen as really rather refreshing.

    Junkyard
    Member

    Could we not just acknowledge them as people of their time, complete with the prejudices and failings considered normal then?

    we could but then we would probably have to ban the books

    you certainly could not write them now and get a publisher

    Essentially you can choose to be offended can you not?

    if this was true it would mean it was impossible for me to be offensive hall we test this hypothesis 😈
    In reality it can be both some folk are easily offended and something are offended i don think either position is universally true

    a powerful symbol of a nationally racist past

    its a caricature as well as a symbol- i am not sure how you could separate the two

    it would be like having a mincing queen doll or the stupid woman doll etc

    edlong
    Member

    Could we not just acknowledge them as people of their time, complete with the prejudices and failings considered normal then?

    Well, in the case of Lewis Carroll, there was some unease at the time, but I take your point. But how about this idea?

    In the 1960s and 1970s is was considered normal for pop stars and DJs to shag underage girls.

    chewkw
    Member

    There is always a hint of racism in all of us.

    It is just the way we express them that’s all, with some being more subtle while others direct.

    We tolerate those being subtle but fight against those being direct …

    πŸ™„

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    edlong – Member

    Well, in the case of Lewis Carroll, there was some unease at the time, but I take your point. But how about this idea?

    In the 1960s and 1970s is was considered normal for pop stars and DJs to shag underage girls

    No, it wasn’t considered normal.
    It was illegal then as it is now.

    toys19
    Member

    if this was true it would mean it was impossible for me to be offensive

    Have I missed the irony/joke here? No it would not mean it is impossible for you to be offensive, it would mean the opposite. I do not understand your reasoning here.
    Based on this definition above

    I’m pretty much of the view that offensiveness is like beauty – it’s in the eye of the beholder. If someone finds something offensive, then it is offensive, that’s the word “offensive” means.

    then if I choose to be offended by what you say or do, then you are, by definition, being offensive.

    PS answer the question on the chicken thread.

    wobbliscott
    Member

    Gollywogs were never originally intended to offend or be racists, they were completely innocent, but they’ve been misused by those who hate, just like the swastika or the St Georges Cross. I had a gollywog as a child and played with it in blissful ignorance until later on in life when I became aware of the controversy surrounding them.

    Personally I just don’t recognise any offence in the picture at the top of this thread. The person who needs educating is the person who made the complaint. I think we give these people too much air time. It serves no useful purpose to society.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    Junkyard – lazarus

    Could we not just acknowledge them as people of their time, complete with the prejudices and failings considered normal then?

    we could but then we would probably have to ban the books

    you certainly could not write them now and get a publisher

    Why would we have to ban the books?

    deadlydarcy – Member

    Could we not just acknowledge them as people of their time, complete with the prejudices and failings considered normal then?

    I think we can and do as rational adults. The debate I’d be having with myself is “Do I let my child read this and hope he realises what’s wrong with it or would I rather the nasty stuff was left out for now?”

    Could you not talk to them afterward and explain the context?

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    DD,
    Surely we should be helping our kids put their reading into some sort of context?

    I don’t disagree. But do we have to do it with every silly little adventure story they might read? There will come a time (hopefully) when he’ll read on his own without me having to check over everything he reads and do the “Now, let me tell you why this was acceptable back in the 50s/60s/70s but not now. The debate I’m having (with myself mostly) is whether he’d have the reasoning ability to know it was wrong, or even to come and ask me.

    edlong
    Member

    There is always a hint of racism in all of us.

    It might be pedantic of me to point out that there are plenty of people of a scientific bent who don’t accept the concept of race at all as it’s popularly understood.

    Given that the same prejudices are there, if you call them ethnic nationalism, certainly does seem pedantic, but at least recognising that “race” is actually a load of cobblers strips it of any veneer of pseudo-scientific rationalising.

    shermer75
    Member

    Like Amos and Andy??!? Racist!!!!!!!!!!!
    I’ve never heard that and don’t really understand it,I honestly wasn’t trying to be funny or racist.

    Sorry! I really didn’t mean for that to be taken seriously!

    Amos and Andy:

    Linky

    thegreatape
    Member

    The chemist (national chain) sold me this today, for ONE OF MY CHILDREN!

    Should I sue them, call the police or write to the Granuaid?

    grum
    Member

    I agree but isn’t it then a bit dangerous to allow the “offended” to dictate what is allowed and what is not? Essentially you can choose to be offended can you not?

    So if I follow you down the street and scream abuse at you, it’s only a problem if you ‘choose to be offended’?

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    Sorry DD, I edited as I felt your point merited a longer response. πŸ˜€

    Surely, if we bring kids up to acknowledge that humanity is a flawed, but idealistic species, they’ll get it themselves after a short while?

    Kids develop a pretty strong and reasoned sense of right or wrong on their own – prejudice usually fails if trumped by experience?

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    Could you not talk to them afterward and explain the context?

    And take all the enjoyment out of the book and be the most boooooooorrrrrring dad in the world? πŸ™‚

    Tbh, there will come a time when I know if he can process this stuff. With mrs DD and I, he’ll most likely be A little handwringer anyway (a book we were given as a present has gone into the charity bin pike because we thought it was too stereotypical and sexist FFS πŸ™„ ). There are more than enough books out there that are excellent and haven’t had to be sanitised.

    Junkyard
    Member

    if I choose to be offended by what you say or do, then you are, by definition, being offensive

    You have choose whether i am offensive not me so i cannot choose to be offensive as you decide – that was my point exactly though i may have not added enough caveats – sorry if that was unclear
    My point is I disagree as i can [ the sender] decide to be offensive if i wish and speak in an offensive manner – you say this is impossible as the sender cannot choose to be offensive as the receiver decides if it is offensive. I say this is not, always, the case. the sender can also be offensive.

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    Kids develop a pretty strong and reasoned sense of right or wrong on their own – prejudice usually fails if trumped by experience?

    I’m already banned from coughing “bastards” every time the colour orange is mentioned on the radio or tv. πŸ™

    toys19
    Member

    well I think screaming abuse might be considered as something other than offensive right? Perhaps a bit threatening? (it could be offensive too)
    I get your point though, but please be cautious. I never said it was only a problem if you choose to be offended. I said you can choose to be offended, this creates a problem. One of deciding whether the offender has actually committed a crime (or a wrong not to get caught up in the law side of things).
    I find that a bit worrying, because the offender may well have been behaving innocently, maybe legally in the right.

    As an aside, I find that if anyone does give me any shit, (like following me down the street hurling abuse) then not letting it get to me stops it from making me feel bad (ie I choose not to be offended) but this a personal choice, not one I think should be foisted on others.

    the sender can also be offensive.

    only if the recipient is offended. I think that is their choice to be offended.

    If you shout gollywog in the woods and there is no one around to hear it, is it offensive?

    Answer the chicken thread.

    edlong
    Member

    It was illegal then as it is now.

    As was smoking dope and breaking the speed limit, doesn’t mean it wasn’t normal. I’m not saying it’s justifiable, I’m just saying it was, if not normal, certainly more acceptable at least in that world, than it is today.

    John Peel said in his autobiography that he’d got a fifteen year old pregnant, it was no big deal until a year or two ago.

    I remember in the 1980s the story of Bill Wyman having a thirteen (thirteen!!) year old girlfriend was tabloid titillation, not a pending prosecution.

    Beastie Boys lyric from 1986: “The girlies I like are underage”

    (Every damn thread on here of “Oh No Not Roy Harper / Rolf Harris / Stuart Hall” has an early and predictable comment of “Every pop star from the 1970s must be crapping themselves when the doorbell goes” or similar.)

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    Tbh, there will come a time when I know if he can process this stuff. With mrs DD and I, he’ll most likely be A little handwringer anyway (a book we were given as a present has gone into the charity bin pike because we thought it was too stereotypical and sexist FFS ).

    I remember my mum & dad having the same conversations about the stuff I read as a kid. πŸ˜€

    If their whole experience of life is of a loving and inclusive home, I doubt a few old books will warp their minds to any meaningful extent.
    The constant diet of Jennings and Bunter I subjected myself to as a child hasn’t lead to me being a massive supporter of public schools or of corporal punishment.

    I do like cake though.
    πŸ™‚

    Junkyard
    Member

    I said you can choose to be offended,

    I think you can choose to ignore it and not respond but you only need to do that because it is offensive it was “hiya mate hows things? nice bike” – you do not have to choose to not be offended by that as it is not offensive

    I get your point though and it has some merit. My view is it depends on whether the offence is being taken or given and that depends
    Some stuff is just offensive some stuff is folk being easily offended by stuff not actually there Blackboard for example- though I suspect that is largely urban myth

    Answer the chicken thread

    I have

    edlong
    Member

    whether i am offensive

    I’m not sure whether or not a person can be intrinsically offensive – what you do or say might be offensive (i.e. I, or someone else, might be offended by it) but I’m not sure that you can ‘be’ offensive?

    toys19
    Member

    edlong, that is my thinking too.

    I get grum and Junkyards point in that if I walked up to a black person and shouted gollywog at them, then I am obviously choosing to be offensive. But a smart recipient, I think, would laugh and decide not to be offended. The benefit to the recipient is that they have neutralized the attack, so it stops the recipient from feeling bad. Then essentially the offender is no longer being offensive, because the recipient has chosen not to be offended.

    My youngest kid(4) finds my eldests (6) weak point and digs at it because she gets a reaction from the older one. I am forever trying to teach the older one to try and be a bit more zen like and not react, it would make her life infinitely better, and would be better for the younger one as she would soon learn that her evil ways are not effective..

    Premier Icon coolhandluke
    Subscriber

    What a load rubbish, it’s a historical painting done when a golliwog was not an insult, it was a toy doll.

    I had one! I loved it.

    The racism bit is the person who sees it as a thing for offence, it’s not the thing itself.

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    If I’m offended by something, I can choose not to show it. But offence is felt whether I show it or not.

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