Golliwog dolls ignite racism storm at lolly shop
A BRISBANE lolly shop has come under fire after announcing they're still selling Golliwog dolls despite complaints that they are racist and offensive.
Aboriginal man Ben Wilson, from the Jagera people, said he noticed the dolls on display at Candy Time at Westfield Carindale when visiting family in the area last week and was offended they were for sale.
He complained to the store attendant and Candy Time's head office.
"I was absolutely appalled to see these dolls on display," he said.
"These dolls do not only offend Aboriginal people such as myself, but a number of different races from all over the globe."
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Candy Time owner Tanya Jones said the dolls, made by Australian company Elka, were faithful to the traditional doll.
The Gold Coast-based Candy Time sells the dolls at all of their 10 stores: Westfield Carindale, Garden City, Westfield Chermside, Logan Hyperdome, Westfield North Lakes, Arundel Warehouse, Westfield Helensvale, Pacific Fair, Robina Town Centre, and Caneland Central at Mackay.
"People buy them because they love them," Mrs Jones said.
"They think they are beautiful and why can't they be beautiful?"
"A lot of people get misinformed about the dolls' heritage and I think it is sad that people in society have turned something that is loving to something that has this stigma ... to something hateful.
"As a company, we stand by the sentiment that these dolls originated from love and people adore them for how beautiful they are.
"We have the occasional person who comes in and says they are about black slavery or American slavery and that's not true. That has nothing to do with this doll."
Mrs Jones said the store had carried the dolls for the past two years and were popular children's gifts.
THE HISTORY OF THE GOLLIWOG
■ Golliwog appeared as a fictional children's book character created by American author Florence Kate Upton in the late 19th century
■ The origins of the rag doll are believed to come from Egypt around the same time when British troops occupied the country
■ The Egyptian children were said to have played with black, stuffed material dolls which the soldiers brought back with them on their return
■ Their Egyptian workers wore the letters WOGS on their armbands, representing "Working On Government Service"
■ British troops also referred to the workers as "ghouls", Arabic for "desert ghost"
■ The dolls were later called "Ghuliwogs"
Originally published as Outrage over Golliwog dolls for sale