Outrage over Glasgow shops selling golliwogs


One of the racist dolls on display in the window of Cards and Gifts in Glasgow

Two shops in one of Glasgow’s busy retail areas have caused outrage by stocking and displaying golliwogs in store.

Cards and Gifts and another shop, Party, owned by the same people and located opposite each other on Sauchiehall Street both have the archaic racist dolls on their shop floors.

Golliwogs were popular in the mid-twentieth century when overt racism was still rife and such an inaccurate racist stereotype of blacks – the dolls have frizzy hair, oversized bright red lips and animal paws instead of hands – was still deemed acceptable by much of society.

A children's book by a popular children's author from the period

when such racist caricatures were the norm

“Wog” – derived from ‘golliwog’ – became a racial slur used against black people at the same time.

Therefore, in today’s more enlightened society, where racism is generally not tolerated and people recognise the sight of a golliwog quite rightly generates offense and concern.

Show Racism the Red Card Scotland’s campaign manager Nicola Hay said, "We are extremely saddened to hear that a shop in Glasgow is selling Golliwog dolls. […]

The sale of these dolls perpetuate racism as they hark back to a time when the mockery and stereotyping of black people was considered a social norm rendering black people as submissive and lesser.” She added, "We urge the public to refrain from buying such overtly racist items and we hope the shop selling Golliwogs would consider taking them out of the store as one cannot profit on the oppression of an entire community.”

One member of the public and Glasgow resident said, “It’s ridiculous in 2015 that people are still selling these things. […] They’re very offensive and I’m sure I’m not the only person to have noticed it.”

The manager of Cards and Gifts defended the shop’s decision to sell the racist dolls, saying: “They're not offensive to me and we are happy to sell them.” The manager also claimed that “a lot of people buy them."