Most British people don’t think golliwog dolls are racist – despite being commonly regarded as racist caricatures.
A YouGov poll surveyed 1,660 people and asked them if it was racist to sell or display a gollywog doll: 63 per cent responded ‘no’, and just 20 per cent responded ‘yes’. Seventeen per cent responded ‘I don’t know.’
The survey follows a Derbyshire shopkeeper’s decision to continue to sell gollywogs, citing that they "aren’t racist".
The manager of Matlock Bath General Store in Bath came under intense criticism after images of the doll on the shelves went viral online.
He defended the decision to sell such dolls and told Metro.co.uk:
There is nothing racist about them. They are very popular. I sell them to all minorities. I’m doing nothing wrong.
Golliwogs are black-skinned dolls with large red lips and frizzy hair and are based on a character created by Florence Kate Upton in the 19th century.
They are designed to look just like a blackface minstrel – a white person who used to paint their face black, wore bright red or pink lipstick and had big, bushy hair. The minstrel image was used to caricature black people in early 19th century America.
As it is a remnant of the past – a number of stores, including Hamleys in London, no longer stock the toys – many people had to 'Google' the word ''golliwog". Once they did, however, most had the same thought: