June 16, 2007

Daddy Surfs 5: Rufty Tufty Is Dorothy Craigie's Second Most Racially Insensitive Children's Book

rufty_tufty_flies.jpg rufty_tufty_seaside.jpg

So while trying to find out what the HELL is up with a series of kid's books from as late as 1960 about characters called Nicky and Nigger, I did a Google image search for Dorothy Craigie and found little besides the Rufty Tufty series by Ruth Ainsworth.

With such adventures as Rufty Tufty At The Seaside and Rufty Tufty Flies High, I guess he's like Little Black Sambo's British cousin.

I can't surf up any discussion of Rufty Tufty, or much on Ainsworth, either. UK rare bookseller Xanadu Books has the couple of copies pictured here for sale, and discusses how many illustrations of gollies and golliwogs there are in each one.



I was born in 1979, and I had a Golliwog doll as a child(!!!). I used to dance with it - it was about 2.5 feet tall, so just the right height as a toddler dance partner. My dad was a British expat living in the midwestern US, and VERY traditional about some things - including racism. My husband has noted quite a bit of not-so-subtle racism in The Good Life, too (a British sitcom of the mid to late 70's) - one character wears a Golliwog apron while working in the kitchen, and there are repeated jokes at the expense of Asians (bad "Chinee" accents, corners of eyes pulled up, horror expressed at a Muslim family moving in next door in the "posh" neighborhood, etc).

I would like to note that, when I was at Oxford around 2000, I didn't see or hear a single incident of racism (and engaged in interracial dating without incident) - so things do seem to have evolved fast, at least among the younger generation(s).

You'll see a Golly doll in your Paper or Plastic? post from May 14th. When I lived in England in the early '90s, Robertson's Golden Shred Marmalade offered tokens that could be collected and redeemed for Golly enamel badges. This promotion was still going as recently as 2001, I gather. See Golly Corner for an example.

The 1970s? I had to convince my Australian husband that the Golliwog doll his parents sent my 1-year old was not an appropriate toy for Northern California. That was 2 years ago and it was brand new (hand made by the New Guinea expat community). They roll their eyes and mutter about political correctness. Anyway, a golliwog is a doll much like the illustrations shown above. Black, in the most literal of senses, with gigantic red lips and white eyes and hair that stands straight up. ("But white dolls aren't always realistic either!" moan my relatives.)

What about a doll that looks like a REAL black person instead, is that just stating the obvious. Or is it just obvious to someone that is not white.

golly wogs are supposed to offend blacks, they are not supposed to be realistic, so lets not play the naive game. whites arent blind apart from picasso , you whites can draw pretty realistic.

As a child I had a black shindana doll which had to be imported from the USA, as the BRITS wouldnt hear of making any dolls black.

They expected blacks to give their kids some monster goliiwog that that was created from some white persons imagination . How about if whites never had any doll apart from a puch or judy doll and blacks said thats what you all look like. then expected whites to give such things to your kids, while we made our own black dolls in our own image.

Also how would it feel if we gave punch and judy type dolls to black kids and called them honky dolls, but told our children to love them all the same, as whites couldnt help being honkies.

Do you think a white child would grow up psychologically proud of themselves if this happened. Would it be Okay for me as black adult to read stories about white honkies to white children , while black children asked why are they different.

If you think that is okay , great let met at your offspring. Otherwise let me tell you a story

" one day there were three little golliwogs no-one loved them, their mistress played with the beautiful dolls .... the golliwogs were called woggie, golly and nigger.

They had an aunt coal black, they had woolly hair, they all looked alike and their favourite tune was "ten little nigger boys" ( who died one by one in the original song , the last nigger boy hangs himself due to despair").

The front cover of "ten little niggers" by agatha christie displays a lynched golliwog ( the last little nigger boy, how droll).

Would it be okay to have a similar "ten little honkies book" with a hideous white character being lynched and would anyone mind if black adults told white children to read this classic work. If so lead me to the children.

If not, lets not pretend this is anything other golliwogs are yet another vehicle for whites to feel even more superior than they already are.

No content with the coon image, nigger image, uncle tom image , topsy image , ALLIGATOR BAIT, savage image, cannibal image, simple witted darkie image, black sambo image, mammy image, minstrel image, stump speaker image etc whites had to go and invent yet another negative image of their arch enemies the blacks.

One thing I have to ask will you ever stop doing this. You are actually in power. blacks are below you, we earn less, have crappier jobs, die quicker, get less medical attention, get worse education and those of us who do manage to get degrees (I have two), still only get to clean up after whites or serve whites.

You have it good, give it a rest will you, we know we are down there. Stop having debates between yourselves about what we should think or feel about things you have created to lampoon us. we know it is supposed to be at our expense , while we may be voiceless, we are not stupid.

It is so relentless Nigger this, coon this , golliwog this, sambo this, alligator bait.......
We get it you are in charge , but the mindless debates and illogical explanations are as lame as Enid Blytons three golliwogs book .

It has two themes golliwogs are black and they all look a like. or golliwogs all look a like and they are black. Yes we get it you cant tell the difference and we are black, but you have been saying this for five hundred years and you dont seem to be stopping.

Yes I am black my hands are black and so are my fingers. I have black legs and arms to. Yes we are black. Black Sambo was black and his mother was black and so was his father we know. His friends were also black he lived in India , where children are black yes we get it. they are not white.

Gollies hair sticks up as does mine when I dont comb it or plait it or when I want to grow an afro. This doesnt happen to whites, so I obviously amuse you. my great great great great grand parents must have also had your ancestors in stiches ( in between the daily beatings). But havent you had enough? are you not tired , of this?. Is this black lampooning and discussing among yourselves going on for infinity.

Yes calling me a golliwog doesnt offend you , I know this. Blacking up your faces makes you laugh. I cant be seen in the dark yes, that is also funny. I have thicker lips, yes that is funny too. If you exaggerate them as if I have been stung by a bee on the kisser or if I have an anaphylatic reaction on my lips, that also tickles you. But can you give me a date a time when you will stop this behaviour and I will be there to listen. Otherwise it simply yet another debate in white people talk to white people about circumstances and issues they have created in a premeditated malignant way. Cowardly, placing the owness on blacks to accept their irrational rationale via ridiculous explanations and attempting to re-write history.

Enid Blytons golliwogs were GOLLY NIGGER AND WOGGIE, not woolie waggie or whatever the PC brigade replaced him with.

Not misunderstanding there that was just plain old fashioned white supremacy and to be honest. As a Nigger I can understand her Nigger Golliwog better than the Robertson Jam Black Bufoon Gollywog.

Peace to all your whites.

Dont talk too much rot folks, as you my be re-incarnated as a black the next time around. Then you will be forced to listen to some of the drivel you have written about what its like to be black, without really knowing or bothering to ask.

No-one ever called me a golliwog with love in their eyes or kindness in their heart. 'Fraid its always been with hate, anger or in a vain attempt to make an unfunny white person popular with their white cohorts.

There are new golliwogs items being produced and sold on on ebay everyday. As someone who grew up in the 70's I find the younger generation more racist than the blatant 70's comedy. Simply because explanations on racism are so patronising and the PC young tend to speak on behalf of minorities, without listening.

One minute the PC brigade tells me how offended they find the black and white minstrel's and the blatant 70's/80's racism. The next minute the same youngsters are telling me that racism must be a figment of my imagination, because they have not personally experienced it , " so It cant possibly exist".

The new type of racism is intellectual discussion between whites on how much they have "moved on".
However the white supremacy items, the reproduction items on ebay are worst than anything in the 70's.

[edited. see below -ed.]

Before people appoint themselves citizen of the century, they should take a good hard look around and ask others if you are worthy of such an altrusitic title.

[ed. note: I very rarely edit the content of comments on DT. But I took out a giant list of examples and categories of racist memorabilia that reads like a search engine keyword list. The point is made, but the list serves no useful purpose that I can see, and I don't want it on my site.

I will also remind people to be civil and respectful of others' views. Obviously, on this topic, there is both innocence and ignorance; childhood memories that are happy and non-racist and those that are of mindblowing, undeserved pain; ingrained malice and people trying to do the right thing by their blank-slate kids.

This is not some accountability-free message board. It is--or it should be, at least--a useful forum where people will feel comfortable discussing and figuring out the complicated landscape of parenting. Race and race-related attitudes and experience are complicated, not just by our own childhoods, but by our parents and the world we inherited. How about telling me something I don't know that doesn't involve flamebaiting complaints about "PC" strawmen or bigoted collectors? -ed]

If you know it all (ed) why don't you do something about it, why do golliwogs still exist, why are they still being made.How do black parents cope with parenting their children, how complicated and heart-breaking are these things to a child. I make no apologies for my comments as that is the reality of black parents and their children.

If you have to censor a discussion this is probably not a subject you should be talking about on your website. As the world you leave behind will be identical to the one you inherited.

I have no doubt in my mind that there is nothing I can tell you that you dont know. That is the problem.

[take your chip and your shoulder and take a flying leap. The whole point of even discussing Golliwogs is that I had no freakin' idea they existed until last week, and the fact that they do exist to this day is entirely alien to me, my worldview, and my kid's upbringing. We live a multicultural world by preference, choice and design. You know what I censored was a massive laundry list of offensive search terms that'll poison my site's search results and draw flamebaiters and or racist aficionados to it ad inifinitum. You have a problem with that, then you hit the road, too. If that's the kind of inflammatory discussion you want, you're in the wrong place. -ed. is short for editor, by the way. greg.]

Chip on your shoulder thats original.No-one has ever used that one before, tsk tsk.

What venom you have no wonder you lot invented golliwogs. I can see where your ancestors got it from. The whole idea about black charictures are they are inflammatory to blacks.

I will leave you to have a nice tea time discussion about golliwogs with your self. I think what you have is called Narcissitic personality disorder.

If I have a chip on my shoulder, Epping forest seems to be growing out of your self-righteous perfect shoulders.

Chip on your shoulder , I ask you.

Leave this discussion to those who know what they are talking about. Blacks will just have to struggle on without your input, whatever you perceive that to be.

I am very sorry if i didnt sugar coat this argument for you diddums. I do know what ED stands for, education has reached the gollyland.
I promise neber to sass you again massa Greg.

Gerry B with chip on shoulder and doesnt realise when people are trying to help etc etc

[I guess, what, that I should know my place? Please move your personal insults--and if you actually have any, your constructive advice or suggestions for parents, to email. -ed.]

Well I read these books when i was young in the Uk and i adored them i used to scour the library for any new ones. I have searched high and low for a copy of one. I never thought of them as anything but something fun to read as a child. I think our world has become too politically correct these days.

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