The Golliwog and Minstrelsy

I’m aware enough about racial issues to know that I sometimes don’t get it. Part of it is not having a personal experience of racism. Part of it is not knowing the historical experience of blacks and other minorities.

I’m linking to a few blog entries by Pam Noles. In her blog “And We Shall March,” she writes about her life and interests, science fiction/fantasy, movies, and sometimes about the intersection of race and fiction.

I don’t know about you, but I’d always wondered where the word “wog” came from. It’s sometimes used by British people to refer to foreigners, but apparently comes from a doll (that also happens to be a racial caricature). Until reading this series of posts, I’d had no idea what the Golliwog was or how it connected to minstrelsy.

1. “When time was things was looking bright / I started to whittle on a stick one night / Who cried out stop now, that’s dynamite / Not a soul.” ***

2. “One white woman, two white girls, twenty five white men dressed up like women, made up to look like black people to entertain other white people.” ***

3. “The greatest decade in the history of mankind is over. And as presuming Ed here has so consistently pointed out, we have failed to paint it black.” ***

4. “I don’t want to have anything to do with anything black for at least a week.”

5. “In this present moment we are either smaller than we were, or else are on our knees.” ***

One thought on “The Golliwog and Minstrelsy”

  1. “Miss Macbeth had a golliwog / she chipped under the chin, / and whispered to it tenderly / and sprinkled deadly nightshade, / and it might be coincidence, but the boy down the lane / as they said, “went white as he could do,” / and then doubled over in pain.”

    — Miss Macbeth, Elvis Costello

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