This week we were honoured to be invited to the Albury City Council Children's Services annual professional development day. As work has begun to wind up for us at this time of the year we decided to set off early with our beautiful new traveller coffee cups close at hand!
We drove slowly, taking the time to stop at beautiful quaint country towns along the way such as Berrima. We of course couldn't go past the local lolly shop.
Surprisingly in one of the stores we stumbled across a confronting shelf adorned with Golly Wogs. I shared my upset with educators on our "Koori Curriculum Educators Community" FB Page and here is what some of you had to say:
Triniti Ece JonesGolliwogs may have a place in some people's memories from a long ago childhood. However, I think they represent a two dimensional, derogatory view of People of Colour and, as such, should be retired as no longer relevant. If they are perpetuating outdated and hurtful paradigms against people who are already marginalised within their community, then why continue to sell them?
Cas Lin Bry-boIt’s a no from me...I do have a beautiful handmade doll from Africa which I bought from Oxfam years ago...authentic diversity not a caricature or joke claiming to be diversity...the issue with golliwogs is that they were always portrayed as the villain in children’s stories (hence the noddy rewrites) and they represent “blackface” from the black and white minstrel days where white men often painted their face black and performed tunes in the style of POC slaves etc
I myself find Golly Wogs incredibly offensive. I do understand that some community members may have been given these dolls as children and loved them innocently not being aware of the negative connotations that these dolls held for others. I don't believe that people should feel guilty, we don't know what we don't know. However, once we become aware of racism, unfairness and discrimination we have a social and ethical responsibility to make changes that are socially just and informed.
What are your thoughts?
Upon arriving in Albury I couldn't wait to get down to the Murray River. This is such a beautiful, still and quiet place. The perfect spot to reflect on the year that has been and connect with Wiradjuri country.
The beautiful weather lasted all of five minutes before we experienced torrential rain and our first ever Koori Curriculum flood.
Luckily we survived the flood and made it to the Council educators professional development day unscathed. I loved meeting the deadly early learning and OOSHC educators and learning about some of their connecting with country initiatives taking place with members of the local Aboriginal community.