from the state's show is not going to reduce racism. It will contribute to it.
There has been a "backlash" - a complaint - from someone in the local Kaurna community about the presence of some of these dolls in the show. My belief, shared by a number of other people, is that it was a mistake to complain and a mistake to give that complaint any publicity.
Before people start shouting me down let me explain something. My late friend R.... was a "full blood" indigenous woman. She was also a very intelligent, caring and empathetic woman. In many ways she was my "other-mother" and, if Rosie told me something, I listened. I listened even as a rebellious and angry teenager. Rosie made you listen even you didn't want to hear.
Rosie didn't just say things. She did things. One of the things she did was make her own children - a boy and girl - "golliwogs". She knitted them from a pattern in a woman's magazine because she thought they were "rather cute". She saw absolutely nothing "racist" about them at all. Her daughter had other dolls, both dark and light skinned, but the golliwog was soft and cuddly and the toy she took to bed with her.
Before I wrote this I sent a message to her son, a youth worker, asking him if he thought their toys had been racist.
This was his reply,
"Go for it Cat. There's nothing racist about them - except in the minds of people like J...." ("J" being the person who initiated the complaint.)
There was some research done somewhere once - if I could find the reference I would quote it but it was pre-internet days and doesn't appear to be on line. The research involved racial behaviour in young children from various racial backgrounds. They were given an array of dolls and asked to choose one with which to play. There were dolls of more than one racial grouping, including "black" dolls. The research showed that all the children preferenced the "white" dolls over "black" dolls.
It is difficult, but not impossible, to find "black" dolls. It is actually easier to find Asian dolls or Mexican dolls. I had a look at the big "American Girl" dolls that seem to be so popular in the United States. There were some dark skinned dolls - but the features did not look right. "Miniland" does better - but they are baby dolls. More alarmingly the "Australian Girl" site has no dark skinned dolls - all the dolls are Anglo-Saxon in appearance.
I think we need golliwogs - to have them as soft, cuddly, comfort toys that will encourage children to believe the same of people. Banning them sends the wrong message, a racist message. It is the opposite of what the complainant intends but it needs to be thought about.