4 comments on “Look for the Golly — the Golly on the Jar.

  1. Well, I see your point. However… I don’t think it’s appropriate to use the word “golliwog” at all.

    It was consistently used as a term of insult against Black people, and is based on the blackfaced minstrel, itself a rather racist image. While Carol Thatcher may well have meant it innocently, she did use the word to refer to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a French player of partial Congolese descent; given the word’s racist origins and the player she referred to, she really ought to have known better than to use it. It’s more or less akin to using the phrase “nigger in the woodpile“; while the intent may be entirely innocent, it’s a taboo word that justifiably offends a lot of people.

    That all being said, I think the apology should be enough; I think she used the term cluelessly, but cluelessness is not a crime.

  2. Well, I must admit, Mike, it’s not a word I would ordinarily choose to use, but I certainly don’t feel it’s inappropriate to use it at all. Yes, Thatcher’s use of the word wasn’t exactly her brightest moment but… I really worry about the possibly counter-productive effects of blithely condemning language without any real consideration for context/intent. I’m wary of “taboo” words/subjects. From a purely personal perspective, I’d rather live in a world where someone could inadvertantly offend me by saying they were “crippled with pain” than one where they where forbidden from doing so.

    Also, there’s the matter of humour. There are, it seems, more things we aren’t “allowed” to joke about these days. Yes it’s a fine line between humour and ridicule, and we do need to give appropriate consideration, but I feel we are going too far in the direction of “language prohibition”.

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