Golly Blogging headlines the Shetland Times

IMG_9535Today the story broke in The Shetland Times . The headline reads “Shop owner considers closing after critisism for selling gollywog dolls”.  I read poetry at Wordplay Festival in Shetland Island.  It’s a most beautiful  area of Britain.  On an early walk  I came across a gang of gollywogs in a  shop window.    The shop is called The Magpies Nest.   The next day I went in,  met the shopkeeper and bought one.

When in greatest need the written word is my shield and when in even   greater need it is my sword. I wrote about The Magpies Nest, its golllywogs and of my encounter.   Today the story broke on Shetland Island and the headline reads ” Shop owner considers closing after critisism for selling gollywog dolls”. IMG_9487

No need to close the shop.  Ex Shetland resident Samantha Jack says “Even the queen had them taken out of the Sandringham shop and the royals aren’t exactly known for their anti-racist activism!”.  Mrs Leask  – the shopkeeper of Magpies Nest –  could be like the queen. She doesn’t need to close the shop. Anti racism is an open house.



16 thoughts on “Golly Blogging headlines the Shetland Times

  1. XX a time when white people believed (really believed) they were superior and black people inferior..X And… that is NOT the case?

    Why are all your engineering projects in Africa built by… WHITES?

    Why was it WHITES that showed the camel shaggers how to drill for oil, and STILL do in a lot of cases?

    Why, when, according to THEORY, we all climbed out of the same cave, at the same time, we build Rome, Paris, Notre Damme, Köln, London, The Greek, and Roman Empires, (O.K. O.K, but they are NEARLY white) listen to/read Plato, Schöppenauer and Shakespere, send men to the moon, yet all YOU lot have done in ALL this time is sit under a tree, get chased by a couple of lions, and shit in your own drinking water, whilst waiting for the big…. (WHITE) truck with all those goodies from the mighty God “U.N”?

    XX white people believe(d) they were superior and black people inferior.XX

    And I think there is enough evidence there to prove the hypothosis.

  2. As a born and bred Shetlander*, I would like to strongly voice my support for you in speaking out about this Dr Sissay. I’m contemptuous of the huge amount of racist apologetics going on in the comments section of The Shetland Times website and the racist attacks you’re receiving here also. And I’m contemptuous of Mrs Leask’s insistence on selling these racist dolls despite being given ample opportunity to understand why they are demonstrably harmful, to the point that she’d rather close her shop than just stop selling them – that is quite a commitment!

    I’m so very sorry you are having to weather this kind of hate speech and racist apologetics from people in our community. You handle it with grace. I support your stance on this 100%, and I know many of my friends and loved ones do too. We will speak out in solidarity and continue trying to make our community (and any others we may already be members of, or may join in future) a safer and more compassionate place for POC.

    On a different note, your performance at Wordplay was fantastic. Thanks very much for coming here and letting us enjoy your work. I hope to see you perform again in future.

    *I stress this only because I have seen people speaking out in support of you dismissed because they’re not “real” Shetlanders aka they weren’t born here or some other arbitrary definition that can be pulled out when it suits as a way to dismiss a legitimate point. Anyone who self identifies as a Shetlander, is a Shetlander, in my book.

  3. Well said Elle.
    Very restrained actually. I am more angry.

    Is there such a thing as ‘progress’? I don’t know
    Is there such a thing as human dignity. I feel it yes but can’t say why

    Let the sunlight in. Let the sunlight in and burn out the disease

    • You’re right about letting the light in Derick, thank you. I initially agreed with the comment on The Shetland Times article saying that the racist comments should have been heavily moderated (or deleted) because, like that commenter, I felt that Dr Sissay shouldn’t have to undergo such horrible racist attacks on his person in order for those of us living with white privilege to realise just how bad the racism here really is. And I still stand by that as a default position for any bigoted attacks against an individual in the first instance. However, I have heard now that Dr Sissay is okay with weathering these attacks in order to bring light to how bad things are, and I respect and support that choice and will continue raising awareness locally in solidarity of that choice.

      I admire your choice Dr Sissay, I know I would find attacks on my identity of the sort you’re receiving to be incredibly emotionally taxing, and I sincerely hope you’re also receiving the support you deserve.

      I’m so very, very, very angry about this. My writing perhaps doesn’t express the depths of my feeling, but I am angry, as are many people I know, and determined to bring forth change as a result.

        • To be truly free you have to begin with forgiveness and to be quite honest Mr Sissay I’m not sure you’ve reached that point yet.

          • As has been stated here by many I also did not agree with derogatory comments made about you on various forums but I agree in principle that you went the wrong way around things and I can’t condone the inappropriate comments made about the shop keeper. I imagine your comments hurt her very much. You say “hurt people hurt people” and it could be argued that this actually may apply to yourself more that you care admit?

    • That is the question I have been pondering “what is progress?” I assume that you think that getting rid of the doll is “progress”. But is it really? The problem is that the doll has evolved into something completely different and so far removed from what it stood for originally that people today no longer can relate to that or view it as relevent. I did not know the history of the golly doll but it’s appearance came when there was much discrimination in the world not just against black people. But today many people view it as cute and endearing – is that not progression? Is that not something positive? If I felt the doll promoted racism or discrimination against black people today I would certainly be the first person to be asking for these dolls to be resigned to the dustbins of history, but I don’t think that they do and because they symbolize for many people something completely different then maybe it is a measure of how far we have actually come in race relations? It would actually be far easier to say “just get rid of them” but then where do we stop? Just google Olympic Games and racism (and sexism) and all the controversy surrounding the games and we would also need to be asking for the games to be banned, which in my mind leads to racism/sexism which is on-going and blatant and much more current then a rag-doll from a bygone era.

  4. I can only echo Elle’s post and wish I could express myself so eloquently. As a Shetlander by nature and nurture too, I can assure readers that the vast majority of people I know in Shetland are very uncomfortable with the levels of ire displayed towards Lemn by a very vocal minority. More power to your elbow sir!

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