Denial is not a river in Shetland

Lemn Sissay illustration with border - Suzana Ceallais April 2013I predict Mrs Leask will not remove the Gollies from the shop. I never thought she would. I knew this before writing the original blog post.  The Gollies define her. I can guarantee that Mrs Leasks stance is not representative of the people of Shetland or Lerwick described on its own website as     “a bustling, cosmopolitan seaport with services and amenities only usually found in much larger places on the British mainland. “.  Though there ahe been complaints at least now it is on national and international record.

In The Magpies Nest I circumvented confrontation and preferred the measured honest open medium of a blog.  Also, I conformed with her transactional analysis that people like the “Gollies”. I bought one. Nothing about this was under cover, underhand or difficult to understand.  I uploaded the blog while in Shetland. These are Mrs Leasks most  popular, most  contested products. She is totally aware of their effect.   Racism feeds mostly off denial and denial  is not a river in Shetland (or Egypt even).

But why get involved in the first place? Mrs Leask, I  spoke with young people at two of your  island’s schools, I met your shopkeepers and artisans from whom I  bought cardigans and fudge. I ate fine food at Lerwick’s  restaurants each night.  I read poems on stage at your world class arts centre then under our sunrise I  walked past your shop window  and I  saw the Golliwogs that  you sourced from England. I was compelled to write because your shop window harms the reputation of your  citizens and your country and our world.

8 thoughts on “Denial is not a river in Shetland

  1. I have and live in a multi racial family,
    and belive that I am devoid of racist views and feelings.
    I would like you to know that your reaction and comments regarding these toys has incensed me.

    My generation grew up with the golliwog and it was a much loved and cherished toy ,regardless of what its
    origins may be.

    As I see it your overly sensitive view will only serve to drive a larger divide between communities.

    Well done !!!

  2. Hi Lemn, I think Morgan Freeman was right when he said the best way to stop racism, was to stop talking about it. Time to move on mate,


  3. You say you bought cardigans, I find that interesting, as you laid by a few in the Spiders web but you never bothered to let the lady know you did not want them, she assumes you do not want them now, or perhaps you are going to send her your credit card details and an address?

    What I would like to know was who paid for your fine food, was it Shetland Arts?

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