Why Is Etsy Still Profiting from Racist 'Nostalgia'?


Hey there, racist! Have you just done worn out your old golliwog toy, but you don’t know where to find a new one (political correctness gone mad, am I right!?)? Eh, don’t sweat it. Because preternaturally twee online kraft korner Etsy has got you covered. Of course.

Like, maybe you’re in the market for a “Sambo type” “Chattanooga Shoeshine Black Boy” ashtray, because you don’t have anywhere to put your cigarette, and you’re also a racist. And enough with those mass-produced, processed golliwogs—instead, how about a DIY artisanal golliwog knitting pattern? Or maybe you’re not embarrassed to purchase things that are described—in the year 2012, in their fucking Etsy profiles—as “Negro memorabilia.” Or maybe you’re just plum out of CANNIBAL FIGURINES.

Unfortunately, all that stuff is expressly against Etsy’s policies. But for some reason it isn’t going anywhere:

Etsy is refusing to follow the policies that they implemented for themselves early last year (2011) that would prohibit the sale of “…items that promote, support, or glorify hatred toward or otherwise demean people based upon: race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation…”
The items most strongly in question are Golliwog Dolls or are Golliwog related. They have been reported numerous times to Etsy’s integrity team, however the over 70 items in question remain on the sites of Etsy’s various merchants, many of whom hand make these Golliwog items to order and are not vintage.

Yeah. I mean, I GUESS the historical “artifacts” can maybe be justified as perverse collectors’ items for people who want to maintain an awareness of our nation’s ugly past. A lot of black Americans collect racist Americana and I can understand why (though, obviously, there’s no way to police the intentions of Etsy shoppers and ensure that they’re buying stuff like this for the “right” reasons). But new stuff? Knitting patterns to make your own golliwogs? If you can deduce a non-racist reason to buy one of those, kindly let me know, Hercule Poirot.

Perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of this issue is that that one would be hard pressed to find racist items of any other demographic on Etsy, which begs the question, Why is it okay to sell items that dehumanize and denigrate those that fall into the category of ‘black people’; and would there be the same lack of response were these items offensive toward the LGBTQQ community, or Asian community, or any demography that is “more likely” to be shopping or selling on Etsy?

Attention everyone who is confused: This shit is NOT OKAY. Just because you don’t understand why it’s not okay doesn’t mean it’s not not fucking okay.

Attention everyone who isn’t confused: Here’s a petition.

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