Talk About Blyton!

Unlisted - Enid Blyton in general – Why do people call Blyton 'racist'?

September 20, 2009 – Taylor says: I do not understand why people call Enid Blyton racist. She is not at all means racist. She is a bit unfair on the gender business, but her books do not show any signs of racist whatsoever. What do you think, readers?
September 21, 2009 – rogoz says: Might be hard to find now, but in 1937 there was the little black doll who wanted a pink face, and those wicked Golliwogs of Toytown! They stole Noddy's car and were too black to be seen at night [or was that a parody - I can't remember ]. EB never thought she was racist because there were good and bad Golliwogs. But social class rather than racism dominated her books.
October 18, 2009 – rogoz says: And a timely update is that a brand new series of Noddy in Toyland will have no Golliwogs at all - apparently 'too controversial' according to author Sophie Smallwood who is Enid Blyton's granddaughter. It seems to be her decision rather than Chorion's. Click here.
October 22, 2009 – Nigel Rowe says: Of course, golliwogs were 'evicted' from Toytown many years ago. As Sophie Smallwood's new book is a continuation novel, it would be rather strange to re-introduce them! There would have to be much explanation as to where they had been living all these years!
October 22, 2009 – rogoz says: At Chorion, Golliwogs escaped from the Golliwog cupboard 20 years ago and are running Chorion from the marketing department. Like Zombies, we know they're there but can't prove much.
Fatty says... Fatty says: We wish to point out that this view is not necessarily shared by the management of this website.
November 16, 2009 – Ian Porterfield says: When I was much younger, I happened upon a very early edition of an Enid Blyton book and I distinctly remember a person being described as being as black as a nigger. My mother, was most upset and never bought me another one of her books again.
Fatty says... Fatty says: It must be remembered that this wasn't a derogatory term when the books were written. When reading original Blyton's, they must be read as historical novels. As black as a nigger was a very common expression back in the 50s.
June 5, 2012 – Jeni says: In fact, the French word for BLACK is "nègre", and the Spanish word for black is "negro". I paint wild ducks quite often and have done tons of research on them. One of the wild ducks I have painted is called a Melanitta nigra americana; translation: American Black duck. Obviously, "nigger" is derived from "negro" and of recent, it's viewed today as a derogatory and offensive word. I'm in agreement with Fatty - decades ago, it was simply a "description" of the darker races and not meant to be a derogatory word. That meaning came later - much later. Enid Blyton can be called anything but racist. I myself am of "Indian" origin, and I've never felt discriminated against, while reading the works of the world's greatest children's author: Enid Blyton.
Bets says... Bets says: My research tells me that negré translates to negro, and noir translates to black.
July 15, 2014 – DeanM says: If I recall rightly, from my one year of Latin at secondary school, niger was the Latin word for black. As we all know the N-Word is offensive to modern sensibilities because of its historical connotations with the slave trade, and the subsequent segregation and discrimination. In Enid's day British people simply weren't brought up to understand and empathise with other races. Until West Indian immigration began in 1948, most people would never have encountered 'a foreigner' unless they served overseas in the war or had been in imperial service overseas. I don't believe in editing old books and airbrushing history although the odd really offensive word could perhaps be substituted even if only to protect the old girl's reputation. I suggest that anything offensive wasn't malice but purely 'innocent' ignorance.
February 19, 2017 – Avan N. Cooverji says: Enid Blyton was a great children story writer. If there are any sort of racist slurs, they are done inadvertently and not meant as an insult to any race or peoples. It was a way of pointing out the peculiarities of a different culture, to show the different ways of living. May be it could have been handled more sensitively for no one likes to be looked down upon and pointed at, still all the same she has also inadvertently shown how narrow and class ridden her own English society was at that time and she would not be purposefully insulting to her own country and its values. So it was just a way of life that is depicted as it was in those times.
Fatty says... Fatty says: So true, Avan. Enid's books, as with all classics, need to be read with the era kept in mind. Which is why most updates are pointless.
August 3, 2017 – Heidi says: Enid Blytons books are a peek into history and into the values and social constructs of the era. To read Enid Blyton for me is to go back in time and see the world through the eyes of an English women of the 1940's. To edit her books is to erase history, I won't ever read an edited book of hers! They are time capsules and shouldn't be messed with. Kids these days should be allowed to experience a different historical perspective of life and not kept so encapsulated in their own time. Expand their minds, stop bubble wrappping and air brushing everything!
Daisy says... Daisy says: Couldn't agree more, Heidi.

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