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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,SB Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls (38) Racist Jig Dolls 08 Nov 19

Having thoroughly upset black-face (disguised) morris teams, it seems like the snowflakes have turned their attention to that most innocent of delights - jig dolls.

Recently a well known one-man band busker was taken to task for entertaining kids (and adults) with a set of jig dolls used to accompany his singing and playing.

Apparently one (maybe two) of these were what was termed 'casually racist.'


Mr [Roger] Butler - who plays a banjo, blows his kazoo, shakes a tambourine and bangs a big bass drum strapped to his back - said: "You could have knocked me down with a feather. Nobody has ever complained before so I was absolutely flabbergasted."

"When I asked her [the organiser of the event] if she was being serious, she told me, 'I am afraid so.'"

He added: "I've been using those marionettes in my act for 25 years, ever since a craftsman carved them specially for me in Durban, South Africa. He was black - so was he a racist?"

"How can a marionette [aka jig doll] be racist just because it is black? I use several other puppets of all different hues in my act, including one wearing a fez and another with a big nose."


However in the US black-face jig dolls are termed 'Americana' and fetch high prices. They are part of a long standing (jigging?) tradition of kids toys, especially from Appalachia.

Recently in this country (UK) one maker made a black policeman for a school teacher promoting folk activities amongst school kids from diverse cultural backgrounds. Being black the doll helped to break down racial and cultural barriers.

Oh - and the same maker has a wonderful black-face morris dancer jig doll dressed in tatters.

For more about jig dolls see these definitive sites:

Also search Pinterest, Google Images, Yahoo Images, Tumblr, etc., etc., using the terms "jigdolls" "jig dolls" "limberjacks", whatever.


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