BLM condemns Facebook group for racist figurines sale

Last year's Black Lives Matter protest in Verulamium Park, St Albans. Picture: Stephanie Belton

Last year's Black Lives Matter protest in Verulamium Park, St Albans. Picture: Stephanie Belton - Credit: Stephanie Belton

Local Facebook sales groups are urged to be more vigilant after a row broke out over the trade of racist material.

Hundreds of complaints were posted after a collection of figurines depicting black racial stereotypes were put up for sale on one of the St Albans pages, Items For Sale In St Albans.

Nilima Patwardhan said: "I alerted this disgusting post to the St Albans For BLM Facebook group and I have also made a personal plea to my local friends to leave the group. The comments from the racists on the post were truly horrid."

A spokesperson for St Albans for BLM said: "Writer Hannah Pool once said: 'Unless you have been spat at, kicked or had eggs thrown at you, all while being called that hateful term, it is unlikely you will ever understand why a small doll causes such a big fuss'.

"Racism bleeds into things that may seem innocent. But these 'dolls' aren't innocent. They're a caricature of a caricature, based on blackfaced minstrels, embodying nasty stereotypes used to degrade black people. Meanwhile, businesses profited from the design.

"They're a painful reminder of degradation and injustice, steeped in a brutal history. You can't tell people to "get over" that pain, or justify still selling them as cute figurines "because it was different then". That this was on a local site, with people from our community, is particularly hurtful.

"There is growing awareness of why such things are wrong and lots of resources available to anyone who wants to understand how to do better."

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Ed Bailey, Labour candidate for St Peter's Ward, also raised concerns about the sale: "It’s totally unacceptable that dolls based on crude and offensive caricatures of black people are being displayed and offered for sale by a St Albans-based Facebook group.

"The posting has already caused considerable upset and distress to many. The racist origins of these items are a matter of historical fact and it’s depressing that it still needs explaining why they should not be displayed or sold.

"Similar dolls were recently removed from sale from the St Albans Vintage Market and, like eBay has done, this group should refuse to trade in the sale of items promoting racial intolerance."

The Facebook group's admin has been contacted for a comment.