Slings and arrows

Eeny meeny miny moe
Catch a nigger by the toe
If he hollers let him go
Eeny meeny miny moe.Counting-out rhyme, multiple origins and versions, since before 1820

It’s often the seemingly innocent things — the song, rhyme or doll — that reflect the prejudices we have learned and buried deep.

Old ideas about race suggest who is at the bottom of the pecking order. Cartoon caricatures exaggerate and ridicule. These judgements seep into our childhood.

When does a simple toy or song overstep the mark?

My identity is one of many.

Sue, Eltham, 56More quotes

Related collection items

Explore exhibition objects

  • Golliwog - Home Made, Black Nylon, circa 1950s
  • Tambourine - Ten Little Nigger Boys, circa 1900
  • Puzzle - Little Black Sambo, circa 1950s-1960s
  • Jig Doll - Sterne Doll Company, Black Composite Face, 1940s
  • Book - Rene Henri & George Arnold, 'Toby presents Ali, Oigle & Toitle: A Tale of the Northern Territory', Hudson, 1955
  • Boxed Marionette - Hi-Lo, Lamont Puppets, circa 1954
  • Badge - Bewdiful, The Comedy Company, 1990