I’ve mentioned once or twice on the radio show that I had a rotten childhood. I won’t go into it here. Reading Enid Blyton’s books saved my life. I immersed myself in them. They were my escape from reality. As a child, my reality was a nightmare.
English Heritage has linked Enid Blyton’s books to racism and xenophobia. According to The Telegraph:
Enid Blyton’s books have been linked to “racism and xenophobia” in updated blue plaque information produced by English Heritage.
The heritage charity administers the blue plaque scheme, which has installed more than 950 signs in London commemorating historical figures.
English Heritage vowed to review all plaques for links to “contested” figures following Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, stating that objects “associated with Britain’s colonial past are offensive to many”.
Blyton’s work has now been linked to racism in updated information on the Famous Five author following the review of historic legacies.
The prolific writer composed more than 700 books after attempting her first work in 1922 at 207 Hook Road in Chessington, now in southwest London, where she worked as a governess. In 1997 a blue plaque was installed there in her honour.
Information on the plaque provided online and on an English Heritage app states Blyton’s work has been criticised “for its racism, xenophobia and lack of literary merit”.
Visitors using the official app to learn about blue plaques they encounter in London will be told about the charges against Blyton’s work.
Blyton published a book in 1966 called The Little Black Doll. In the book, the doll is called “Sambo” and is only accepted by the little girl who owns him, when he washes his “ugly black face” clean.
I couldn’t care less. That was nearly 60 years ago. Enid Blyton was a woman of her time. Attitudes were different then. Just look at TV sitcoms from that era. Racist stereotypes were the norm. It wasn’t right, but those responsible weren’t evil or even necessarily bad. They were ignorant. Times change. People change.
Has Enid Blyton not got anything in the bank? Wasn’t she responsible for turning millions of children onto the joy of reading, the magic of escaping into a book? How can she be dismissed as a xenophobe, because of The Little Black Doll or the golliwogs in Noddy?
Aren’t we the sum of all of our parts? Not in 2021. In the woke world, we’re all defined by our least flattering quality, or the last offensive opinion we expressed. That’s madness. That’s dangerous. We are complex beings, constantly evolving, emotionally as much as physically.
Last November, when I was at my lowest ebb for years and about to consign The Richie Allen Show to the dustbin of history, I bought a copy of “The Magic Faraway Tree.” I wondered what would it be like, nearly 40 years after I first read it. It was everything that it was when I was eight years-old. Thank God for Enid Blyton.
Anna Eavis, English Heritage’s curatorial director, said last year: “We need to ensure that the stories of those people already commemorated are told in full, without embellishment or excuses.”
But that’s impossible! Enid Blyton is long dead. You cannot possibly tell her story in full. You have no right to denounce her as a racist. You didn’t know her, or how she really viewed people of colour.
These woke loons can say what they like. I love Enid Blyton’s books. If I had children, I would read The Famous Five with them. Mallory Towers too. Her wonderfully diverse stories continue to entertain and educate millions of children today. That’s her legacy.