Guest opinion: Disappointing action behind Legoland’s disappearing action

At the end of October, the original amusement park Legoland in Billund said goodbye to its best-known employee, Jan Friborg.

Longears’ last stand
Better known as ‘Chief Longears’, Friborg has proudly manned the popular Indian Camp area Legoredo, the park’s Wild West-themed department, since 1985. It is no understatement that Danes nationwide, as well as countless tourists, can remember a visit to Friborgs. campfire site and trading post scene.

Along with a rotating cast of young, white ‘Indian virgins’ over the years, Friborg has donned an extravagant costume resembling his own version of a Native American patriarch of the American West from… anytime.

He has warmed generations of visitors’ hearts with his big, friendly smile and his “Indian language” – a critical part of the original job posting he first encountered in the local newspaper almost 40 years ago – and it’s a skill he has exhibited. proudly, with short guttural phrases like “How How” and “ooga booga” (not for fun, there are video recordings).

Instead of declaring the mistake and dismissing the chief with a brief, well-modeled statement to improve their cultural understandings, officials preferred to hide Friborg’s departure while removing the entire area. Sure, it’s an overall victory, but they took the easy way out.

And the boss gets a hero’s farewell as his noble story is covered in awe, praise and gratitude throughout the region, while Legoland stages a magnificent marketing campaign to celebrate him by collecting stories and memories from guests around the world.

Guest opinion: Disappointing action behind Legoland's disappearing action

From the horse’s mouth
The struggle to get rid of the sad series of racist tropes and trends in our world continues as a game of Whack-a-Mole. Even this guest opinion represents my own need to do something more: something higher than the little good I thought I was capable of at the few meetings I had over many months with Legoland officials in Billund.

At these discussions, I was grateful to be joined by a small inspiring team: an American anthropologist, a journalist, a native Greenlander, a Danish librarian, and two high school teachers with several of their students from the Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque, New York. Mexico (via video and letter correspondence).

Reasoned answers
The perspectives of the Native American students alone were fascinating – and worthy of a whole piece alone – but unfortunately they also got some attention from the marketing staff in the park.

Some of the teens were furious at the ignorance of the park officials and staff, others just laughed as it was so idiotic that it was harmless, and one even suggested making the costumes of the ‘Indian Camp’ staff more precise instead of making it completely up with them. .

Another student begged Legoland to contact the Lakota community for input and participation. Whatever has been taken or not taken, ‘Indian Camp’ is soon no more. Lego officials have been involved in serious discussions about their park’s responsibility to combat the spread of racist, outdated stereotypes.

Long ears, closed ears
Of course, I had hoped that here in Denmark (which is widely regarded as the world’s happiest, most equal country), and right here at the headquarters of Lego (the world’s most benevolent toy company and without a doubt Denmark’s proudest invention), it would be much easier to correct this incorrectly than it turned out to be.

Stupid Legoland. Fool me.

Source: The Nordic Page





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