A UNIVERSITY society has apologised after a picture of a golliwog was used on a poster for a debate on political correctness.
The Edinburgh University Debates Union has now withdrawn the publicity for the debate, and said the image had been used as an example of a “highly offensive caricature”.
It was too late to stop one of their four debaters pulling out, however. Fred Mackintosh, an advocate and teaching fellow at Edinburgh University’s Centre for Professional Legal Studies, said use of the golliwog was “puerile and ill considered.”
Mr Mackintosh was set to debate the motion “this house believes that political correctedness has gone too far”. He was to be joined by Edinburgh Central MSP Marco Biago.
“Our liberal society has come a long way in the way that it has recognised diversity and sought to avoid stereotyping, but there is still a lot to do.
“I chose to conclude that inclusion of a golliwog in the publicity material is simply puerile and ill-considered, rather than something more sinister, and I hope it is not indicative of a widespread lack of consideration for others within Edinburgh University Students’ Association.
“However I do not wish to be associated with such an event and those who prepared the publicity for this debate could do well to consider the need to treat others as they would wish to be treated.”
Edinburgh University Debates convener Euan McPherson said that, after listening to feedback, the advert would be changed.
He said: “We regret the image caused offence to some people, that was never our intention. Many consider the golliwog to be a highly offensive doll yet there continues to be a portion of society who believes its continual use to be appropriate.
“We understand the majority of those who commented feel there is no debate to be had not just on that issue but also political correctedness as a whole. This is not the case beyond the university community - both the golliwog and political correctedness are debated regularly in the national press. That is why we are holding a debate.”
The golliwog began as a character in children’s books in the late 19th century and was subsequently reproduced as a toy. It grew into a generic derogatory term for black people.