Bizarre Reaction in UK to a Pro-Darwin Poster

This one is difficult to believe, so you’ll have to read it all for yourself. The story is in London’s Daily Mail: The black headmistress who saw lynch mob in a parent’s poster and called police. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

For a poster advertising a primary school parents’ meeting, it is certainly unusual. Using models, it depicts scientist Charles Darwin surrounded by an angry mob wielding flaming torches and makeshift weapons.

According to the school governor who created it, City executive David Moyle, it is a satirical joke about pushy middle-class parents demanding higher standards.

There’s a picture of the poster at the newspaper’s website. Let’s read on:

Yet when black headmistress Shirley Patterson saw it, she believed it represented her surrounded by white parents.


She called the police, claiming harassment. Then a council inquiry spent weeks determining the race of the Charles Darwin figure. Now Mr Moyle [who made the poster] has been suspended from the governing body of Goodrich primary school in fashionable East Dulwich, south-east London, and is considering withdrawing his two younger children.

When you see the poster, perhaps you’ll agree with us that the headmistress may be the world’s record-holder for over-reaction. We continue:

Although the police realised Darwin was white, and said no crime had been committed, Southwark council insisted it had ‘appropriately’ investigated the ‘deeply disturbing’ poster.

The Labour authority refused to reveal details of its inquiry – which involved half a dozen officers at a time when 500 jobs are set to be cut. And it will not discuss how a model of a white, bearded, Victorian scientist could be confused with a black 21st century headmistress.

The story goes on at great length, and we know you’re going to click over to the Daily Mail to see the poster, so there’s no need for additional excerpts. But we’re left with the clear impression that there’s more to this than a mistake about the race and gender of the Darwin figure in the poster. We suspect that there’s a significant creationist sub-plot. Perhaps the full story will be told one day.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Bizarre Reaction in UK to a Pro-Darwin Poster

  1. Gabriel Hanna

    “Niggardly” and “tar baby” are now wholly lost to civil discourse, even though they have nothing to do with racism, and “black hole”, “picnic”, and “water buffalo” have also been attacked erroneously as racial epithets. Now poor Charles Darwin?

  2. Gabriel Hanna

    The university wanted to honour baseball legend Jackie Robinson by having a picnic. But the university’s equity office said this must not occur because the word “picnic” referred originally to gatherings held to lynch Blacks. In fact, as one of their own English professors (rather less committed to historical revisionism than RMC’s Dr. Robinson) pointed out, the word “picnic” actually comes from a 17th-century French word that denotes a party at which everyone brings food. But Zaheer Mustafa, the equity officer, nevertheless decreed that “picnic” not be used because “the point is — the word offends.” So the university decided to call it an “outing.” Then, homosexual students took objection to that, and SUNY decided to publicize the event without using any noun to describe it.

    And this is one reason why we can’t have nice things.

  3. The Daily Mail is like Fox Noise. It’s not a real news source

  4. Chris P says: “It’s not a real news source”

    There aren’t too many ways to interpret Darwin being surrounded by angry peasants with pitchforks, but that newspaper was strangely ambiguous about the intended meaning of the poster. They never even hinted that there may have been creationist bias in the headmistress’ complaint; yet there doesn’t seem to be any other explanation — other than insanity.

  5. I’m curious about the headmistress’s self-identification with the Darwin figure — is it on account of the bald head, or the fluffy white beard, I wonder?

  6. Gabriel Hanna

    @Chris P: Do be a lamb and point us to the factual inaccuracies and document them from a more reliable source then.

    If the Daily Mail prints that sunrise will be in the east, is it wrong? And when the Enquirer catches John Edwards with his mistress and their baby, did that not happen either?

  7. SC, I suspect you are wrong here and that there is no “creationist sub-plot” to this story. There are all kinds of crazies out there who have nothing to do with creationism, and some of these crazies are impossible to criticize without bringing down the furies of PC on your head for your temerity.

  8. MrC

    The Daily Mail is on the same journalistic level as the National Enquirer. It deliberately seeks out these types of “PC related” stories as it is a right wing rag filled with Beck like NIMBY dribble….like this story.

    No doubt said headmistress will see her career now sunk because she played the race card. It used to wash over here but now it doesnt. Spurious claims like hers mean career suicide.

    And its a shite poster

  9. Sounds like the headmistress is suffering from an incurable, vicious case of “victimitis”. Sad.

  10. The news article ought to have shown more of the poster. The picture that I saw just looks like plastic toys, and if I hadn’t have been told that the one in the center is Darwin, I wouldn’t have known it. The little guy looks like Moses in a suit.