THE father of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence has been left gobsmacked by the golliwog-like “Jim Crow” rock in Dunoon.

Painted black, with big red lips, and sharing a name with that of a American minstrel who became synonymous with segregation laws, the distinctive stone has often been criticised.

But to many who live in the nearby village of Hunter’s Quay, Jim Crow is a piece of local history, which has nothing to do with race, and getting rid of it is no more than political correctness gone mad.

Neville Lawrence, whose son was murdered in a brutal racially motivated attack in 1993, told the Dunoon Observer he was “really disappointed to see such a thing” during a recent trip to Argyll and Bute.

He told the paper: “I have been coming to Scotland for many years, and since my son was murdered. Before that I was part of the campaign to release Nelson Mandela which brought me there many times. There was a large group of us, 14 or so, who went into a pub in Glasgow.

“Nobody stopped and stared, it was very welcoming, and so when I returned to London I would tell people how different it was. I always look forward to coming to Scotland.

“I find it very disappointing that there is this thing that makes people feel very uncomfortable.

“We are all human beings. If you cut us, our blood is red. We do not need to have this kind of division in the world. We do not need to love each other, but we do need to respect each other.”

The infamous landmark was defaced just before Christmas, but was “restored” soon after.

It’s not the first time the rock has been altered. In 2009 two men used several tins of Drummond’s International grey paint – a preparation created by the band KLF’s Bill Drummond to paint over anything “morally or aesthetically offensive” – to completely remove the face on the rock. Days later Jim Crow was back.

Fulton McInnes, secretary of the Hunter’s Quay Community Council, said: “Every time it is raised at a meeting, the general consensus is that we should preserve Jim Crow as it has always been.”

The Jim Crow laws were enforced in the southern states of the US until 1965 and forced black people to go to separate schools, and use separate areas in public places and on public transport. It included segregated toilets, restaurants and drinking fountains.

Local MSP Michael Russell told The National there needed to be a discussion in the community about the future of Jim Crow: “I think the community should discuss whether holding on to it because of historic tradition or whether it might be better to recognise the offence it can cause. “