Arizona Did It Again, Miller Valley Elementary, Steve Blair, And Make Those Kids Look Less Brown And More White Please

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The artists who painted the mural

Is it just me or does Arizona have some things to work out?

In the latest blight upon the state, apparently no one wants a mural with kids of color on it especially when the the kid of color is the one actually being featured.

Artists who painted a mural at an elementary school in Prescott depicting four students, with the most prominent being a Hispanic boy, were asked to lighten the faces amid taunts and tensions.

R.E. Wall, the artist who heads the Prescott Downtown Mural Project, told a local newspaper passersby regularly shouted racially charged comments at his group while they were creating the mural at the Miller Valley Elementary School.

"You're desecrating our school," "Get the ni---- off the wall," "Get the sp-- off the wall," were common, Wall said. "The pressure stayed up consistently," Wall said. "We had two months of cars shouting at us."
Yeah. I know.

And like always (at least it seems to be the case these days) there's a politician involved.

The ranting of one city councilman seems to have revved up the controversy in the community. "Art is in the eye of the beholder, but I say [the mural] looks like graffiti in L.A.," Councilman Steve Blair said.

"I am not a racist individual," Blair said on a radio show last month, "but I will tell you depicting a black guy in the middle of that mural, based upon who's President of the United States today and based upon the history of this community, when I grew up we had four black families - who I have been very good friends with for years - to depict the biggest picture on that building as a black person, I would have to ask the question, 'Why?'"
Oh yeah. There's a principle involved too.

The school's principal, Jeff Lane, told the newspaper he asked the artists to "remove some shadowing that made the faces darker than they are."
And yes, they did in fact start lightening up the mural so the kids would appear more "radiant and happy."

But Don't Fear. All Is Well Now...Sort Of

The good news is that non-racist common sense finally seemed to prevail as the mural is going back to its original state and Steve Blair lost his radio gig (and could also lose his Council seat).

Miller Valley Elementary principle Jeff Lane however still has a job.

Two out of three isn't bad I guess.