Saturday, June 5, 2010

Arizona’s Race To The Bottom

Every morning, the saying goes, Mississippi wakes up and thanks God for Arkansas. Now they can both wake up and thank God for Arizona:

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.”

The outrage wasn’t confined to a few random racists. A city councilman got in on the act.

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?’”

When you consider that we’re facing such ominous problems, and when you consider who’s president today and based upon the history of this country, well, to have a city councilman raise such a fuss over something so trivial makes me stop and ask the question, “why?” It’s even more intriguing when you consider that he’s not a racist individual.

The principal of the school, who, like the city councilman, is presumably not a racist individual, asked the artists to lighten the children’s complexions in order to make them appear “radiant and happy.” If it’s radiant and happy they want, why not just have the artists paint this on the wall:

(This was the real logo of a real restaurant chain called the Coon Chicken Inn that existed from the 1920s through the 1950s)

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