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Arizona School Center of Racism Debate

With all the tension in Arizona over immigration law, wouldn’t it be crazy if some local politician with a radio talk show started a campaign to have the faces of black and Hispanic children on a school mural lightened so that they looked white?  That would be totally insane, right?

Right.

Which is why all hell broke loose this weekend in Prescott, AZ.  Wonkette first reported Friday that “a group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school. The project’s leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children’s ethnicity.” Ordered by the principal of Miller Valley School, no less, because of pressure led by Prescott city councilman Steve Blair. 

Prescott residents were riled by Blair’s inflammatory comments about the appropriateness of depicting a black student in the center of the mural.  Blair said on his radio show, “I am not a racist individual, but… to depict the biggest picture on that building as a black person, I would have to ask the question, ‘Why?’”

By Saturday morning, Blair had been fired from his job at station KYCA for his remarks.  A rally was held at Miller Valley School, and locals, including a former mayor, are calling for his resignation from the city council.  In a final bit of good news, thanks to all the media attention this story has received, the school has decided to restore the mural to its original state after the “lightening process” began last week.

The mural, painted by a student group called “The Mural Mice,” depicts actual students who attend Miller Valley School.  I can only imagine what a tumultuous week this has been for them.  It remains to be seen whether Blair will have the dignity to resign over this gaffe, but if Prescott residents have their way, he will.  Maybe he can do a few hours of community service to make it up to them?  I hear there’s a mural that could use some touch-ups.

Photo: Prescott News

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