Saturday, June 5, 2010

Altered mural fuels racial debate in Prescott, Arizona

Just when you thought the folks in Arizona couldn't get any nuttier, something new comes along. This time some people are offended because a group of kids painted on a local mural are "too dark."

The debate to remove the mural was spearheaded by, you guessed it, a local politician.

On his talk show on KYCA-AM (1490) in Prescott, City Councilman Steve Blair complained because he thought the the most prominent child in the painting was African-American.

"To depict the biggest picture on the building as a Black person," says Blair. "I would have to ask the question: Why?"

Umm, why not? Something wrong with dark-skinned black kids?

Blair has since lost his radio gig. But not before he digs an even bigger grave, blaming the artists themselves for creating racial controversy where none existed before.

"Personally, I think it's pathetic," Blair whines. "You have changed the ambiance of that building to excite some kind of diversity power struggle that doesn't exist in Prescott, Arizona. And I'm ashamed of that."

Really now? Somehow Blair would have us think that painting a dark-skin child on an Arizona mural so insults his sensibilities that it destroys the "ambiance" of his community? How dare be reminded that people come in a wealth of colors, shapes and sizes?

The faces are drawn from photos of actual students in a local elementary school. The child in question is Mexican American.

What is it, exactly, about skin color that makes some people so bananas? I remember not to long ago the Sphinx was being discussed on a popular blog. A forensic scientist was analyzing the jut of the jaw line and some other features of that famous treasure and claimed it likely depicted someone of Sub-Saharan African decent. From the hateful comments that followed his observations, you would have thought he was hurling epitaphs, instead of making a scientific observation.

At least the school board has come to its senses. It now admits making a mistake, and wants the artist to continue with his original vision, without "lightening" the skin color of the child in the picture.

While they're at it, someone should tell Mario, child on the mural whose dark skin first sparked the controversy, that he's a beautiful child -- the stuff great paintings are made of.

Miller Valley School District officials admit their mistake.


Here's More:

From the Arizona Central:

Altered mural fuels racial debate in Prescott

From AOL News:

Principal Asks Artists to Lighten Faces of Children in Arizona School Mural

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