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Using whiteout on a mural of children

June 4, 2010

Mural with artists Pamela J. Smith and R.E. Wall.

A mural of children at an Arizona grade school is apparently way too colorful for some white residents including a city councilman.  Artists who created the mural have been asked by the school principal to repaint the Black and Latino children on the mural as light skinned. Faces in the mural were drawn from photographs of children attending the school.

When the mural was being painted, some residents of Prescott, Arizona would drive by yelling racial slurs.

“We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars,” Wall (project director) said. “We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics).”

(Arizona mural sparks racial debate)

And this has been encouraged by a city councilman, Steve Blair, who uses his local radio talk show to rile up these people and demand the mural be destroyed. Here’s what whiteness sounds like:

In a broadcast last month, according to the Daily Courier in Prescott, Blair mistakenly complained that the most prominent child in the painting is African-American, saying: “To depict the biggest picture on the building as a Black person, I would have to ask the question: Why?”

(Arizona mural sparks racial debate)

As another great example of whiteness speaking, the principal insisted his request for a touch-up had nothing to do with political pressure and nothing to do with race.

“We asked them to fix the shading on the children’s faces,” he said. “We were looking at it from an artistic view. Nothing at all to do with race.”

(Arizona mural sparks racial debate)

I wonder what the children in this school are feeling and learning about humanity and race. This is an abhorrent story of white racism in action and the people who lack the courage to admit it and stand up against it. A principal. . .  a city councilman . . .  community “leaders” teaching children that the only children of value are the ones that look like them. Whiteout.

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One comment

  1. […] I posted about the mural of children in Arizona that wasn’t white enough for some people:  Using whiteout on a mural of children.  Now I’m further disturbed to find that Seattle has its own similar story of changing a […]



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