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Racists in School Tell artists to change the race of a child on a mural

June 11, 2010

Ok—this is insane! Someone forwarded us this article and I am stunned. I understand with the current racist anti-immigration law in Arizona, this sort of racism is not surprising. However, I will never stop being shocked at just how backwards American mainstream politics is. It’s crazy that Americans still consider ourselves the most “forward” thinking nation in the world when in the 21st century we are still censoring art because of our internalized and institutional racism. School administrators still believe that whiteness is the standard to emulate in art and media; even though we are a nation of ethnicities from all over the world and white people are the minority ethnicity when considering the world as a whole. America’s first inhabitants were Native Americans, and everyone who has immigrated here (and stolen the land) come from all over the world. We are a nation of immigrants, and yet we have one of the most restrictive immigration policies- we deny our history and rewrite it constantly. When will we stop being hypocritical, judgemental, racist, classist, and so close-minded?
Here is the Article From the New York Daily News.com:


Here is the Article From the New York Daily News.com:
“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 mural shows students using various methods of “green” transportation, but the colors of the students have generated all the attention.
The mural flap comes amid growing tensions over Arizona’s strict new immigration law that has drawn nationwide criticism and praise.
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?'”
The “black guy” in the mural is based on a student of Mexican descent, a school official said.
According to the most recent census data, Prescott is more than 90% white, with 8.2% claiming Hispanic origin. Blacks, Asians and Native Americans compose less than 3% combined, the data show.
Blair said Wednesday diversity is a word “I can’t stand.”
“The focus doesn’t need to be on what’s different; the focus doesn’t need to be on the minority all the time,” he said.
Wall said his artists began touching up the mural earlier this week.
“They want us to lighten up the forehead and the cheeks [of the boy in the center], and make him look like he is coming into the light,” he said. The school told Wall they want the children to appear more “radiant and happy.”
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.”
He added the negative comments over the mural have mostly ended.
“I think I only received one this past week.”
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/06/04/2010-06-04_arizona_school_asks_artists_to_lighten_face_of_hispanic_student_on_mural.html#ixzz0qZHx1nrL

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