Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity


Posted at 10:41 PM ET, 06/ 4/2010

In Arizona, a school mural controversy

By Valerie Strauss

mural.jpg
Associated Press

In Arizona, an elementary school principal is said to have ordered that the faces of some children depicted in a giant mural be lightened after receiving complaints about the ethnicity of the kids.

The Arizona Republic reports that Jeff Lane, the principal at Miller Valley Elementary School in Prescott, said he sent artists out only to fix shading.

But R.E. Wall, the leader of Prescott’s Downtown Mural Projects, said he was ordered to lighten the skin tone on the "Go on Green" mural, which covers two walls outside Miller Valley and was designed to advertise a campaign for environmentally friendly transportation.

It features portraits of four children, with a Hispanic boy as the dominant figure. Faces in the mural -- the fourth of community murals drawn by a group of artists known as the “Mural Mice” -- were drawn from photos of kids enrolled at the K-5 school, located about two hours north of Phoenix.

Wall said he and other artists were the targets of slurs from motorists who passed as the mural was being painted.

The Republic reported that Lane said that he received only three complaints about the mural and that his request for a touch-up had nothing to do with political pressure. "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."

Meanwhile, City Councilman Steve Blair called last month for the mural to be removed.

On his radio talk show, 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?"

Blair could not be reached for comment, the Republic said.

Arizona can’t seem to stay out of the newsthese days, what with the anti-immigration law that has sparked controversy and another new law that targets ethnic studies programs.

It's the state that keeps on giving.

Follow my blog all day, every day by bookmarking washingtonpost.com/answersheet. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our new Higher Education page at washingtonpost.com/higher-ed Bookmark it!

By Valerie Strauss  | June 4, 2010; 10:41 PM ET
Categories:  Elementary School  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Why fun is important in learning
Next: About that baseball apology

Comments

Prescott has 43000 people, most do not agree with Steve Blair http://bit.ly/cEWS5d former Mayor Jack Wilson
Prescott AZ City Councilman Steve Blair fired by KYCA management http://bit.ly/bRplx0
City Councilman Steve Blair needs to resign, IMHO.

Posted by: JackWilsonAZ | June 5, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

It’s seems America has having a hard time adjusting to the reality that there are other colored people who live here besides white.

http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2010/06/arizona-school-decides-to-lighten-the-color-of-depicted-latinos/

Posted by: peterwestwood | June 5, 2010 1:08 AM | Report abuse

It’s seems America has having a hard time adjusting to the reality that there are other colored people who live here besides white.

http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2010/06/arizona-school-decides-to-lighten-the-color-of-depicted-latinos/

Posted by: peterwestwood | June 5, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

If your going to post articles saying...

"Arizona can’t seem to stay out of the news these days, what with the anti-immigration law that has sparked controversy and another new law that targets ethnic studies programs."

This is NOT an Anti-Immigration Law, it IS an Anti-Illegal Immigration Law. Get it right!

Posted by: MyOpinionCounts2 | June 5, 2010 2:31 AM | Report abuse

And this proves what's behind the Arizona Immigration law.

By the way MyOpinionCounts2:

You'd be surprised how many people feel that all Mexicans are illegal aliens, when there happens to be Mexican Americans legally immigrated to the US decades ago.

Posted by: raduodogi | June 5, 2010 3:49 AM | Report abuse

Never mind all the lies. Anyone who has spent anytime in Arizona knows that most of the racists from other parts of the country retired there and their offspring have continued the racism.

Posted by: therev1 | June 5, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Why is a government facility, especially one frequented by impressionable young people, being used to promote environmentalist propaganda? Why does environmentalism, one of the most aggressive and obnoxious cults, get a waiver on the separation of church and state?

Posted by: thebump | June 5, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Um... because environmentalism isn't a church or form of organized religion. If the druids want to have services in the school then it should not be allowed.

This is horribly sad to see, and I'm sure it absolutely crushing to the kids who worked on the project. If you read the article you'll see that the faces were modeled on the students at the school.

I suppose that we unfortunately have to expect the usual racists to come out and scream slurs at the people working at it, but the principal needs to go. Does anyone really think that the principal was concerned with the artistic merit of a kids project? Really?

Right now I'm sure you have 3-4 kids who are absolutely crushed by hearing that THEIR PRINCIPAL thinks they are too dark-skinned. Any decent educator has to be appalled by that.

Posted by: Wyrm1 | June 5, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Why is a government facility, especially one frequented by impressionable young people, being used to promote environmentalist propaganda? Why does environmentalism, one of the most aggressive and obnoxious cults, get a waiver on the separation of church and state?

Posted by: thebump | June 5, 2010 8:13 AM
=========================================
OK, this foolishness is really getting out of hand.

Even if global warming turns out to be a hoax, are you actually suggesting that conserving fossil fuels, having clean air and water, and planting trees (a significant renewal resource) are BAD things?

If environmentalism is so horrible, are you proposing that we teach children that they have a responsibility to pollute as much as possible, consume fossil fuels as fast as they can, and go out and cut down all those pesky trees, making sure no one commits the unpardonable sin of planting more?

Forget global warming. Air pollution can shorten lives and turn able-bodied workers into disability-siphoning invalids. Clean water shortages inhibit development and agriculture (two of conservative's favorite activities), and failure to replace trees would cripple the construction industry. Natural areas support the pollinators our food crops need. Without clean air and water and meadows and forests, human beings cannot live. If you know of a model for the sustainability of our species that doesn't depend on these things, please post it here for us to consider.

And you think that proponents of these common sense activities that have sustained humanity since its inception are some kind of freakish cultists?

Wow.

Posted by: carlaclaws | June 5, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

If your going to post articles saying...

"Arizona can’t seem to stay out of the news these days, what with the anti-immigration law that has sparked controversy and another new law that targets ethnic studies programs."

This is NOT an Anti-Immigration Law, it IS an Anti-Illegal Immigration Law. Get it right!

--------

Oh really? And the anti ethnic studies programs? And the face-whitening?

Posted by: dane1 | June 5, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

If you research a little further you will find that the children on the wall are actual children who modeled for the wall. The concept and theme of the wall is the result of a contest with submissions by students and teachers. The school the mural was painted on has the highest concentration of minority students. While children helped paint the mural racist slurs were yelled at the students and painters, all occuring at the hour when Steve Blair was on the air talking trash on his Prescott radio station which also is home to extreme partisans Rush, Hannity, etc. The watered down AP story is void of the real "ugly" and those who pedal the hate disquised as talk show babble.

Posted by: IndependentCO | June 5, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

the AP story also fails to connect Blairs actual comments where he asks on air basically "why we (Prescott) needs a black face when we have a black president and all?" This story might as well be tagged with "right wing hate radio and tea party followers who react" or "Yes Virginia, there is a black man in the white house".

Posted by: IndependentCO | June 5, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

If your going to post articles saying...

"Arizona can’t seem to stay out of the news these days, what with the anti-immigration law that has sparked controversy and another new law that targets ethnic studies programs."

This is NOT an Anti-Immigration Law, it IS an Anti-Illegal Immigration Law. Get it right!

--------

Oh really? And the anti ethnic studies programs? And the face-whitening?

Posted by: dane1 | June 5, 2010 10:41 AM
========================================
Dane1, don't you understand the implications? It's like sex education. If we teach kids about Latino culture, they'll ALL start becoming Latinos! :-)

Posted by: carlaclaws | June 5, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I just came back from the protest at the school today, which was an incredible event with a great turnout.

Jeff Lane, the school principal, said that he made a mistake and that the mural will go back to how it was originally painted. The school superintendent. Kevin Kapp, also admitted the school district made a mistake and said they were sorry.

I talked to Jeff Lane, who said he had a total of three complaints about the mural along racial lines, and 94% of the locals who called the school were in support of the mural. R.E. Wall, the main painter of the mural, said that he was getting half a dozen people a day yelling at him at the intersection (where thousands of cars drive past every day), calling him a hippy, or something else.

I hope the poster of the original blog will update it to reflect today's news.

I am going to be posting videos from the protest throughout the day to a brand new YouTube channel:

http://youtube.com/PrescottDiversity

The first one (which I am uploading to youtube right now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnO6DJ8RqIE) is the footage of Lane and Kapp admitting they made a mistake and apologizing to the crowd. Please help spread the word, because honestly this town has been unfairly portrayed and I want people to see all of the protesters carrying signs, and coverage of the positive people that actually represent my town.

Posted by: MosesSiregarIII | June 5, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiX5p8NL040

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPIRKnaCKzo

Some nice audio from Steve Blair's radio show including the now famous:

"I am not a racist but.........," line as well as a conversation with fellow councilman John Hanna's wife Sherry.

Posted by: tobiasfrent | June 5, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

This is so sad.

Posted by: celestun100 | June 5, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Sad and sick stuff, but not really that surprising, considering the advent of the Tea-Klux-Klan movement...

Posted by: kenny11 | June 6, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company