The Sad Arizona School Mural Controversy Rightly Resolved


In one of the saddest and most shocking things I've heard in a long time, an Arizona elementary school decided to change a mural to depict whiter children after a city councilman complained that a black child was displayed too prominently in a "Go Green" mural.

Thankfully, the school rethought the decision, and the mural will remain as is.

The controversy began when city councilman Steve Blair questioned the color of the children's faces painted on the mural. "To depict the biggest picture on that building as a black person, I would have to ask the question, 'Why?'" Blair said on a May 21 broadcast, according to The Daily Courier. Other citizens reportedly called the mural "ghetto" and "tacky" and cars driving past it hurled racial slurs.

And no, this didn't happen 50 years ago, it happened this past week.

Even crazier is that the school listened and asked the artist to lighten up the skin color of the children depicted. School officials say the decision wasn't racially motivated but rather to fix "shading".

This morning the school reacted to public outcry and rethought the outrageous decision. The principal apologized, said the decision was a mistake and that they "went back with their original theme".

So while the end result is OK, it's really sad that this was ever an issue in the first place. And sad that the underlying attitudes that made it an issue are likely going to remain unchanged.

What do you think about the Arizona mural controversy?


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ethan... ethans_momma06

I wonder what the reaction would be if they had tried to change the ethnicity the other way, say perhaps to a darker shade to highlight 'diversity' or some such thing.

In the end I think this just goes to highlight how much awareness and insecurity that we all have about things that could be construed as 'discrimination'. From the color, to the age, to the sex of the people depicted we as a society have an extreme desire to not offend and include every politically correct statement. It is unfortunate that we cannot just allow art, or a mural, to be just that. Whether the focus be on an african american male, or an irish american female, or an older chinese transexual.

In short, I feel saddend that they would try to change any of it. Can't we admire it for what it is, instead of trying to make it into something else?

29again 29again

I agree with what the OP said, it is sad that this was ever an issue to begin with.  There are people of many races and colors in this country, and we should not be afraid to depict that diversity in any way.  It is getting to the point that it is frightening to talk about this with anyone other than your closest of close friends and possibly some family members, because so often what is said is misunderstood.  I am glad that the school decided to leave things as they were, instead of changing what is likely a beautiful mural!

nonmember avatar professor Giov

I reacted, like most of sane America, with a tired sense of shock to the news of Arizona firing another bullet into its hole-worn boot. "Tired" because stories of the unraveling of cultural enlightenment have, since the first days of Jerry Falwell and Newt Gingrich, become increasingly frequent and catagorically excused, ignored or supported by a growing number of "patriotic Americans".  A time did exist when the tide of inclusion and desegregation appeared to be approaching critical mass; a time when our American example presented to an anxious world the face of the functional future at work. Through our collective lethargy and our insatiable appetite for institutionalized corporate driven theology, the dream of a "United" states has sold out to our lowest common denominator: a country more concerned with building walls than painting them.

nonmember avatar Tobias


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.

nonmember avatar John M Lawler

Well, any principal, or school official, who agreed to the change should probably be fired, for starts. People without public morals are not safe to have around children.  I'm disappointed in the artists, too.  

But not nearly so much as I am disgusted at the undocumented white Arizonans who kept up the public racist pressure for months by yelling epithets at the painters.  They ought to lose their citizenship. 

I'm not exactly disappointed in the councilman;
one can't really expect anything else from a Republican.

ankle... anklebitr


Enough allready with the Republican=Racist talk.

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