The rot beneath the sunny facade

Is there some kind of competition here? Are states vying for the title of most screwed up, repulsive state in the nation? ‘Cause Arizona is really working hard to make Texas look sane.


An Arizona elementary school mural featuring the faces of kids who attend the school has been the subject of constant daytime drive-by racist screaming, from adults, as well as a radio talk-show campaign (by an actual city councilman, who has an AM talk-radio show) to remove the black student’s face from the mural, and now the school principal has ordered the faces of the Latino and Black students pictured on the school wall to be repainted as light-skinned children.

Hang on. Seriously? This is unbelievable.

The radio station in question is one of those AM talk radio horrors that spews conservative poison into the air all day long, with the likes of Limbaugh and Savage and Hannity. Steve Blair is just another loud-mouthed racist in the stable of angry white jerks. Blair has been fired by the radio station; he’s now claiming that he was just disliking the artistic quality of the mural and its prominent placement, which does make one wonder why in his comments on air were preceded by saying “I am not a racist individual” and then focused his complaints on the portrayal of a “black guy in the middle of that mural”.

The citizens of Prescott can hang their heads in shame, too. You people listen to these low-life scum? You drive by the mural and shout “Nigger!” and “Spic!” out your car windows? That’s the impression the rest of the country now has. Just firing the one bigot who inflames this stuff on the radio is not quite enough to compensate.

There’s one group of people, though, who I particularly despise: cowardly school administrators.

Wall [director of the city mural project] said school Principal Jeff Lane pressed him to make the children’s faces appear happier and brighter.

“It is being lightened because of the controversy,” Wall said, adding that “they want it to look like the children are coming into light.”

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.”

Because, heaven knows, darker complexions always look so glum and dull. Look at that section of the mural up there; does the brown child on the right look sad or stupid? If he does, how will making him pink correct the problem?

Gaaah. This country enrages me.