Dennis Wagner of the The Arizona Republic writes,
A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school.
The project’s leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children’s ethnicity. But the school’s principal says the request was only to fix shading and had nothing to do with political pressure.
The principal may say the request sought to address issues of artistic merit but it’s extremely hard to see any coherent explanation that is not racist at root. This request to “fix the shading” came amid constant racist slurs aimed at the mural and the artists and a radio campaign lead by Prescott City Councilman Steve Blair. Among other things, Blair said of the (unfixed) mural,
Personally, I think it’s pathetic. You have changed the ambience of that building to excite some kind of diversity power struggle that doesn’t exist in Prescott, Arizona. And I’m ashamed of that.
This “nonracist” remark does have a context. The artist used photographs of children in the school to draw the faces on the mural. I guess those kids also “excite some kind of diversity power struggle that doesn’t exist in Prescott, Arizona.” But, of course, those very kids do exist in exist in Prescott, Arizona and have become part of a “diversity power struggle.”
It is untenable to maintain that there is not a casual relationship between the racist slurs abetted by the efforts of the likes of Mr. Blair and the request to “fix the shading.”
For the sake of clarity, the title of this post is just that, a title. I haven’t seen any indication that anyone agitating to “fix the shading” or remove the mural completely used or is associated with the slogan. I do think the slogan and the “fix” have a deep implicit relationship.
Via Wonkette via Pharyngula who both have important things to say about this story.