Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Bleaching of Arizona

"I'm not a racist by any stretch of the imagination, but whenever people start talking about diversity, it's a word I can't stand."
                                  - Steve Blair, KYCA-AM talk show host and Prescott City Councilman.

A mural on the side of an elementary school in Prescott, AZ is quickly becoming the icon of Arizona's legislative and educational goals. It depicts the actual children of the school in solidarity for green transportation. Sounds cool, eh? But one city councilman/broadcaster wants it destroyed. Because the most prominant child in the large mural is black. And most of the other kids are ...brown. 

While painting it, the local artists were subjected to the epithets of "nigger" and "spic" shouted out of passing cars. The principal of the school has decided that the best thing to do under the circumstances is to lighten the faces of the kids!
R.E. Wall, director of the Prescott Downtown Mural Project, described weeks of tense working conditions for the "Mural Mice," the group of artists responsible for the Miller Valley mural and several others around town.
Wall reports hearing comments such as "You're desecrating our school," "Get the ni----- off the wall," and "Get the sp-- off the wall."

"The pressure stayed up consistently," Wall said. "We had two months of cars shouting at us."

Faces in the mural were drawn from photographs of the Miller Valley School (no student over 10 years old, Miller Valley being only a K-5 school). The artwork was chosen by both students and faculty. 
Steve Blair, the broadcaster/councilman says he is "ashamed" of the "diversity power struggle" that he thinks is depicted in the mural.
It hasn't been reported yet what the children in the mural think about their images being lightened to conform with Prescott's image of itself. Neither has it been said what they think of the people of Prescott who obviously hate them.

Prescott's image is getting to be the image of Arizona as well. 

The Law and The Wall

President Obama recently met with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to discuss the illegal immigration situation faced by Arizona. She was emphatic that the new law empowering law enforcement to demand proof of citizenship was not engineered for racial profiling. She also insisted on the 1200 troops promised to beef up border patrol and completion of the security wall at the border. 

She said that the meeting was "cordial." I'll bet. 

And the 3 R's

From Think Progress, April 30:
Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Arizona Department of Education “recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English”:
Etnic Studies as Chauvanism:
[State Superintendent for Public Instruction Tom Horne] claimed the ethnic studies program encourages "ethnic chauvanism," promotes Latinos to rise up and create a new territory out of the southwestern region of the United States and tries to intimidate conservative teachers in the school system.
Unfortunately, the "conservative teachers in the school system" may be the chauvanists, literally trying to whitewash the school system while teaching that ethnicity is not "American." The slant of Arizona's new laws will definitely create a slope as slippery as snow on frozen rain: people WILL be profiled, children WILL be dicriminated against and taught only nationalism. Ugly racism WILL increase. Education WILL suffer. 

If Thomas Jefferson were here now, he would weep for the inequality of man in the southwest. Then again, his tears wouldn't matter - he's been demoted in Texas history.