Friday, June 4, 2010

You Really Can't Make This Up

It bills itself as "Everybody's Hometown."  Pretty clearly, that's not true.
It's false as a technical matter, of course, since lots of people (truly, the overwhelming majority of the worlds 7 billion or so, but even a majority of, say, Arizonans) aren't from there.
It's also false as a cultural metaphor.  I mean, whatever the city's tourist bureau may want to claim, Prescott, Arizona has demonstrated that any hometownyness it can muster belongs to only the most . . . .
Wait, let me get to it in my usual sort-of roundabout way.
We know about Maricopa County where regard for basic constitutional niceties isn't even honored in the breach.  We know about Maricopa County where Sheriff Joe says he's going to keep arresting immigrants even if they aren't going to be prosecuted.  And we know about Arizona the state where people of color immigrants criminal firriners who want to cause auto accidents have to prove that they have some specific government authorization to walk the streets.  And we know about Arizona where, it's illegal to teach ethnic studies.
Now we've got Prescott, in Yavapai County, where the only response to color is, er, whitewash.
Miller Valley School in Prescott has some 380 students from kindergarten through the fifth grade.  It also has the highest ethnic mix of any school in Prescott.  Mostly, though, it has a great big public mural depicting four of the school's kids.
And darned if one of them was Hispanic and one was African American. 
R.E. Wall, the artist who heads the Prescott Downtown Mural Project, told a local newspaper passersby regularly shouted racially charged comments at his group while they were creating the mural at the Miller Valley Elementary School.
"You're desecrating our school," "Get the ni---- off the wall," "Get the sp-- off the wall," were common, Wall said. "The pressure stayed up consistently," Wall said. "We had two months of cars shouting at us."
Yeah, there are racist idiots everywhere.  Prescott's no different from your town.
So you might think.  Until you have your Paul Harvey moment. 
You know, the part where the Miller School principal told Wall to make the black and hispanic kids look more, er, white.
And now you know the rest of the story.  

1 comment:

  1. If you make the skin tone lighter, one assumes the African-American kid will look Mexican and the Mexican kid look, I don't know. . . Italian. Are there any Italians in Arizona other than those in witness protection?