July 5, 2020         
U.S. Soldier Desperately Seeks Public Support to Bring His Two Dogs Home From Overseas   •   Coty Names Sue Y. Nabi Chief Executive Officer   •   Most Americans Not Very Comfortable Returning to Restaurants, Retail Stores and Hotels for Next Three Months, Survey Shows   •   All TTR Employees Get 12 Weeks Paid Parenting Leave   •   Top Local Atlanta Executives and Leaders Join Women in Technology to Host Inaugural Virtual Gala, WIT Connect 2020   •   Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Donates $50,000 to National Urban League   •   Support for Canada's Forest Sector Economic Recovery   •   Chicago Gen Z Tech Activist Launches Dollar Campaign to Fund Virtual CS Summer Camp for 1,000 Black Youth During Dangerous Times   •   AJC, Lithuanian Jewish Community Urge Seimas Not to Honor Lithuanian Wartime Activist   •   Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware Slams Delaware Department of Correction and Governor Carney for Politicizing Mask Donations   •   e.l.f. Beauty Announces Agreement with Marathon Partners   •   Hormel Foods Announces Inspired Giving Commitment to Support Equity and Education   •   Trend Micro and Girls in Tech Partner to Help Close the Gender Gap in the Technology Industry   •   GrillGirl.com Launches “Grill School,” a Virtual Grilling Series to Empower Everyone to Learn to Grill   •   Proposition 21! – California Rent Control Ballot Measure Now Heads to Voters in November as Campaign Rolls Out 200+ Endors   •   Smarter Homes. Better Life. - Covia and the Ziegler Link•age Funds Look to the Future of Middle-Market Senior Living   •   How Race And Implicit Bias Impact The Practice Of Law   •   Nintendo Download: Invert Your Aim, Invert Your World   •   P&G to Webcast Discussion of Fourth Quarter 2019/20 Earnings Results on July 30   •   The ODP Corporation Releases 2020 Corporate Sustainability Report
Bookmark and Share

City Councilman Fired After Criticizing Mural

 

Posted in Anti-BlackAnti-Latino by Hatewatch Staff 

Southern Poverty Law Center

 

A city councilman with a history of racial insensitivity in Prescott, Ariz., has been fired from his talk radio show after his complaintsabout a school mural featuring children of several races helped propel the artwork into an embarrassing national news story.

Last month, Steve Blair commented on KYCA about a mural at the Miller Valley Elementary School that depicted children of several races using “green” transportation. On the May 21 radio show, Blair took exception to the art prominently featuring a dark-skinned boy.

“I am not a racist individual, but I will tell you depicting a black guy in the middle of that mural, based upon who’s president of the United States today and based upon the history of this community — when I grew up, we had four black families who I have been very good friends with for years — to depict the biggest picture on that building as a black person, I would have to ask the question, ‘Why?’” the Associated Press reported Blair saying.

Last week, Blair was reported as saying, “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.” He added that he had received complaints about the mural and that, “What these people don’t like is somebody forcing diversity down their throats.”

Never mind that several Miller Valley Elementary School students posed for a photo that was used as the basis of the mural.

After the comments, school officials asked the artists to lighten the faces of the children in the mural, reportedly to make them appear more radiant and happy. The school superintendent and principal have since apologized, and the mural is being restored to its original form.

Apparently, this is hardly the first racial flap involving Blair. The local newspaper noted that earlier this year, Blair was one of two city council members questioning the need for a Spanish-language banner in the downtown area that encouraged Census participation. The sign was eventually removed. Blair and the other council member said they fielded calls from residents unhappy about the sign.

In 2007, The Progressive magazine took note of comments from Blair’s radio show where he searched for the appropriate term to describe Latinos and suggested the term “taco flippers.” “[F]rankly we are seeing a pattern and are regretting endorsing him for City Council,” The (Prescott) Daily Courier noted in an editorial Thursday.

The controversy has put the state of Arizona and its uncomfortable history of racism back into the national spotlight after the state passed a controversial immigration law earlier this year that has been widely criticized as basically legalizing racial profiling — not to mention another recent statute that essentially outlaws ethnic studies programs in the schools. (In the late 1980s, Arizona went through a similar period under Gov. Evan Mecham, who canceled the state’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and called black children “pickaninnies” before being impeached for obstruction of justice. Following the 1990 failure of Arizona voters to bring back the King holiday, the National Football League moved Super Bowl XXVII from that state to California in protest.) The mural controversy in this town of almost 43,000 people has been reported as far away as Europe and Australia.

And the publicity hasn’t been good. R.E. Wall, director of the Prescott Downtown Mural Project, told reporters that racial slurswere regularly hurled from passing cars at the artists working on the mural. “The pressure stayed up consistently,” Wall said. “We had two months of cars shouting at us.”

Wall said he heard comments that included, “Get the ni—– off the wall,” and “Get the sp– off the wall.”

Former Prescott Mayor Jack Wilson has called for Blair’sresignation in a letter to the editor. “Yesterday was a firestorm of bad publicity for Prescott and it was worldwide,” Wilson wrote. He added: “If you truly love Prescott, you need to resign from the Prescott City Council.”

So far, Blair isn’t budging. “When my constituents in the city tell me it’s time for me to go, and that I’m affecting how the city does its business, I will go,” he has told reporters. “I ran because I wanted to help. If I can no longer do that, I’ll step down.”


Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104

 



Back to top
| Back to home page
Video

White House Live Stream
LIVE VIDEO EVERY SATURDAY
alsharpton Rev. Al Sharpton
9 to 11 am EST
jjackson Rev. Jesse Jackson
10 to noon CST


Video

LIVE BROADCASTS
Sounds Make the News ®
WAOK-Urban
Atlanta - WAOK-Urban
KPFA-Progressive
Berkley / San Francisco - KPFA-Progressive
WVON-Urban
Chicago - WVON-Urban
KJLH - Urban
Los Angeles - KJLH - Urban
WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
New York - WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
WADO-Spanish
New York - WADO-Spanish
WBAI - Progressive
New York - WBAI - Progressive
WOL-Urban
Washington - WOL-Urban

Listen to United Natiosns News