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June 14th, 2010
02:08 PM ET

Artists: Racism Behind Request to Change Children's Skin Color

From CNN Intern Rachel Gaynes:

The “Go On Green” mural outside the Miller Valley Elementary School in Prescott, Arizona, is at the center of a debate over racism. The artists defied demands to lighten the complexions of two minority children featured in their painting. Of the four children from the school featured in the mural, two are white.

CNN’s Don Lemon spoke with the artists, Pamela Smith and R.E. Wall, who said the demands were the result of racism. All of this as Arizona is in the national spotlight for its new immigration law, which critics call racial profiling.

The mural –- meant to promote environmentally sustainable transportation –- instead was attacked by City Councilman Steve Blair. On his radio show, Blair said, "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."

One of the artists, Wall, said the mural depicts “real children that go to that school. … They have feelings; they have been affected by this.”

Watch CNN's Don Lemon interview with the two artists:

Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon • What Matters
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. grrace

    I'll bet money that the racist state, Arizona, won't bounce Blair out on his big "B."

    June 14, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  2. Cheryl Herrera

    It seems a no brainer for the oil drilling moratorium, which has caused untold disasters in our country, to continue until the MMS has been reevaluated and revised to ensure safety for our environment, our people, and our wildlife. Apparently, it has been a compromised group which has been ineffective in ensuring the proper perspective and regulatory procedures. If we had put more money into alternative forms of energy 30 years ago, when we had the technology and wouldn't invest in it, we would not be in this situation today. Shame on all of you in our government for caring more about your pockets and nothing about the world or it's future safety and independence from foreign oil concessions. I hope I speak for many of us. It's is time to get off the fence and move on in a truly productive manner. This all could have been avoided, but for the incredible greed of so many persons who run things and pull the strings for our country. Shame again on all of you....!!!!!!!!!!

    June 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  3. Cheryl Herrera

    We must beware of the extreme anti-constitutional measures we are allowing some of our states to implement. Have we all forgotten what our country stands for? Yes, there are problems, but these types of extreme measures make me ashamed to be an American and having believed for my whole life that we were different and would find just ways to deal with our problems. Once we start requiring people to carry papers on them, we might as well put up the gas chambers, for we are just a step behind Hitler. Get a grip, people. Look at what may come next. I am frightened by my "fellow " Americans. Very frightened. By the way, I am from a family of DAR by heredity (not current member). My family has been here since the late 1600's and I am ashamed of what I am seeing and of where we have come.

    June 14, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  4. Carl

    They can "demand" anything of you.....but you can "refuse". Don't be intimidated. The mural must stay as is!

    June 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  5. BillyBob

    Why do we listen to these baby boomers? Everything non-white is about diversity apparently.

    June 14, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  6. Smith in Oregon

    Despite some archeological evidence that the mother of Jesus was a Ethiopian who are very, very darkly complected, AND the earliest paintings of Mary the Mother of Jesus were titled the BLACK Madonna and drawn using BLACK Charcoal. The pomp and pious Pope ordered all such ancient paintings DESTROYED! And replaced by newer paintings showing a Caucasian Mary, later updated to a Olive skin Italian looking Mary, mother of Jesus.

    Such disgusting, bigoted and racist views of skin color go to the head of Christianity in today's times it seems. Thankfully, some ancient paintings of the 'Black Madonna' did survive. It seems the Pope's thugs and henchmen didn't find nor destroy them all, go figure!

    June 16, 2010 at 12:57 am |
  7. Carol RUSSELL

    Much has been made about the BP Board deciding not ot pay a dividend to their share holders. 1 in 8 pensioners in the Uk depend on the dividend for their pension fund.
    Pensioners incomes have been severely affected by the market collapse as a result of the American Sub-Prime disaster.
    Is anyone going to start a compenastion package for us?

    June 16, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  8. LJW

    Joe Barton of Texas should go back to Texas or better still he should leave the country if he ashamed of it.

    June 17, 2010 at 3:39 pm |