Monday, June 07, 2010

Hysterical Color-Blindness: An Emerging Epidemic?

Readers of this blog know that I've coined the phrase "hysterical color-blindness" in order to describe a psychosocial phenomenon I find both fascinating and deeply disturbing. If you're unfamiliar with the term or want a quick primer read here. I've decided to start compiling stories that I believe reflect this phenomenon and sharing them with you in the interest of ongoing dialogue and reflection. I'm hoping to develop this idea further and at least get some good posts out of it, if not a few presentations or even that book people keeping telling me to write (I don't have patience to write a book but maybe that will change).

I'm going to start with the following story (yes it's Arizona again):

The creators of the "Go On Green" mural, covering two walls outside the school in Prescott, 100 miles north of Phoenix, said they have put up with two months of "racial slander" from motorists driving past.

The artists blame the backlash on Steve Blair, a local councillor who used his radio show to campaign for the mural's removal.

Other residents have described it as "tacky", "ugly" and "ghetto" since it was unveiled at the end of May.

"I am not a racist individual," Mr Blair said on his show show last month. "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?'" (Read the whole thing here)

So let it rip readers. What do you think about this story? Who is right? Does Mr. Blair have a point? Have we returned to a time when the mere exposure to the image of a black or brown person provokes outrage? What if your child went to this school?