Jesus Christmas. The principal of a Prescott, AZ elementary school has ordered that a mural — depicting current students at his school — have the skin tones lightened, after a series of racial slurs were hurled at the painters.

Cars would drive by and yell shit at the people painting the mural. From the Arizona Republic:

"We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars," [mural director R.E.] Wall said. "We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics)."

There's also a city councilman named Steve Blair who has a little AM radio talk show, on which he's been railing for the mural to be painted over. Not because there are brown people on it, really, but because the looming presence of a brown face — larger than the white faces! — is causing unnecessary controversy:

"Personally, I think it's pathetic," he says. "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."

Ah yes. The inherent shit-starting of painting a mural of children who look different, because they are actual kids at the school, who look different. Mr. Blair himself had nothing to do with stirring up needless controversy, obviously.

So after all the bickering and utter batshit insanity, the school's principal, Jeff Lane, asked that the faces be lightened. Not because of the race thing or the racist stuff! Ha ha ha, not at all! But because tonally — like artistic tonally, not color tonally — the painting wasn't working:

We asked them to fix the shading on the children's faces. We were looking at it from an artistic view. Nothing at all to do with race.

Oh, so he's, like, talking about the chiaroscuro and stuff. OK, no problem.

Anyway. That's what's happening in Arizona these days! Somehow the country is getting more racist as time goes by, and now because there's a Muslim basketball jazz-cat in office, everyone's just lettin' it allll hang out. Happy belated birthday, dead soldiers.

[Arizona Republic, via Ken Layne's lovely, depressing Wonkette post]