Here's the story, about a mural that some citizens complained about because it depicted "a black guy" or 2.
I'd like to see a "before" picture, showing the entire mural, because there's some complexity about what it meant for the artist to be told to "lighten" the faces in the painting. The school officials said "to make the kids look like they were 'radiating with happiness,'" so there might be some issue of them conveying the wrong mood. "Lighten" is an ambiguous word — lighten up! — but it's also highly inflammatory to say "lighten" with respect to the skin tone of the faces in the mural.
And then there's City Councilman Steve Blair who had — he's now fired — a local radio talk show, who's been saying things like: "I disagree with the whole perspective that you would have a black guy painted on two sides of that building when the history of Prescott never had a culture issue." You do now.
Speaking of painting, Arizonans are being painted in the media as racists. With the hot national issue about immigration enforcement, any little thing like this will be picked up and used to propagate the meme. You may think you've got a local issue and be willing to engage in loose talk and feel sure you're not really a bad person, but you will look like hell when it's picked up nationally. I've seen a lot of bad murals around town, using big looming faces to convey "progressive" political messages, and I can imagine someone who wasn't a racist at all bitching about them in words that would look quite awful quoted in the national press.
I deplore racism — don't we all? — but can we also talk about the atrocious murals that get slathered onto the walls of our towns? The "diversity" theme is so common in these monstrosities, and I'd hate to see accusations of racism work to silence criticism of artwork that needs to complained about.
IN THE COMMENTS: lemondog links to what I think are pre-alteration photos of the mural, and it's hard to detect a surly, hostile, or aggressive look on the faces. They are already "radiating with happiness." How ecstatic do you want kids to be about going green? I dislike government propaganda murals (and anti-government propaganda murals), but the idea of lightening the faces is bad.