Arizona – Where Racism Is Alive and Well! (Updated)

I’ve been to Arizona a couple of times, both of them on trips to see the beautiful landscape and of course, the Grand Canyon. My wife and I took a very cool helicopter ride over the canyon, thanks to some wonderful friends who gave it as a wedding present. I think the only state I’ve been to that I think is prettier is Utah, Bryce Canyon and Zion are magical. I have to say that even though I love the visuals in Arizona, I’m not sure I want to visit there again. The blatant racism that is bubbling to the surface there is making me re-think whether it is a state worth visiting. I have a very good friend who lives in Phoenix, he reads this blog sometimes, and I’m sure glad that at least one person in Arizona isn’t racist. I’ve been wanting to go and visit him, but I might have to make him meet me on the Utah border because I don’t think I can stand the stench in Arizona.

The latest odors emanating from the state come from a city councilman Steve Blair who has a radio show on a Fox-owned station. I’ll let karoli from Crooks and Liars fill you in on the idiocy...

This mural is painted on the side of an elementary school in Prescott, Arizona. Recently completed, it features the faces of children who attend the school, but not everyone is pleased with the outcome.

Prescott City Councilman Steve Blair, who also has a daily radio show on Fox News-owned radio station KYCA-1490-AM wants the mural taken down completely. He claims it depicts an agenda, an indoctrination of public school children. Somehow I do not think this has much to do with indoctrination nor do I think he really cares much about public schools. Especially public schools with brown children in them.

Instead of removing it, the school principal asked the artists to lighten the faces of the children in the picture. This request follows harassment of those same artists by drive-by wingers flinging racial epithets at them while they were painting it. Welcome to Arizona.

A little explanation of what the mural is all about comes from Wonkette…

And these children, for the past several months as this happy mural encouraging “green transportation” was being painted by local artists, have been treated to the city of Prescott’s finest citizens driving by and yelling “Nigger” and “Spic” at this school wall painted with pictures of the children who attend the school. And this has been encouraged by a city councilman, Steve Blair, who uses his local radio talk show to rile up these people and demand the mural be destroyed.

Apparently this elected city councilman has a history of bigotry and hatred, more from Crooks and Liars

A few more gems from City Councilman Limbaugh wannabe Blair:

“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.” Daily Courier

“I will tell you depicting a black guy in the middle of that mural, based upon who’s President of the United States today …” Daily Courier

“To depict the biggest picture on the building as a Black person, I would have to ask the question: Why?”

Why depict a black person on the building? Why not, you fucking idiot? The only reason those words could possibly come out of his mouth is because he is a fucking racist. I’m sorry, but these assholes have to be called what they are. Sorry about the colorful language but those fuckers piss me off.

(Update) Steve Blair was fired from his radio gig, no more broadcasting of racist hatred for him….buh bye! And the principal and school superintendent have realized they screwed up. And someone put it on Youtube, here ya go.


4 thoughts on “Arizona – Where Racism Is Alive and Well! (Updated)

  1. I left Phoenix and returned to Chicago. I couldn’t take it anymore. The most amazing thing to me that Arizona seems to have been frozen in time maybe 25 years ago and most of the residents appear to be perfectly okay with that. The racism (maybe only to an outsider) is blatant, yet it’s done so regularly that it is a part of their lives, and I’m not sure it’s even noticed by them. I generally try to apply lots of reasons for people’s behavior before I get to racism, but in this state I’ve had to face some hard facts.

    One for instance: I applied to Apple One agency for some temp work. Our initial contact was by telephone, and I believe the tone of the conversation combined with my resume kinda tricked the recruiter and she couldn’t correctly guess my ethnicity. She was incredibly excited for me to come in to test because she had a fantastic opening that was to begin in a couple days and by my resume and interview, I would be sent to work if my test scores were okay. The recruiter scheduled a second interview in her office for the following morning. Truth be told, I was blown away. I had been in Arizona all of two days, and I was about to go to work. I dressed for the interview in a tailored black pants suit. My hair was perfect, makeup minimal, great pumps (low heels) and no jewelry. I looked good! Jim, when I walked in that place and the recruiter was introduced to me, you could have knocked her over with a feather. Stupid me, I’m so psyched about testing so I can get to work that I really excused the behavior in my mind. Racism couldn’t have been further from my thoughts. The recruiter immediately passed me off to the receptionist and walked away. Again, didn’t think much of it. I had to explain to the receptionist why I was there and she then set me up for the software and typing tests. I blew them away! Over 95% on Word and Excel, 100% on Powerpoint and I typed 74 wpm with no errors. I’m in, right? The recruiter wouldn’t even address me again that day before I left the office. No second interview for Staci. The receptionist said she had some unexpected stuff come up and was busy. I go back to where I was staying and wait for instructions for beginning work the next day. I mean, the understanding had been that I was perfect for the job providing I passed their testing process. The lady never called me back and refused to accept any calls from me for over a week.

    That story gets worse, but the above was my introduction to Arizona. I was there for four months, and I have five personal events I could relate. I’ve gotta say, Jim, there is nothing about my appearance (other than complexion) or attitude that can be described as anything really ethnic. I keep my hair cut in a short permed style. I rarely wear makeup. Hell, my ears aren’t even pierced. I speak in complete sentences in modulated tones, and I use the good king’s English. I say all of this to make the point that there is nothing fearful about me, yet the responses I got from some people in Arizona you would have thought I was Angela Davis. I have a great, stable work history and good references but all of this only counts on the telephone in Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona. It was a bit defeating, so I left. As I began this story, I couldn’t take it anymore.

  2. Wow, Staci, I might have to interview you for a documentary in the future.

    It reminded me of a time many years ago when I was managing a video store for a chain and was interviewing for a part time position and this black gentleman came in and applied for it. I interviewed him and was very impressed with him except that he had a full time job already and just needed extra money. He also had a wife and kids. So I sent his resume to the home office and talked to my boss over the phone about him. I had only worked for this company for about six months but I suspected the owners were racist by comments I had heard. There were no black employees in any of the stores in Michigan that I knew of. So I hired this guy. When my boss walked in the store for the first time after I hired him, his reaction was really odd. In fact, it was priceless.

    I had actually talked to the employee about my suspicion that the owners and management might be racist and we both had a good laugh after the boss left. He ended up only working there for a while because his other job, wife and kids was too much for him to handle with a part time job on top of it. As a white man, I’ve been confronting racism for many years and it isn’t always a pretty sight. It was one of the few things I remember about my real father who passed when I was 6 years old.

    I remember and my older brothers have helped to remember when my dad brought home a black couple for dinner, a friend and his wife from the factory he worked at. Apparently a racist neighbor made some comments that got back to my dad who marched over to his house and knocked on the door. He proceeded to rip the guys head off (with his words) and it was this huge scene in the neighborhood. That event had a major impact on me. One of my older brothers told me recently that one day after that event, a friend of my brothers, a black girl, was over at the house and my dad told them to hold hands and act like they were boyfriend and girlfriend just to piss off the neighbors. It was a battle that went on until my dad passed away.

  3. I think I would have enjoyed knowing your father.

    I know that the racism label is multi-layered, but Arizona touched on each of those labels in a relatively short time. I’ve seen real racism in my lifetime, right here in Chicago. I’ve been put out of an apartment strictly because of who I am. I’ve filed suit against this same landlord and prevailed. I’ve also seen lots of cries of racism that are really nothing more than one person’s ignorance and their lack of tact in expressing their thoughts. I tried to find other reasons initially, but again, when I peeled away all the bullshit, there was nothing left but to see the situation on it’s face.

    If you’re doing a documentary on race, I would love to participate in any capacity. Let me know.

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