Since the painting began the artists, including children helping with the painting have been subjected to a campaign of drive by racists howling abuse over the non-white faces going up on the wall. The mural was condemned by local talk radio host and city councilman Steve Blair who spear-headed a campaign to take down the mural as it was clearly pro-Obama propaganda that was trying to 'create controversy.'
For portraying some of the non-white kids who actually go to the school.
Read the reader comments on the local Prescott paper's articles about the scandal. Most of the citizens express shame that this has even become an issue. Some stand up for Blair, arguing basically, that its bad enough some people insist on choosing the dark skinned lifestyle without rubbing everybody else's nose in it.
Most discouragingly of all, the school administrators responded to the controversy by asking the artists to lighten the children's faces.
UPDATE: A Happy Ending.
UPDATE 2: Roger Ebert's brilliant, enormously touching take.
That brings me back around to the story of the school mural. I began up above by imagining I was a student in Prescott, Arizona, with my face being painted over. That was easy for me. What I cannot imagine is what it would be like to be one of those people driving past in their cars day after day and screaming hateful things out of the window. How do you get to that place in your life? Were you raised as a racist, or become one on your own? Yes, there was racism involved as my mother let the driver wait outside in the car, but my mother had not evolved past that point at that time. The hard-won social struggles of the 1960s and before have fundamentally altered the feelings most of us breathe, and we have evolved, and that is how America will survive. We are all in this together.