December 16, 2018

Mural So White

At about the same time everyone was talking about Chris Rock naming the elephant in the room in regard to the OscarsSoWhite hashtag and the exclusion of people of color in the acting nominations for the Academy Awards, a friend of mine noticed a mural at a local shopping center depicting what it will look like after their “center wide ‘refresh’” efforts. She pointed out that everyone in the mural appears to be white.

There are two scenes depicted, one with, by my count, 16 people in it, and the other with 26 people. One mural is pictured above and the other is on the shopping center’s “>US Census Bureau, is 72.2% White alone not Hispanic or Latino, 16% Hispanic or Latino, 6.1% Asian, and 2.9% Black or African American. According to my math, if the muralist wanted to depict an average group of Marin County residents, this means that out of 42 people shown in the two scenes, about 30 of them should be White, six or seven of them should be Hispanic, two or three should be Asian, and one or two should be African American or some other person of color.

So, even giving the muralist and the shopping center the benefit of the doubt, they have at most less than half the people of color depicted than they ought to have (at most 5 instead of 12). Not to mention that this shopping center is less than 4 miles from San Rafael, which is “>Religious and Reform Facebook page to see additional photos and behind-the-scenes comments, and