A San Francisco school is going to destroy a George Washington mural because it’s “offensive.”
A large mural at George Washington High School in San Francisco, California has recently caused major public outrage among liberal social justice activists. The controversial 13-panel mural titled “The Life of Washington” has lined the hallways of George Washington High School for over 80 years. Critics have condemned the mural as “racist” for its depictions of slaves and Native Americans.
The mural was painted in 1936 by a Russian communist artist named Victor Arnautoff. As a liberal, Arnautoff did not want to portray Washington as a perfect demagogue but instead wanted to show the first U.S. President as an ambitious man with many flaws.
Two panels of the 13-panel mural have caused most of the outrage. In one panel, Washington is shown working his slaves at his Mount Vernon plantation. In another panel, Washington is shown standing near the body of a dead Native American.
Back in the 1930s when the mural was painted, U.S. History textbooks rarely mentioned the poor treatment of Blacks and Native Americans by the U.S. government. By painting these controversial yet historically accurate scenes in the mural Arnautoff was trying to ensure that students would know Washington’s full history.
However, activists who participate in outrage culture don’t care much about history or reality. Instead, these professional victims are mainly concerned with protecting people’s “feelings.” One activist, Tracy Gallardo, said the depictions of slaves and a dead Native American ”triggers emotional trauma, which may get in the way of student learning.”
On June 25, the school board for San Francisco Unified School District voted unanimously to destroy the entire mural, not just the two controversial panels. Due to the fact that the mural is painted directly onto the building’s walls, it must be painted over and can’t be removed to be placed into a museum.
The estimated cost of painting over the mural will be $600,000 of taxpayers’ money. The reason it is going to cost so much money just to paint over a mural is that officials are required to conduct environmental impact reports before painting.