Vanderbilt University has a traditional mural painted on one of Nashville’s walls that depicts all of the current head coaches, but the image of new head coach Derek Mason raised a few eyebrows and according to a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, will have to be changed.
Akailah Harris, president of the Vanderbilt chapter of the NAACP, told The Tennessean that the mural was “reminiscent of the minstrelsy era in which black people’s skin was darkened and their lips were made whiter in order to exaggerate their race in order to put them in a sharp contrast with the white race,”
Apparently the Vanderbilt student body agreed, as they had petitioned to have the mural image of Mason altered.
— The Tennessean (@Tennessean) March 31, 2014
Nashville painter Michael Cooper, who painted the original image, will change Mason’s depiction in the mural.
“I have been painting on this mural for 22 years, and every time that I have worked on a portrait of a coach, I have always had a chance to meet the coach,” Cooper told the paper. “In this particular instance, I never got a chance to meet Coach Mason, and the only thing I had to go on was a photograph sent to me by Vanderbilt athletics.”
Must have been a pretty old photo, as the resemblances aren’t even close.