Immediate Action of Coach Mason Mural
  • Petitioning Verizon Wireless- Nashville, West End

This petition will be delivered to:

Verizon Wireless- Nashville, West End
Michael Cooper- Muralist

Immediate Action of Coach Mason Mural

    1. Petition by

      National Association for the Advancement of Colored People- Vanderbilt University

This petition concerns the newly painted image of Derek Mason on the corner of West End and 28th avenue. While we are thankful for your company’s  willingness to house this mural and happy that Vanderbilt is the only SEC school in history to hire two Black head football coaches, we find this portrait problematic. The image is drawn in a way that is reminiscent of racist Black caricatures from the past. His lips are whitened, his skin is darkened, and his eyes have a yellowish tint, features that are synonymous with racist imagery of the 20th century.

 

We do not believe that this was done purposely or with malicious intent. However, we do think this painting strongly resembles how harmful Black images have been portrayed in the past. The visual imagery of one of the most prominent African-American figures at Vanderbilt University should not resemble an archetype meant to further subjugate African-Americans. This sends the wrong message to African-American students on campus about how they are viewed by the community at large. Whether intentional or unintentional, images like these have real consequences for the psyche of the African-American population at Vanderbilt. These well-documented consequences include diminished self-concept, lower self-esteem, and unhealthy attitudes towards those from similar backgrounds. As a cutting edge leader in today’s modern world, we think that Verizon should not be propagating the imagery of racism. We are calling on Verizon Wireless to have the mural changed so that it is not evocative of caricatures from the Jim Crow era. We look forward to hearing back from you.

 

Thanks,

Vanderbilt NAACP and the Vanderbilt community

To:
Verizon Wireless- Nashville, West End
Michael Cooper- Muralist
Immediate Action of Coach Mason Mural

Sincerely,
[Your name]

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    1. Reached 250 signatures

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    • Neal Dover METROPOLIS, IL
      • 3 months ago

      Horrible likeness.

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    • Sherrie Drew ANTIOCH, TN
      • 7 months ago

      It was not a good picture and it was sad this was the only picture they had to give anyone.

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    • Todd Jackson NASHVILLE, TN
      • 7 months ago

      The mural is not of Derek Mason. Please make it so that it is.

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    • Yvette Muse BATON ROUGE, LA
      • 7 months ago

      This is just wrong. I am proud of my grandniece for taking a stand!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Carmine Matlock NASHVILLE, TN
      • 7 months ago

      While I understand that it was a mistake, a group of students who are just as important as any other students found this to be offensive. Sometimes, we do things unintentionally that offends people. Black students do not want to be reminded of minstrel shows, even if that was not the intent. Vandy students, keep fighting for what's right.

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