Milwaukee County Supervisor Dan Sebring is understandably annoyed at a mural wrap on a county bus sponsored by the Milwaukee Art Museum. The mural is a student “art” project that is anti-immigration law enforcement.
The bus depicts what illegal aliens should do in the event of a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Sebring calls the artwork, “racist.”
“The racist, anti-law enforcement messages contained in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s paid ad on a county bus is an offensive abomination and a slap in the face to law enforcement officers and officials at every level,” Sebring said in a release posted on his Facebook page. “We cannot allow a county bus to be decorated with advertising that includes a ‘how-to’ guide for illegal immigrants to evade law enforcement. MCTS should remove this so-called ‘art’ immediately.”
While we should be sympathetic to Sebring’s concerns about the insult to law enforcement, the mural is not “racist.” It doesn’t attack any particular race, and conservatives should not casually drop the term anymore than the Left should. To describe the mural as “racist” de-values the term and renders it meaningless, just as when the Left uses it without justification.
We should also oppose Sebring’s call to remove the mural from the bus. It is a paid advertisement and we should be loath to start censoring the ads that appear on public transit merely because we don’t like the political viewpoint. The answer is more speech, not less.
Instead of trying to remove the mural, Sebring and others should direct their criticisms to the Milwaukee Art Museum. According to a statement they made to Fox 6 News in Milwaukee, the program does not “steer or endorse what the teens create.”
As the supposed adults in the room, they should have directed the students to choose a more appropriate topic. There’s a silly belief, especially on the left, that children have some unique viewpoint that should be heard. The project is supposed to be about “art,” yet all the students accomplished was a poor piece of political agitprop because the adults are too busy congratulating the kids on their political awareness.
On the other hand, should Sebring and others be surprised at the choice of topic by the students given the hyper-political environment which we find ourselves in, especially after the president makes resentment of immigrants a centerpiece of his political rhetoric?