NAACP Protests Mural of New Vandy Coach That Looks Like Minstrel (Photo)


Mural of Drerek Mason 1

It has been a tradition for over 20 years that a mural with Vanderbilt’s head coaches is painted on the side of a local business. In pictures past there has been no problem, but the NAACP and new Vandy head football coach Derek Anderson himself, took exception with how he was represented in his new addition to the building.

“We realized it 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,” said Akailah Harris, president of the Vanderbilt chapter of the NAACP told the Tennessean newspaper. “In the mural, his skin is black, not brown, and his lips are white. It doesn’t look like him.”

“I don’t believe the painting is representative of me, personally,” Mason told the Tennessean. “But if that’s somebody’s depiction, then so be it. There are still freedoms that are still allowed in this country, but when I look at it, I don’t think that’s an accurate depiction of me.”

The artist who painted the mural says that the fact that the painting was done from a photograph without meeting Mason in person, like he usually creates his act, may have led to the skewed depiction.

The local chapter of the NAACP started a petition and the Mason’s picture will be redone.

I see where the painting is reminiscent of those done in the era when the minstrel-like depiction of African Americans was the norm and I’m glad it will be changed. ┬áBut somehow I also think the NAACP in Tennessee has far more pressing issues that may warrant their attention and protest.

[Fox Sports]


  1. “But somehow I also think the NAACP in Tennessee has far more pressing issues that may warrant their attention and protest” No offense but I hear this lame argument for every issue of racism people attempt to address. Some of us can multi task and address more than one issue at a time. We can address racist murals, the n-word, violence in the community and many other things at the same time. When you start to let the little things slide they will eventually start testing you to see if they can get away with bigger things. It is a very lazy argument to say someone should have more important things to address. Civil rights and respect is a constant fight that happens on many issues and just because you see one as being to small to address doesn’t mean we all feel that way.

  2. I would like to say thank you to Vanderbilt University for hiring a black head coach. Good luck to Derek Anderson and the rest of the black head football coaches!

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