Orange County has a long, nasty history of whitewashing or destroying Mexican-themed murals, from a 600-foot-long wall that once stood in Fountain Valley to one inside the Plummer Auditorium at Fullerton High School to a wall in Old Town Placentia that was barely in the planning stages by Cal State Fullerton's MEChA chapter before some pendejo called it racist.
Now add to that ignominious list a large piece that graced the wall of the former SanTana offices of the Orange County Register's Spanish-language weekly, Excélsior. That's the mural above; below is the newly gentrified wall.
No one is weeping for the demise of this art work, which was whitewashed sometime this fall. Oh, everyone in SanTana knows about it, passing by it hundreds of times over the past 15 or so years on Grand Avenue. But it wasn't the most iconic of murals–quite trite, really, like that Simpsons episode where Michael Keaton plays an ex-convict forced to paint a lame one at Springfield Elementary at the insistence of Principal Skinner. Out of sight; out of mind.
Hell, I've been sitting on this story for nearly a month, given that the Register just declared bankruptcy. But the whitewashing of this mural is a metaphor on multiple levels: the continued gentrification of SanTana; the demise of the Register, which doesn't even own that building anymore and thus had no say it the mural's destruction, as much as I would've loved to pin it on them (was it new landlord Mike Harrah?); the flat-out ignorance its owners have with Latinos in the city; the irrelevance of the Reg's Spanish-language newspaper (it's now called UNIDOS, and is housed in the Reg's main building); the apathy people have toward Mexican murals in Orange County. Someone has to remember the mural and what it stood for, and here you go…