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High school under pressure to change ‘Arab’ mascot for ‘gross stereotyping’

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Coachella Valley Arab mascotThe Coachella Valley school board will address at its Nov. 21 meeting a complaint lodged by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee demanding that the school change its mascot, a fierce looking scimitar wielding Arab honoring the team moniker — the Arabs.

The team takes its name from the product that the Southern California agricultural region is most famous for — dates, according to KTLA-5 news.

In its Nov. 1 letter to the board, the committee said, “in the 21st Century, such justifications for these actions are no longer tolerable.” It followed up with an online petition calling for the school’s mascot to “be eliminated, along with the imagery and terminology associated with it.”

KTLA reported:

The school’s mascot is depicted as a large-nosed, heavily bearded man with a traditional Arab head covering, or kaffiyeh.

At sports games, a student dressed in a giant foam “Arab” mascot head is entertained by a belly-dancing cheerleader. A sign on the campus reads “CVHS Arab Territory.”

“The ‘Arab’ mascot image is a harmful form of ethnic stereotyping which should be eliminated. By allowing continued use of the term and imagery, you are commending and enforcing the negative stereotypes of an entire ethnic group, millions of whom are citizens of this nation,” wrote committee Director of Legal and Policy Affairs Abed Ayoub in his letter to the school district.

I can’t help but think that a blonde-haired, pug-nosed clean-shaven mascot representing the “Arabs” would lose something in the translation.

I also can’t help but believe that the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee might have found fault had the school decided to change its name from the “Arabs” to something like the “Patriots.” Their complaint then would have been that the name change was fostered by anti-Arab sentiments. Sometimes you just can’t win.

Watch the KTLA news report.

Here’s a performance by the school’s mascots at a basketball game.

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