City Beat, Los Angeles, News

Coachella Valley High School retires controversial Arab mascot


coachella-valley-schools(COACHELLA VALLEY, CA) — Coachella Valley High School in Riverside County, California has retired its controversial Arab mascot amid protests by several national groups of Arab Americans.

The mascot did not appear at the school’s season opening football game on Friday night. A belly-dancing genie that often appears with the mascot also retired.

The mascot came under fire last November when the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) complained that the mascot enforces negative stereotypes of Arabs and Arab-Americans.

“Bombers, billionaires or belly dancers. There’s a lot more to Arab-Americans and the Arab culture and the Arab heritage than what’s being depicted by this high school,” said Abed Ayoub with ADC.

The Arab mascot had been around since the 1920s and was chosen to recognize the area’s reliance on date farming, traditionally a Middle Eastern crop. 

The Coachella Valley Unified School District refused to change the school’s Arab nickname, but did agree to give the caricature a makeover.

A new design has been approved by the D.C.-based Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and may go into use, but it would need approval from the East Valley school board first.

The possible design:

possible design

According to a statement from Coachella Valley Unified, there will soon be a news conference featuring both the district and the ADC to discuss their resolution.

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