Is this Mascot Offensive? Coachella Valley Asked to Ditch Arab MascotBy: Erika Watts - November 7, 2013
Another school’s mascot is in the news for being offensive, and this time it’s Coachella Valley High School in Southern California. Coachella Valley’s mascot is the Arab and has been for the past 93 years. The mascot features a dark-skinned man who has a crooked nose, heavy beard and wears a traditional Arab head covering. The mascot is also shown with a belly dancer at halftime during football games.
The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee sent a letter to Coachella Valley Unified School District earlier this month asking them to refrain from using the Arab mascot.
Check out images of the mascot below.
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According to the letter policy director Abed Ayoub wrote on behalf of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the “ADC strongly believes that use of the word and such imagery perpetuates demeaning stereotypes of Arabs and Arab Americans.”
“The ‘Arab’ mascot image is a harmful form of ethnic stereotyping which should be eliminated,” Ayoub continued. “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.”
“We live in a new America now,” Ayoub said. “We’re more racially sensitive and diverse. The logic used to pick that name no longer applies now.”
While it is said that the mascot was never intended to be offensive–it was selected in the 1920s to recognize the area’s dependence on date farming, a Middle Eastern crop–district superintendent Dr. Darryl S. Adams says he plans to bring up the issue at a school board meeting this month. “We’re very sensitive to that and how we’re going to work to make sure, maybe sometimes you should have some consultations when we’re working with other groups and cultures,” Adams said.
For anyone interested in supporting the ADC’s attempts to have the Arab mascot removed at Coachella Valley High School, a petition is available online. People interested in signing the petition that wants to “stop ethnic stereotyping” can sign here.
Image via Twitter