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Coachella Valley High School Finally Gets Rid Of Their Offensive Arab Mascot
Coachella Valley High School has finally retired their Arab mascot after the angry, one-toothed caricature became the subject of national controversy last year, and they may have found a new logo.
The controversial Arab mascot was an snarling man with a huge nose, beard and mustache, who wore a headscarf and had one tooth. He also frequently appeared with a belly dancer, and the two would engage in a "genie dance." Both are now gone, The Desert Sun reports. The high school will keep their decades-old name of 'The Arabs,' but will change the look of the mascot and related logos. 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. So for now, the mascot and genie are gone, but the logo remains throughout the school.
The mascot came under fire from anti-discrimination groups last year. The ADC sent the school a letter, accusing them of "orientalist stereotyping." The statement read, "The continued use of the 'Arab' mascot perpetuates demeaning stereotypes of Arabs and Arab Americans. Coachella Valley High School's gross stereotyping cannot be tolerated." Students and community members defended their mascot, saying that the Arab mascot and team name was meant to tie to the East Valley's history, which mostly relates back to the date growing industry and an apparent love affair with Middle Eastern culture. For instance, Hollywood High's mascot, 'The Shiek,' comes from the Rudolph Valentino film of the same name, but theirs is not a caricature.
The story of Coachella Valley's mascot spread nationally, and the school was berated by numerous news outlets. The mascot even took the number one spot on a Cracked.com list of most 'embarrassing' American high school mascots.
The mascot had not always been a hideous, snarling face. In the 1920s, he wore a striped headscarf and rode a horse. In the '50s, he turned into an angry, older man in a fez. He got his headscarf in the '80s, and that's the version that lasted up until this year.
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.