School Still Has Offensive Arab Mascot In 2013
It looks like it's not just the NFL drawing controversy anymore when it comes to team names. Coachella Valley High School's use of an Arab mascot has garnered attention from a rights group that says the character stereotypes Arabs as angry people with beards and large noses.
The high school's sports teams are dubbed the "Arabs," according to Al Jazeera. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee wrote a letter to the school this month arguing the name plays on hurtful misconceptions.
"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," the organization said in a statement.
The group has has launched a public campaign to get the school to drop its “Arabs” nickname, along with its swarthy, kaffiyeh-wearing mascot -- and its “genie dance” featuring a belly dancer. The petition essentially argues there is no room for this type of insensitivity in 2013 (the ADC notes the high school is the only one of its kind with a team name of "Arabs").
The controversy comes at a time when the use of ethnic team names and mascots is at the forefront of national debate -- a campaign to change the NFL's Washington Redskins' name was launched earlier this year. American Indians and others have long argued the Redskins name is racist and insensitive.
Marita Rango, deputy superintendant for the Coachella Valley school, said it was working with the rights group on the issue.
Watch the “genie dance” at a school basketball game below: