High School Drops Controversial ‘Arab’ Mascot, Genie Sidekick, But Keeps Nickname

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A California high school has dropped its controversial mascot of a snarling, hooked-nose “Arab” and his belly-dancing genie sidekick but will keep the nickname “Arabs” for its sports teams.

Coachella Valley High decided to drop the shaggy bearded mascot with a headscarf after American-Arabs said it was derogatory.

School officials will redesign the mascot, which it has had since the 1920s, the Daily Mail reported. The mascot symbolizes the arid area’s reliance on date farming, a Middle Eastern crop.

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee sent a letter to the school district in November calling the mascot stereotypical.

The group has reportedly approved of the redesign.

“We passed it around to experts and community members. We took our time to get the opinion of that logo, and it was overwhelmingly positive,” said committee spokesman Abed Ayoub.

“We hope that those witnessing our collaboration will follow our lead and keep their eyes, ears and hearts open to the feelings of others,” the school district said in a statement.

Sources: Daily Mail, CBS Los Angeles

Image screenshot: ABC 7