The Coachella Valley High School in Thermal, Calif. uses a snarling Arab for its mascot, which doesn't go over well with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
The group sent a letter to officials at the Coachella Valley Unified School District last Friday asking it to drop the mascot because it's offensive and stereotypical, reports CBS New York.
Abed Ayoub, of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, wrote in the letter: “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."
The mascot dates back to the 1920s and has undergone various changes, from a turban-wearing horseman to a snarling face with a headscarf (video below).
School Superintendent Darryl Adams says the mascot will be brought up at the Nov. 21 school board meeting.
“Being an African-American from the Deep South, I’m sensitive to stereotyping,” Adams told MyDesert.com. “But in this context, when this was created it was not meant in that way. It was totally an admiration of the connection with the Middle East.”
Some school alumni are defending the Arab mascot.
“There was no intention to demean Arabs or be discriminatory in any way,” said David Hinkle of the class of 1961. “I don’t think it’s right to decide now that you can’t do that anymore. It is political correctness run amok, I would say.”