California high school's Arab mascot draws ire

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A high school here is being pressured to abandon its team name and longstanding mascot – a sneering, hook-nosed Arab, sometimes with a single tooth – because of accusations that it is derogatory.

The Coachella Valley Unified School District received a letter this week from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Washington chastising education officials for allowing "gross stereotyping" at Coachella Valley High School in school murals, football halftime shows and the mascot in general.

"ADC is appalled at the use of a caricature depicted to be an 'Arab' as the official mascot of the high school," the letter states. "The image of the Coachella Valley High School mascot depicts a man with a large nose, heavy beard and wearing akaffiay, (often spelled in English as keffiyeh) or traditional Arab head covering."

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