The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is demanding that a California high school change its mascot that depicts a caricature of an Arab person.
“The ‘Arab’ mascot image is a harmful form of ethnic stereotyping which should be eliminated,” wrote Abed Ayoub, the director of legal and policy affairs for the AAADC, in a letter to the school. “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.”
Coachella Valley High School will discuss the mascot at a board meeting on Nov. 21, reports mydesert.com.
The mascot was originally adopted in the 1920s because the area was sustained on date farming, a Middle Eastern fruit. Alumni disagree that it is a harmful stereotype.
“There was no intention to demean Arabs or be discriminatory in any way,” said David Hinkle, class of ’61. “It was created as a proud mascot of Coachella Valley High School, and it’s been that way ever since. 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.”
Superintendent of the school district Darryl Adams said he was concerned about the mascot when first coming to the area, but quickly changed his mind.
“Being an African-American from the Deep South, I’m sensitive to stereotyping,” he said. “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.”
Gee, this sounds oddly similar to a certain pro football team in our nation’s capitol. Wonder if the Oneida tribe wants to take up some vested interest in this high school, too.