Addressing a "dated" California icon: Los Angeles school to hold debate on controversial Arab mascot
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) called on the school earlier this year to change its mascot, citing its large nose, heavy beard, and kaffiyeh garments as perpetuating stereotypes of Arabs and Arab Americans (Marilyn Chung/AP)
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Los Angeles's Coachella Valley School will be holding a meeting this week to "Address the Arab," the longtime mascot of the US high school, according to the Los Angeles Times. Earlier this month, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) called on the school to change its mascot, citing its Arab icon with its large nose, heavy beard, and kaffiyeh garments as perpetuating stereotypes of Arabs and Arab Americans.
According to the school's alumni association, the Arab was adopted as the school's mascot to commemorate the date-growing industry in the area and in reference to the names of the surrounding towns: Mecca, Oasis and Arabia. The association further says that the mascot has been "updated" to match modern times and "has evolved throughout the years."
In response to the growing criticism and marginalization within the community, District Superintendent Darryl Adams wrote a letter to the Desert Sun saying that the mascot was “never meant to dishonor or ridicule anyone..[and was] designed to show respect for Middle Eastern cultures and crops grown in the Coachella Valley. [However,] times change, people change, and, subsequently, even symbols and words embraced for decades may need to be considered for change as well,” Adams wrote.
The meeting to determine the "dated" Arab's fate will be held on November 21st.