Posted November 07, 2013

California high school pressured to change ‘Arab’ mascot

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"The Arab" mascot is a sign of respect to Arab nations, said the high school's president of the alumni association. (CNN)

“The Arab” mascot is a sign of respect to Arab nations, said the high school’s president of the alumni association. (CNN)

An Arab-American civil rights group is asking a Southern California high school to change its mascot — “the Arab” — citing “gross stereotyping,” and the two sides will hold a meeting on Nov. 21 to discuss the matter.

According to a report Thursday from CNN, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said it was “shocked to learn that the Arab” was the official mascot of Coachella Valley High School, a tradition that began in the 1930s, according to the report.

In a letter addressed to the school in November, the committee said the use of “the Arab” as a mascot is bad for Arabs and Arab Americans:

“Continued use of the ‘Arab’ mascot perpetuates demeaning stereotypes of Arabs and Arab Americans. Coachella Valley High School’s gross stereotyping cannot be tolerated.”

According to the letter, a “female dressed as (a) belly dancer entertains the mascot by dancing for him” during halftime at the school’s games.

SI WIRE: H.S. football team forfeits after players chose farming convention over game

The district’s Superintendent, Daryl Adams, said in response to the letter that it’s important to consider the opinions of “other groups and cultures.”

“We’re very sensitive to that and how we’re going to work to make sure, maybe sometimes you should have some consultations when we’re working with other groups and cultures.”

Rich Ramirez, president of the high school’s alumni association, took a slightly different stance on “the Arab” mascot:

“It wasn’t to discriminate, it was to say ‘hey, thank you Middle East, Iraq, Algeria. This what we like to do. And we’re proud of being Arabs.”

These discussions come at a time when the NFL’s Washington Redskins face mounting pressure to change their moniker for similar reasons.

SI WIRE: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell meets with Redskins owner about team name


28 comments
ShifterKart
ShifterKart

He is not stereotyping. He does not have a bomb strapped to his chest....

ashtyna3
ashtyna3

I mean the wool industry!  Whatever!!!!

ashtyna3
ashtyna3

I am so sick and tired of people coming to this country and crying that everything Americans do and say offends them!!!  I guess that's what you get when so many sheep want change and they're willing to vote in a Muslim to create it!!!  Oh no, I've offended the cotton industry!

5411r90
5411r90

'LET ME TELL BOUT AHAB THE ARAB THE SHEIK OF THE BURNING SAND" 

Lonnie
Lonnie

I find scoreboards to be judgmental and insensitive, we need to stop using them too.

NFL_Madness
NFL_Madness

Don't believe everything you read.  This is another way to start a race war.  Propaganda, smoke and mirrors.

RussHaasch
RussHaasch

I really don't give a crap about this situation, but I would LOVE to know the background story.  How did an Arab ever become the mascot for this school in the first place? 

Abravanel
Abravanel

When my friend was working in Dubai, she brought me back an Arab bobblehead. Arabic countries SELL these. They exploit the image themselves. It's not "insulting" to them, it's just their traditional style of dress. Maybe I ought to go on a jihad against Groucho Glasses, because they're demeaning to Jews. Folks need to grow up and stop being so PC. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucky283/5357252618/

cincypaul
cincypaul

It's only a matter of time before all teams are simply referred to as colors.  The Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Browns are all set!

BrianE
BrianE

This has got to be an Onion report.

lastcall
lastcall

Why would you want  a coward as your mascot anyway?

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Ridiculous. This is no more insulting than the name 'Redskins'. Why anyone would be insulted by a grotesque stereotype is beyond me. Next thing you know they'll be telling us to stop threatening to defecate in guys mouths or to harm their family. We've turned into such a politically correct nation of whiners and complainers. Incredible. 

gymviking
gymviking

I don't know how the Celtics get away with that little fighting leprechaun symbol or Notre Dame can call themselves the fighting Irish......oh, yeah, cause we Irish guys don't get worked up about silly things, we just go to the pub.

AlexandroHiramZatarain
AlexandroHiramZatarain

I graduated from here in 2010, none of us looked at it as insulting as took pride of being "Arabs". It's ridiculous that now, after having this mascot since the 1930's, Arab groups are coming out to take this away. Yes, the mascot does look a little racist, but why just not ask for an artistic change? Sad to see how sensitive people could be nowadays.

doghockey
doghockey

Why not just eliminate all mascots now.   Why give the whining, chronically complaining, thin-skinned, sad-asses the pleasure of doing it themselves?

Will10
Will10

i'm glad that rich ramirez is proud of being arab

ApolloOne
ApolloOne

"it was 'shocked to learn that the Arab' was the official mascot"

Well, then, they shouldn't have learned.

dahmadi57
dahmadi57

@ashtyna3 woah there. lets tone down the bigotry and realize the world doesn't revolve around one individual such as yourself but over 7 billion with different ideas of what is appropriate and what is tasteless.

DamarisZ
DamarisZ

@RussHaasch Hi. I went to CVHS, and I would like to enlighten you today. :)
There were some rich Arab guys that were helping fund the making of CVHS, which was the first high school in the Valley. They decided to go visit one day, so to surprise the Arab guys the people who were in charge of the school's establishment at the time had decided on making the Arab the mascot to please them. It made sense in the future because the Coachella Valley, especially around that farmland area, is covered in date palms which the Arabs brought over from the Middle East long ago.
It never felt as if we were stereotyping Arabs, actually all my friends and I are proud of our mascot. Honestly I never liked the drawing itself, but that isn't the point anyway. There are generations of graduates who still live here. I personally know grandmothers and great-grandmothers who graduated from this same high school. Changing the mascot would be changing generations of memories for everyone who had previously attended CVHS.
Once an Arab, always an Arab.

dwb_alpha
dwb_alpha

@BrianE LOL, my thinking exactly.  No way the overly-sensitive media could've missed AN ARAB as a mascot for all these years!  With all the jibber-jabber about the Redskins, this must be like a squirrel finding an entire cave of stored food right as the first snowflakes fall.

mike.russell
mike.russell

@gymviking The Celtics get away with it by supplying the many hidden-away leprechaun villages in Ireland with beans and cornbread, to stave off hunger, and team jerseys, to ward off the mists and cold.  So another dependency is formed, putting a damper on moral outrage.  The leprechauns don't see themselves as models for silly little basketball symbols, even the world-famous Celtics', but they have to eat, have to stay warm.  Like anyone else. 

rhymeister
rhymeister

@gymviking One's a nationality the other is an ethnicity/race.  Guess you don't or can't see the difference....

gymviking
gymviking

@gacanefanblog Well, sometimes the lads do have to let off some steam, but then we go to the pub!