Coachella Valley High School Mascot, A self-described civil rights group is calling on a Southern California high school to get rid of its longstanding Arab mascot that it deems offensive.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) recently sent a letter (PDF) to school district officials about the mascot at Coachella Valley High School, the Associated Press reported.
The mascot – which has been around since the 1920s and chosen to recognize the area’s reliance on date farming, traditionally a Middle Eastern crop – “depicts a man with a large nose, heavy beard, and wearing a keffiyeh, or traditional Arab head covering,” according to the letter.
Several videos posted on YouTube show the so-called “genie” mascot at Coachella Valley High School football and basketball games performing with Arab-style “belly dancers.”
Physical Education uniforms and other products offered on the school’s website also prominently feature the mascot.
Over the years, the mascot has evolved from a turban-wearing horseman carrying a lance to a standing figure with a snarl on its face and sporting a headscarf, according to the Associated Press.