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High school to drop 'Arab' mascot that some found offensive

Riverside County school district is dropping 'the Arab' as the school mascot at Coachella Valley High

A Riverside County school district is planning to drop its school mascot "the Arab" after complaints that it was offensive.

Last year, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee urged the district to eliminate the mascot — a man with a large nose and heavy beard wearing a kaffiyeh, a traditional Arab head covering — saying the school is perpetuating demeaning stereotypes.

The mascot came to the anti-discrimination group's attention after a community member raised concerns, and it decided to take action after researching the region’s history and polling community members.

Other area team names include the Alhambra High School “Moors,” the Hollywood High “Sheiks,” and the Indio High School “Rajahs.” 

The Coachella Valley Unified School District announced last week it would "retire" the Arab mascot, which was used at Coachella Valley High School.

The Desert Sun reported that the district and civil rights group planned a press conference to discuss changes in the mascot and logo.

The mascot was adopted to recognize the importance of the date industry in the area, and "fit in perfectly with the neighboring towns of Mecca, Oasis, Arabia and Thermal," according to a description from the school's alumni association.

The Arab was originally drawn riding a horse with a lance and a turban, and has evolved throughout the years, according to the association.

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