By, Heather Warner
Friday night football just wasn’t the same for students and fans at Coachella Valley, California High School. The team’s “Arab” mascot was no where to be seen. “I think it’s sad that it wasn’t resolved before the start of the school year,” says one student sitting at the Friday night football game. Another adds, “It’s heartbreaking, it’s part of Arab and CV tradition.”
The “Arab” has been the Coachella Valley High School mascot for nearly a century. It’s seen some alterations, but the most recent scarf-wearing, snarling Arab drew criticism from the National Arab anti-discrimination committee. The group said it perpetuated a stereotype that Arabs are quote “bombers, billionaires or belly dancers.”
In response, the half-time belly-dancing routine the school is known for was also nixed.
The move from the school district is drew some mixed feelings among Friday night’s football crowd. “I don’t think it’s a good idea, because it’s been there since day one.” “The Arab wasn’t that offensive in my opinion so yea I’m going to miss him.” “The mascot is supposed to be a fierce character. You want to create intimidation… That’s what football is about, aggressiveness”
Others said the debate would end if the new mascot just donned a friendlier face. “Just removing any aggressiveness or anything that would depict something negative.”
So what’ll replace him? According to CVUSD Superintendent, Dr. Darryl Adams, the district is close to a resolution and will announce the changes at an upcoming news conference. But, until then, the fans say they’ll keep cheering.
“It’s not going to change the outcome of the game or the pride we have.” “Once an Arab always an Arab.”