Is This California High School Mascot Racist?
Despite accusations of racism, one California high school is insistent that their controversial mascot will remain. For the last 82 years, the Coachella Valley High School mascot has been an “Arab,” complete with black hair, a mustache and snarling expression. A local Arab-American group has said the mascot “is steeped in offensive stereotypes,” but the school is refusing to budge.
Some local residents have also agreed with the school, declaring that it’s been part of Coachella Valley High School for generations. The school has acquiesced to a small makeover for the costume, but said the name and likeness will remain.
“We’re still going to stick with the Arab,” said school board president Lowell Kemper. “It’s just a matter of whether we have a change in the caricature of the mascot.”
If the school ended changing their costume that some consider offensive, it wouldn’t be the first time a school did so over accusations of racism. Stanford University teams were once known as the Indians, but are now the Cardinals, while Seattle University switched from Chieftains to RedHawks. Miami University also changed their name from the Redskins to the RedHawks.
A Capital News Service project recently found that 28 high schools across 18 states have dropped the name Redskins for a less offensive moniker. At the professional level, some are pushing for NFL team Washington Redskins to get a name change as well. In the 1990s, the NBA team Washington Bullets dropped their name because of the inference to violence and changed it to the Washington Wizards.