A California high school is retiring a derisive Arab mascot which came under fire last year.
The bearded, scowling mascot with a large hooked nose who wears a head scarf did not appear at Coachella Valley High School’s season opening football game on Friday. A belly-dancing genie that often appears with the mascot during halftime was also absent.
The change was among the steps the Coachella Valley Unified School District is taking to give the offensive mascot a makeover, reported The Desert Sun.
The Arab mascot has existed since the 1920s to recognize the desert region’s reliance on date farming, a traditionally Middle Eastern crop. Over the years, the mascot evolved from a turban-wearing horseman carrying a lance to a standing figure with a scowl and a traditional head covering.
It came under fire last November when the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee sent a letter to the school district complaining that the mascot was stereotypical.
Of the five designs submitted for consideration, the group favors this one:
Coachella Valley H.S. retires scowling Arab Mascot.... Here's what they are thinking for the new one. Do you like it? pic.twitter.com/t9xJ6rIUjN
— Coachella Valley (@AnInsidersGuide) August 30, 2014