(Los Angeles Times) – For 83 years, Coachella Valley High School has rallied behind a mascot with a snarling face, a hooked nose, a heavy beard and wearing a headscarf — the campus’ beloved Arab.
The image, inspired by the Middle East ambiance of Coachella Valley’s desert landscape of date palms and communities named Mecca and Oasis, was displayed in school murals, on the basketball court and at half-time shows featuring a belly dancer who entertains a student clad in “Arab” garb.
Now, in a compromise with offended Arab Americans, the Coachella Valley Unified School District in Riverside County has dumped the controversial mascot and belly dancer, but held on to its team nickname, Arabs, according to one official. Both sides are also in negotiations over a more benign “Arab” logo.
The mascot and belly dancer were absent from the sidelines when the Coachella Valley High football team defeated Rancho Mirage High 26-7 in its season opener on Friday night.