Culturally Offensive Sports Mascots: Racist or Awesome?

High School-Arab Mascot

The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) contacted the Coachella Valley Unified School District to complain about one high school’s “Angry Arab” mascot.

Coachella Valley High School calls it’s sports teams the “Coachella Valley Arabs” and even features an “Arab” as its mascot – much to the chagrin of the Arab-American community.

Angry Arab“The mascot is basically an angry ‘Arab’ head – hooknose, long beard, headscarf and all,” said Abed Ayoub, legal and policy director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).

Ayoub calls the school’s mascot and offensive half-time shows (which feature belly-dancers and harem girls) a harmful form of ethnic stereotyping.

“By allowing continued use of the term and imagery,” he continued, “you are commending and enforcing the negative stereotypes of an entire ethnic group, millions of whom are citizens of this nation.”

“And what makes it worse is that it’s coming from a school district,” he said. “They’re supposed to be teaching kids to respect other cultures.”

But the school disagrees. The district’s superintendent, Darryl Adams, says that the Angry Arab was originally intended to honor the date-farmers of the Coachella Valley, a crop traditionally associated with the Middle East. School officials also point out that the use of the Angry Arab is a positive depiction of Arab culture – complete with belly dancers and magic carpets. Yep, that doesn’t sound like a stereotype at all.

In fact, the tradition is so ingrained in the school that not even 9/11 could shake the Arab mascot. While some people urged the school to change the mascot after the attacks so they wouldn’t be associated with “terrorists,” the school stood strong and kept their beloved Angry Arab.

As one alumnus said, “We have been ARABS since the 1930s and are proud of it!

High school antics aside, culturally offensive sports teams have been under fire recently in the NFL as well. Nearly 700 protesters marched 20 blocks to the Minneapolis Metrodome on Thursday night to protest the Washington Redskins football team. Demonstrators, who held up signs such as “Genocide should never be a mascot” and “Redskins referred to my ancestors’ scalps,” are urging the team to change its mascot name to something… a little less offensive.Redskin Racism

Even Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is on board, saying he also thinks the Washington Redskins should change their team name.

I think it’s racist,” Dayton said, “I believe the name should be changed.”

As for the Minneapolis Vikings, that name’s totally fine. No negative connotations there – especially not about raping and pillaging.

Via: Al Jazeera & CBS Local News

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply