The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee sent a letter on Friday to the Coachella Valley Unified School District asking Coachella Valley High School to abandon its unbelievably offensive “Arab” mascot.
The mascot, a man with a “large nose, heavy beard, and wearing kaffiay,” is called out by the ADC for its “harmful” ethnic stereotyping. Abed Ayoub, director of legal and policy affairs for the anti-discrimination committee, writes in the letter that "by allowing continued use of the term and imagery, you are commending and enforcing the negative stereotypes of an entire ethnic group, millions of whom are citizens of this nation."
Superintendent Darryl Adams of the Coachella Valley Unified School District says he will discuss the issue with the board at their next meeting on Nov. 21. He also said that as an African-American man from the Deep South, he was first bothered by the mascot but in the context it was created, it was “not meant in that way. It was totally an admiration of the connection with the Middle East."
Other Coachella Valley High Alumni agree with Adams’ assessment. David Hinkle, proud graduate of the Class of '61, also relies on the specious “intention” argument. "There was no intention to demean Arabs or be discriminatory in any way," Hinkle said. "I don't think it's right to decide now that you can't do that anymore. It is political correctness run amok, I would say."
Well here’s what I would say, Mr. Hinkle: shut the fuck up. Seriously. Your argument is just common sense run amok.
To everyone wandering around the internet (and apparently Coachella Valley) blabbering inane shit about the "intentions" of blackface, and Redskins, and now Arabs, just be quiet. No one is saying you don’t have a right to speak your mind, but why on earth would you want to defend this shit? Just let it go. Let it go.
You can still keep your old yearbooks and letterman jackets and your memories of the time a friend dressed up in that hilarious turban costume with a fake gold tooth, but stop pretending like change is a personal affront. When other people—smart people—point out that mascots and costumes are offensive, they’re not taking anything from you. They’re trying to help others. If it doesn’t hurt you and it does help others, how can that be bad?
Meanwhile, if you'd like to see the Arab in action, the Desert Sun has a nice short video showing the evolution of the mascot, hook nose and all:
And you can also read the ADC’s official letter here, where they ultimately demand a "swift and amicable" resolution to the issue.
[Screenshot via Desert Sun]