A California high school has ditched a controversial mascot that critics have denounced as offensive.
Coachella Valley High School has retired the "Arab," a bearded mascot used at school football games that wears a headscarf and sports an oversized hooked nose, as well as a belly-dancing genie, according to the Desert Sun.
— Brett Kelman (@TDSbrettkelman) August 29, 2014
"Bombers, billionaires or belly dancers. There's a lot more to Arab-Americans and the Arab culture and the Arab heritage than what's being depicted by this high school," Abed Ayoub of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee told KABC.
The district said the school would retain the Arab nickname, but give the character a makeover.
"The District and the ADC are close to resolving this matter in a very positive manner," the school district told the Desert Sun in a statement. "We hope that those witnessing our collaboration will follow our lead and keep their eyes, ears and hearts open to the feelings of others."
The district submitted five designs for a new mascot to the ADC for consideration, and 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
"We passed it around to experts and community members," Ayoub told the Sun. "We took our time to get the opinion of that logo, and it was overwhelmingly positive."
The new logo still needs to get the approval of the school board.