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Arab and Muslim-American civil rights groups are calling on Coachella Valley High School to change its "Arabs" nickname and stop using the mascot depicting a caricature of an Arab man.  The groups calls it a "harmful form of ethnic stereotyping."

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) sent a letter to the school in early November to complain.  ADC told the school that keeping such nicknames and mascot means the school is, "commending and enforcing the negative stereotypes of an entire ethnic group."

In response, the school district intends to discuss the issue at its November 21 meeting.  As is usually the case with other schools or sports teams whose names are offensive to certain groups, the school's administrators and alumni are defending the name.  They say it was never meant to be offensive.

Coachella Valley High School is located in southern California, and is a small town near Palm Springs.  The school has been known as the "Arabs," some say going back to the 1920s.  The use of "Arabs" and the mascot is said to honor the importance of the date industry in this end of the valley, and is not limited to just the mascot.  Neighboring towns also carry the names Mecca, Oasis, and Arabia to honor that tradition.  The school is almost 97 percent Latino.


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