I’m tempted to say the following is the most unfortunate thing to be associated with this part of the country since Jambang played Coachella last year, but that’s not really doing the subject justice. On Tuesday, the New York Times’ Sarah Wheaton reports Thermal, CA’s Coachella Valley High School has worked out a deal with an anti-discrimination group to change the school’s mascot, “the Arab”, “after objections to the sneering, crooked-nosed figure.”
Late last year, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee was made aware of the school’s carpet-riding mascot, and objected to stereotypical portrayals that included a belly-dancer entertaining the mascot during sporting events.
“A lot of us were confused, shocked, a little angry,” said Chrystabelle Ramirez, the high school’s senior class president, “because it’s like you’re taking away our mascot, something we take pride in because we all grew up in this community.” Ms. Ramirez, who is a member of the committee to redesign the mascot, is the official Princess Dunyazade of the festival, one of three winners of the Queen Scheherazade pageant. She spoke from the bleachers in a stadium on the fairgrounds, where she had gamely chased an emu around a racetrack while wearing a costume reminiscent of Princess Jasmine’s in the Disney movie “Aladdin.”
“It’s not like we just got it out of nowhere,” said Ms. Ramirez, the daughter of Mexican immigrants who began their lives in America picking dates. “We have so much history with our streets, with our festival, and with our date history.”