COACHELLA - It's the next development in the controversial mascot debate over at Coachella Valley High School as one group is upset over the schools mascot of an "Arab"; but people in support are now taking to social media to show their pride for the Arab mascot.
As cheerleaders and the marching band get ready for Friday nights big game, there seems to be no shortage of Arab pride; and that pride stretches along social media as many students, faculty and alumni changed their profile picture on Facebook to a picture of the high school mascot. "A couple of my friends have changed their profile picture to an Arab,” says student Rodol Foavila.
"I think it's really nice. It's showing school pride. I see a lot of people wearing the CV on their cheek too,” says student Luis Mendoza.
For Rich Ramirez who heads the High School Alumni Association, showing support of the more than 80- year old mascot via Facebook is the perfect way to keep the tradition alive. "It's just about showing our pride and support of keeping our Arabic culture that we have instilled at this high school alive,” says Ramirez.
Though, one group isn’t happy with the mascot. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee says the mascot, which shows an Arabic mans face, snarling, with a hook nose, a golden tooth and golden earrings, is out of touch and offensive in the 21st century.
"We didn't mean for it to be demeaning. When it was done back in the 80’s, it was done primarily to show an angry Arab attacking the enemy form a standpoint of football, basketball and other sports in school,” says Ramirez.
Students say they understand how the group may be offended post 9/11 but add the history of the mascot should be taken into consideration. "It probably wouldn’t have been offensive (if 9/11 didn’t happen) but you know times change. Things that might not be offensive today might be offensive tomorrow,” says Mendoza.
They add it's a touchy matter for sure. "They do have a right to be angry because they don't feel like we are capturing who they really are,” says student Kalina Ortega.
"If it's offending that many people then they probably should change it but if it's only offending a small group than we shouldn't have to go to the trouble of changing it,” adds Mendoza.
Whether the school changes the mascot or not, Ramirez says school pride will live on. "We'll put in a young, handsome Arabic fellow in there with a beard and a mustache looking good-- and that should be ok,” says Ramirez.