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California school retires divisive Arab mascot

THERMAL, Calif. (AP) -- A Southern California high school has retired a controversial Arab mascot.

The hook-nosed, snarling mascot who wears a head scarf did not appear at Coachella Valley High School's season opening football game Friday. A belly-dancing genie that often appears with the mascot was also retired.

The Desert Sun reports the change among the steps the Coachella Valley Unified School District is taking to give the mascot a makeover.

The Arab mascot has existed since the 1920s to recognize the desert region's reliance on date farming, a traditionally Middle Eastern crop. It came under fire last November when the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee complained that the mascot was stereotypical.

The school district refused to change the school's "Arabs" nickname, but agreed to redesign the Arab face on the school logo.

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