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Calif. high school's push to keep Arab sparks debate over ethnic mascots

For decades, a Southern California high school has had a black-haired, mustached man wearing a head scarf known as the Arab as its mascot. He's about to get a makeover.

After Arab-Americans objected to the use of the snarling caricature to represent Coachella Valley High School, the school district 120 miles southeast of Los Angeles in a region known for date-farming and desert surroundings has decided to make changes but keep the mascot beloved to alumni.

The district aims to craft an ethnic mascot that doesn't offend, though some experts question whether that's possible.

The debate comes as the decades-old controversy over Native American mascots, logos and nicknames gains heat with stepped up pressure on the National Football League's Washington Redskins to change its name.

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