Friday, November 8, 2013

More "Offensive" Stuff: The Coachella Valley High School Arabs

Why is it that typically, American society is only concerned about caricatures of people of color?  I don't see Yahoo! News plastered with stories about movements to change Notre Dame's mascot, the Fighting Irishman.  Surely that is an "offensive" stereotype of Irish people.  All we get are people upset over the Braves, Indians, the Chiefs, and now this . . . the Coachella Valley High School Arabs.

At first, I didn't think this was real, but apparently it is.  "The Arab," has been the school mascot since the 1930s.  Now, people are demanding that the mascot be changed because the depiction of Arabs is stereotypical and "offensive."  Consider these remarks made regarding the mascot's offensiveness.
"The image of the Coachella Valley High School mascot depicts a man with a large nose, heavy beard, and wearing a Kaffiay, or traditional Arab head covering. It has come to our attention that during sporting events and school functions, a student dressed as this figure, makes an appearance."
 Let's break this down, bit by bit, shall we?  First:

"The image of the Coachella Valley High School mascot depicts a man with a large nose . . ."

So apparently, facial features common to a particular group of people is somehow offensive to depict?  What about white men with big noses?  How about Wake Forrest's "Demon Deacon"?

This guy has a big nose.  He also has a big chin, which is something that is very common amongst caucasian-looking mascots.  Should I be offended by the stereotype that white men all have big chins?  True: not all Arabs have big hook noses, but lets face facts: a lot of them do.  It's not racist, it's just a fact.  Most white men have brown eyes.  Is that racist now?  Most black people have brown eyes.  Also racist?

Next up: "heavy beard . . ." right, because we've never seen Arabs with heavy beards.  That's just a stereotype!

God, we are so insensitive by depicting people as they are!  But wait, it gets better, because the CVHS mascot is also seen "wearing a Kaffiay, or traditional Arab head covering"!  THE OUTRAGE!!!

Uh-oh.  This guy has a big nose, a beard
and he's wearing a kaffiya!  Someone call
the PC police!!!

Sure, the mascot is cartoonish, but that's okay.  It's not like no Arab has ever looked like that mascot.  The principal at the high school stated that until 9/11, no one called for the school to remove their mascot.  Is the mascot in bad taste?  Sure it is: but all mascots are meant to be ridiculous.  Why does the Fighting Irishman even exist?  Because the Irish are notorious for being feisty (even moreso when they're drunk).

White Americans are lampooned all the time.  We're made fun of because we are perceived as being bourgie, or even better we're often depicted as being ignorant red necks.  To other cultures in other countries, all white Americans are moonshiners, and we all live in the hollars of West Virginia.  How is that for a stereotype?  The stereotype exists because those people actually exist.  But you don't see white people getting all offended by it.

Are Turks everywhere calling for an end to the USC Trojan?  Are Greek Americans storming the gates to oust the Michigan State Spartan?  How come labor unions aren't protesting the Purdue Boilermakers for making a whimsical image of the average American working-class man of old?

The inherent problem with this is that the groups of people getting upset over mascots are the same groups that espouse the notion of "cultural equality," the idea that no culture is superior to another.  I subscribe to that idea, but the problem with their logic is that by claiming their culture should never, ever be lampooned or caricaturized, while not also calling for an end to the mockery of white American culture, they have contradicted themselves and shown their true colors.  They don't really care about other cultures: they just care about their own.

White men who only care about white American culture are often called "racists," and "bigots," and "ignorant."  So why are those same names not applied to an Arab who despises my culture and is not interesting in learning anything about me?

Maybe other cultures need to develop a sense of humor and stop taking themselves so seriously.  All I want is a world in which people can take a damn joke.


Anonymous said...

Does the Arab mascot come out and blow up the opposing team's stands, shouting "Allahu Akbar!" ?

Jersey McJones said...

The above comment, Jack, is an example of why Arabs are a little sensitive these days.


Anonymous said...

Not just sensitive, Mr. McJones...

Ready to explode!