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Sawa Bil Matbakh

Arabs Play American Football?

A Los Angeles town is mid-debate about whether or not they should change a high-school American football team's name and mascot, currently Arab-themed.

Thermal, Los Angeles, is a special place in America reminiscent of the Middle East with its desert surroundings, date farms, communities named Mecca and Oasis and, of course, a high school American football team named the Arabs complete with a stereotypical Arab looking mascot and a harem. Obviously.

The team and their mascot have been around for 82 years and are surprisingly only now coming under fire for racism. This is just the latest example of a larger ongoing debate about backwards thinking in American sports, like the NFL team, the Washington Redskins. It has gotten to the point that even President Obama has chimed in on the matter, stating if he owned the Washington franchise, he would change the name. Traditions aside, it is simply in poor taste.

The debate to change the name from Arabs is a bit of sensitive subject for the Thermal community. They thought about renaming it after 9/11 but the town was unwilling to part with customs. The reason it is being debated now is that it finally showed up on the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ radar. According to their spokeswoman Yasmin Nouh, "Whether it is Arab, Norwegian, Greek or Moors, we believe ethnic or religious-based mascots are OK as long as they're portrayed in a respectful manner and don't reinforce negative stereotypes."

"We're still going to stick with the Arab," said school board president, Lowell Kemper, after scores of residents defended the tradition dating back generations. "It's just a matter of whether we have a change in the caricature of the mascot."

The real question is it even actually possible to create a race-based mascot that isn't offensive? How does one make an Arab caricature look flattering? It's absolutely absurd and beyond reason. We can understand that it is hard to let go of tradition, but when the tradition is so absurdly offensive, why bother putting up a fight? Doesn’t having an Arab as a mascot mean that your rival school is having “Kill the Arabs!” pep rallies before their matches? Doesn’t it seem obvious how that could offend?

Would Americans like it if one's of Egypt's football teams had this fat American as their mascot? We do love our fast food, and we often thank America for making us less healthy. Don't you think an over 300 pound angry American would be the perfect mascot to spark fear in the eyes of opponents? All he is really missing is a gun, a beer, and I Love War tattoo on his forehead.

 

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