The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


January 2, 2001

Romanticizing Iranianness

I am writing this letter in response to the numerous articles that have been sent on the issue about iranians marrying Blacks.

Let me begin by saying that Iranians often talk very loosely, especially those outside of Iran. Our emotions often overwhelm us, and some ways of zealosuly emphasizing our identity is to vehemently distinguish ourselves from our neighboring Arabs, to emphasize our "Aryaness", and of course to object to romantic relationships with Blacks. Let's not make any more of this than what it is - romantic images of our Iranianess that help us identify with our nationality.

A very good Iranian friend of mine and I share mutual Black friends, and yet when I ask him what he thinks of an Iranian who marries a Black, he inevitably replies, "No real Iranian will ever marry a Black!" We Iranians are a complex people, often our lives are full of contradictions; but it is exactly this makes us so intringuing to those on the outside.

That said, there is no such thing as an Iranian race, we are a medley of many races - we have mongloid in us, and perhaps even some negroid, through Moorish/Arabic influences. What we all share is an ancient and highly refined culture, that has been enriched by many differing cultures, and a taroof of the finest quality. I have yet to meet an Iranian who is so coarse as to openly utter racist comments, on the face, to a Black. So perhaps our "prejudice" is not something that alarming after all.

I would be more alarmed of those amongst us who wished to separate minorities such as azeris, Baluchis, Khorasanians, from a mythical aryan majority. I think this sort of an attitude will cause us, a lot more anguish; we are afterall a land of about 75 ethnicities.

Such notions are not intrinsic to our culture and hopefully we will not inherit them from Westerners. A united Iran, where the common denominator of Iranianess is our diverse cultural/linguistic heritage, as opposed to race, is a healthy Iran.

Bijan Arman Ali Pingili



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