We Iranians, especially the ones living in the west have identified ourselves as the best. I must say that indeed such prejudices do run amongst us, even amongst those who have lived in America for years and consider themselves Iranian-American. It seems like such roots that identify us as such Persians never die, and certain traits stick with us.
As a child growing up in Iran I was always afraid of showing my Turkish roots, almost like a criminal who is afraid of being identified. I remember the time I talked to this friend who told me if he was a Turk he would have committed suicide.
He was being sarcastic, but we as a nation grow up to think a certain way, usually by our parents, and no matter how many years we live outside Iran, certain things do not change. Perhaps it was not until after I moved to America that I started to brag about my Turkish blood, hoping to make up for the loss of connection I felt with my roots.
It is interesting that as mentioned in the article, Persian in peril, by Nader Baghaei-Yazdi, we Iranians tend to assimilate into our new culture very rapidly, and we take pride into being identified perhaps as “Aamrikayee” but we often miss to take the best out of American culture.
I can not count the number of times I have run into Persians who are racist towards Blacks, Asians, Indians and … the list goes on. I do know Persian friends do get disgusted when they are identified as Indians, almost like our country is any better than theirs.
I once asked my mom if a culture could completely change. Her answer was that it could, but over time. But will it take anoter 2500 years for our 2500-year-old culture to evolve?
The author of “Pure as a mutt” criticized the sense of nationalism we Iranians living in the west feel. I must comment that indeed for us Iranians our past is the only thing that connects us to what we call 'home', especially for those who have left Iran before the Islamic Revolution and made the decision of not going back, or for those who live in exile.
I do not think it is necessarily pureness that we look for but a connection between the two worlds that we live in. After the Islamic Republic took over our country and established a government hated by the majority of the population, we as a nation felt our past was stolen from us and we started being identified as murders and terrorists. We had to hold on to the only thing that we took pride in, and that was our history.
For those of us who have not seen home for over 20 years the “Aryans Empire” is the only way to be connected our people in Iran. Everyday we meet Persians of all sorts, not all of them are pure, they could be half-Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Arabs, and all kinds, but there is the past and our “Aryan” identify that allows us to be able to feel a connection between these random people we consider our own.
Although prejudgments and jokes are part of our culture and may never die, we all come from one place we call home. Thus, nationalist feelings among those who have lived in the west may perhaps be even more passionate than those living in Iran. By adapting to a new culture, we feel a sense of loss, and fear not being able to fit into our old culture.
We take pride in being identified as a nation, and as Iranians. It is good to be able to take pride in who you are. Home is always home. A secure place where we can always go to and escape from our surrounding world.