Caught up in the mortgage mess

Lately, one cannot log on to the internet, turn on the television or open up the newspaper (people still read newspapers, don’t they?) without being inundated with some kind of news, invariably bad, concerning the housing market, mortgage defaults and so on. It also seems that while the news entities focus on all of the losses, cable TV channels like TLC and Bravo are showing investors and speculators making healthy profits in less time than it takes to solve the latest crime on the newest CBS spinoff, CSI: Rasht.

All kidding aside, the news media has done yet another outstanding job of scaring the daylights out of everyone who believes in their credibility, never questioning any aspect of their stories. Many of these stories are accompanied with an interview or profile of someone who has lost their home or is about to, blurring the line between factual news and a human interest story. These “victims”, as they have been called, have all claimed to be duped into unknowingly doing something they would otherwise avoid, like signing loan applications that left sections blank, or taking prepayment penalties, or having one of those loans where the rate will adjust after 2 or 3 years.

Almost all of the people profiled in these stories are your garden variety Budweiser and Wonder Bread American, and once in a while a Latino is profiled. I am curious to know how our community has been dealing with the current housing market. Are Iranians going through the same issues? After all, we are a culture and a people with a desire for the best of everything. Has that desire to have it all and have it now resulted in becoming another statistic in the record number of foreclosures and defaults? We do our best to assimilate into American society, while at the same time maintain our heritage and identity as Iranians. However, even with the best of intentions, things can go wrong. How has our community been affected by this? Are any of us struggling to make our payments? Are any of us close to losing our homes? As educated and as resourceful as we are, are any of us asking for help or are we letting that double-edged shamshir called Persian Pride get in the way? I say “us” because whether you like it or not, as Iranians in the U.S. no matter how hard we try to fit or blend in, it will always be “us” and “them”.

This is an important subject, as we make such a huge contribution to this society, economically speaking. The places Iranians hold in American industry, business and academia show just one side of us, and of course we should all be proud. But how do we deal with the adversity some of our neighbors are experiencing, and are we in fact experiencing it ourselves? I hope you can take a moment to share your thoughts.

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