August 7, 2000
I'm not Arab American
I am an Iranian American, born in Bloomington, Indiana and raised in
the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. I had a great childhood being raised
by my father Javad Gorjidooz and my mother Azita. Everything was going
well until the early 90's when the Persian Gulf War began.
I was just entering fifth grade when everything started to change. Where
I grew up, there were an abundance of Arab Americans, and as I was beginning
to meet new friends( Americans) when they started to ignore me. I was
wondering what was going on because the Arab Americans started to group
together and the other kids were hesitant to talk to me.
The whole time I was alone except for the few girls that had sympathy
for me. I told my parents about the actions at school and they reinsured
me that Iran was not a part of the Persian Gulf War, and believe me I was
Then a few other actions occurred. The American students began asking
me why I won't sit with the Arab American students during lunch. I told
them that I wasn't an Arab American, and they looked at me with a state
of confusion. I told them that I am an Iranian American.
They began to ask me what the difference was, so I explained that we
may look the same and use a few of the same words with the same meanings,
but there is a difference in life styles. We are just as different as
the Swedish and French people are, or similar to the Americans and the
Germans. Different languages, food, religions, education, society, and
culture, but we somewhat look the same.
Most of the kids mistaken me for an Arab American, but all I had to
do was to explain to them the there is a difference in cultures. I truly
love my Persian heritage.
Alex Hooman Gorjidooz