“You’re Persian and Polish? I don’t believe it.”
Constantly trying to validate my cultural background to people can be exhausting.
Unfortunately, I have received many comments like this from my Persian community. The same goes for the Polish people I have met. No matter what evidence I provide, such as my name, my dad’s hometown, my first-generation American status, even the fact that half of my family is living in Iran, they refuse to believe that I am of Persian descent. They are blinded by the idea of one homogenous Persian identity. They don’t think about the fact that I’ve already been invalidated by many before them or of the harm they are causing by asking the same questions yet again. To them, being Persian entails a number of stereotypes. They ignore that people intermarry and that “Americanization” and whitewashing exist. They ignore that there is more than one way to be Persian. They deny me my family connection and my culture. The effect of their skepticism is an ensuing identity crisis.