I use words like thugs and siyah.

I have a lot of friends - thugs, sefeed people, PERSIAN, siyah’s, etc. Okay, I don’t actually refer to my friends like that… anymore.

officeI was raised in a pretty lenient household - I was free to do what I wanted (sex not included), stay out late, go out with friends, etc. But that doesn’t mean I was safe from hate. My parents frequently used derogatory terms to describe anyone from a race that wasn’t Persian or white.

Black people are thugs and cheaters. Mexicans are hamals. Arabs are shady.

Even with my family visiting us from Iran for the first time – their judgements of people are based solely on the color of their skin and the stereotypes that match it: “well she’s Mexican, they’re good for that type of work” or “ahhhhhh Arab??? No wonder he looks kaseef” (translation: dirty).

kanye

And it wasn’t just my family. My friends came from all different backgrounds – South American, Indian, Asian, white, black — but whenever it came to boys and dating, our rating of them included their race. We had nicknames for black guys (BBC’s = big black cock), white guys were just oh he’s white, etc. And our first question whenever a friend mentioned they had a new crush was what is he?

I don’t think I realized the error in our ways until even after college: when I entered the work world and saw firsthand how racism can change people’s lives — how much race plays a part in getting hired and moving up the food chain. I saw how gentrification can be a bad thing and how our society positions one race to be more successful than another.

Suddenly, it wasn’t so much about whether I was dating a black guy — but that…

the struggle is real and as people of color, we are all fighting against it.

books

Back then, we didn’t know any better – my family doesn’t know better and doesn’t realize that strength comes in numbers, and in college, my friends and I didn’t think that we were being harmful.

But not knowing any better is still racism.

And that’s pretty difficult to accept especially with people who don’t actually think they’re being racist – my family thinks their assertions are facts. And I’ve tried to explain to them politically, socially, and emotionally why they are wrong — but to them, I’m just “too sensitive.”

And that’s why at s&f we have posts where we use the same language that some of us grew up with. We promised we wouldn’t be PC…

We can’t change where we came from, but we can change where we are going.

We only hope you read enough to differentiate between the sarcastic from the real. We don’t claim to represent the entire generation of young Iranian Americans, but we do claim to represent ourselves and attempt to create a dialogue. 

Because without the dialogue, how will we ever grow as a community?

So hate it or love it, we want to hear it.

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tweet me @farrah_joon

Meeting Men in a Foreign Place

I recently took time off from Cairo and decided to head to Jordan and Italy for vacation. Traveling is something I’ve always enjoyed; when things get stressful, it’s always useful to get a change of scenery, get out of your comfort zone and of course, meet new people.

euroAnd speaking of new people, dating prospects seem to take a whole new turn in foreign lands, not only because we tend to be more relaxed on vacation, but because…

There is a common belief in the charm of what’s foreign.

We’ve all participated in one of those rant sessions about the uselessness of men in our countries… “ugh Egyptian guys are so…” Therefore, when we are on vacation and faced with the allure of a different language, habits and features, we find ourselves swayed by the charm of that difference… “Damn that Italian guy is so hot when he catcalls like that…” (something not so hot can suddenly become hot when we are in a new place).

okOne easy example among Arabic speakers is how they react to each other’s dialects. In Egypt, the slightest hint of Levantine Arabic sends us drooling. The same appears to be true of our dialect even though we may not see it. In my eyes, Egyptian Arabic is not the most flirtatious of dialects and yet somehow it often makes a swooning impression on non-Egyptians.

Yet the more I witness this, the more I understand that getting carried away with charm of those differences does have its setbacks because…

we are underestimating our own cultures.

dateI see this all the time in Cairo, not just with dating but also more generally, where sometimes, we tend to fall into the trap of making orientalist/racist judgments about our own communities. I have many Egyptian female friends generalizing our guys as harassers, egotistic and unmindful of good manners as compared to say, Lebanese guys.

But the truth is…

in every community there are all types of people: the gentlemen, the harassers, and the charmers.

It’s as simple as that. So at the end of the day, travel should be about appreciating difference, and never about underestimating a community at the expense of another.

JOONS – Have you ever had a vacation fling?

SEXANDFESSENJOON@GMAIL.COM

FACEBOOK US

TWEET @YASMINE_NAGATY

xoxo,

YASMINE یاسمین

Who is OMID J.?

Hey joonies,

In honor of our “non-Racism” week, we thought it might be cool to hear from someone OTHER than Farrah and Saaghi for once.  Meet Omidjooon.  He’s not just a fan of making silly videos– he’s got some CALI #SWAG too.  

About a week ago, a police investigator came to my parents house looking for me. I was not home so he left his card with my parents. He then went to my neighbors home, showed them a picture of me, and asked if I lived next door. Obviously, they said yes.

I was the suspect in a shooting.

Except what I was shooting was a picture and the weapon was my iPhone.

Turns out on December 12th, someone saw me take a picture of the Police Station in Downtown.  They took down my license plates and called the police. The police ran the plates and found that the car belonged to the one and only Omid Joon.

[Read more...]

ALL I DO IS LIN.

Joons,

My new obsession: SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA- GREYHOUND. Even if you’re not a clubhead, you have to admit the beat is sick,brah. I think I could eat fessenjoon or have sex to this song, (or run a marathon) and thats why its S&F worthy.

You can listen to it in the new ABSOLUT commercial, thats part TRON/part ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

Now we’re not gonna say its RACISM week, like they try to call out BLACK HISTORY MONTH & INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY…but I think Farrah brought about how us Iranians can be the victims of some very nasty profiling ….

but lets talk about how us Iranians can be some nasty racists, now I realize thats a loaded term, but lets be real– we can get pretty bad.

Sometimes I think we worship our “blood” as if we were tracing it back to GOLD. The ARYAN thing was dispelled a few months ago, and clearly, our oppressive theocracy should humble our superiority complex–no?

[Read more...]

That’s My Heritage, Bitch

Hey joonies,

I’m going to do things a little differently tonight.  On S&F, we talk a lot about sex… and fessenjoon– because who doesn’t love both of them?  Especially together…

But it’s time for things to get a little serious.  Especially now that Shahs of Sunset is airing for the world to see…. no comment.

Yes, you definitely represent the Iranian American community…

Not to get all deep on you, but I think we’ve all dealt with some type of hate at some point in our lives.  Especially at such a pivotal time where war is one of the main issues discussed everyday. Or even think back to a decade ago when 9/11 happened.  All Middle Easterners were grouped into one category: Terrorists.

Nice, thank you.    

I grew up in a small town that was predominately White.  And they just didn’t know any better because they’d never been exposed to anything foreign.  So I was used to being the token Persian girl and I dealt with haters as they came.  But not always well… responding to people like this is never effective or smart:

“You’re right, my family flies planes… so watch your fucking mouth.”  

This just promotes the stigma that we’re violent and that’s not okay.

I moved away to the Persian capital of America for college: Hello Los Angeles.

[Read more...]

Sometimes, I Wish I Was Black.

Whatup joonies,

You’re probably sick of all the MLK talk today–the tweets, the Facebook updates, the quotes–you’re probably thinking, dude every other day of the year, us Iroonis are so racist. (Don’t even try to deny those ridiculous comments your parents make)!

But we’re here to say, the new generation of Iranians are not racist. In fact, we’re in awe of black people. The awesomeness they’ve achieved in such a short time, especially given the obstacles they’ve had in their way. And no, we’re not talking about Kanye or Kobe– the music industry and the b-ball court isn’t the only place where they run sh!T.

Here’s our favorite influential people of African descent (we try to say PC– sometimes).

THE ACTIVIST:

HUEY NEWTON 

what a boss.

“I think what motivates people is not great hate, but great love for other people”

Dr. King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, the Little Rock Nine– we’ve heard all about these famous activists and there are even picture books about them.

Huey Newton was a different sort of activist, controversial and impossible to silence. A native of Oakland, he taught himself how to read after he graduated high school– he went on to get his PhD in Social Philosophy. Along with Bobby Seale, he co-founded the infamous Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966.

Sure, Dr. Huey Newton was jailed, tried, jailed again–(repeat) but it is hard to deny the mark that Huey, and his work, has left on the world of civil rights and urban activism.

ELLA BAKER

“give light and people will find their way”

Sometimes people forget about women in the Civil Rights movement.  But Ella Baker, was a true leader. She preferred working behind-the-scenes insisting that “strong people don’t need leaders”; and this had lasting effects because after MLK was assassinated, the Civil Rights Movement didn’t die. (“Martin didn’t make the movement, the Movement made Martin”)

Ella lent her voice to countless movements, beyond just civil rights, and we know if she were alive today– she’d help Iran out– FOR SURE. You’re a real woman, Ms. Baker!

THE ACTOR:

BILL COSBY

"It isn't a matter of black is beautiful as much as it is white is not all that's beautiful."

Most of us grew up watching The Cosby Show, which turned out to be the highest ranking sitcom OF ALL TIME– at a time where racism still played a dominant role in people’s perceptions of African Americans.  The Cosby Show broke stereotypes, it taught us (without us even realizing it) acceptance and compassion.

But Bill Cosby wasn’t just known for his hit sitcom.  He held a doctorate in education and encouraged African Americans to excel in more than just sports, fashion, and “acting hard.”

Bill Cosby played an integral role in our lives encouraging US to be more educated.  He was  also the most Persian Dad on TV for a while.

RUBY DEE

“The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within — strength, courage, dignity.”

Ruby Dee may have been before our time, but she played a significant role in defining the movement of African American culture.  She was the first African American woman to ever play lead roles at the American Shakespeare Festival.  She’s known for roles in A Raisin in the Sun and American Gangster.  

But of course… that’s not all.

Not only, was Ruby Dee a breast cancer survivor for over 30 years, but she was one of the many who supported MLK by marching alongside her peers in MLK’s march on Washington in 1963.  In 1970, she won the Federick Douglass Award for leadership toward equal opportunity.

Ruby Dee: a strong woman. An inspiration.

THE MUSICIAN:

JOHN LEGEND

The world won't get no better, we gotta change it

John Legend– DAMN. Smooth voice. Beautiful music. Well Educated. He just makes us want to Get Lifted. There really is not much else to say here, other than– John Legend makes us believe there is some hope left in the entertainment industry, beyond Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber.

NINA SIMONE

You just have to listen to the above song. Soulful. It really makes you want to turn back time to the 60s, and march with Dr. King, doesnt it? Or at least, really makes you wish you were black.

THE ARTIST:

LANGSTON HUGHES

Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink and be in love”

Without Langston Hughes, there would be no Tupac, no Public Enemy, and definitely no Jay-Z. If you were lucky enough to read his poetry in school (and didn’t snooze), you already know how bomb Langston is, if not– pick up his Montage of a Dream Deferred and bask in its genius.

Langston was hiphop before it even existed.

BETYE SAAR

image

Now you might enjoy Aunt Jemima Waffles from your local grocery store, but Betye Saar’s work on stereotyped black figures (Aunt Jemima, Uncle Tom etc) is PHENOMENAL.

The liberation of Aunt Jemima, 1972

GOOGLE for more please.

THE POLITICIAN:

BARACK OBAMA

Did you really think we’d forget one of the most powerful men on the PLANET?! WHO IS BLACK!?

With infinite amounts of swag and critics, President Obama is definitely the culmination of centuries of activism. Say what you want about his policies and his views, but there is no denying that Barack Hussein Obama is a fuckin’ champion, a big EFF YOU to the KKK, and white supremacists out there.

And for that, even that alone, we love him.

"There is not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America — there is the United States of America"

xx,

The S&F team
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