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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.

Home away from home

For four years, I really didn’t deal with people being stupid enough to judge me based on my heritage.  And it was really nice, but it spoiled me.  I got used to this notion that no one was ever surprised/cared that I was Iranian. It just wasn’t a big deal because in L.A., you see Iranians everywhere.

Even though, L.A. is one of the most diverse cities in the world– I lived in a bubble.  A bubble where people really don’t discriminate as much as they do in small towns, or Southern states.  LA is just different because people come from ALL DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS and that’s the beauty of L.A.

The L.A. Scene

EVERYONE is stuck on the 405 everyday– whether they’re Latino, Asian, Black or Persian riding dirrrrty in their BMW/Mercedes Benz.

While college was this amazing experience where I really felt like I could embrace my culture and not worry about discrimination- I got a major reality check the summer after I graduated.

I was flying back from Iran with my little brother. I was 23 at the time and he was 14.  Not trying to explain now- but we ended up missing our flight in Amsterdam back to the West Coast (thank you IranAir, your sabzi polo wasn’t worth it this time).  So we were forced to take a flight into Detroit.  

Here’s some background — my grandfather had just passed away and I was bringing back some money that he had left for my mother in his inheritance.  This was the first time I was ever bringing anything back I had to claim and so I was a little freaked out.  On my customs form, I didn’t specify how much, I just said more than $10,000.

Cause we’re Persian! (can you guess where that’s from?)

Obviously, TSA asked me how much and I told them the truth.  But they opened all my bags (we only had our backpacks– our suitcases beat us home)… and counted everything from random dollar bills in my sweatshirt pockets to PENNIES.  And TSA accused me of trying to “smuggle” more than I had claimed.

Their reaction: “You went to UC-X and you don’t know how to fill out a customs form?”

Um I’m sorry– I’m TELLING you how much I have… why is that not enough for you?

I was on the defense and they were being mean.  They were so paranoid– that they found little slips of paper where my grandmother had written us goodbye notes in Farsi and made me translate it for them while at the same time threatening to bring in a translator in case “I was lying.”

Ultimately, they decided that they had to body search me.  So two female cops took me to the back.  At this point I was sobbing because we were missing our connecting flight and I had NO IDEA what was going on.  They took my little brother into a separate room to wait for me, and all I could think was, “GET US OUT OF HERE.”

Grandma gave you this, my ass!

When they took me to the back– the cop (or is it TSA agent– whatever) told me that I was to show NO emotion throughout this process because it “could be used against me.”  … great…

She made me face the wall, spread my legs and put my hands against the wall.  I kept a straight face throughout the whole process, but it really didn’t help when she commented on my body as she felt EVERYTHING.

“Oh, you have groin muscles!  Most of the girls I have to search just have rolls.”

FUCK YOU.

NOT my kind of foreplay.

They continued questioning me for over an hour, threatened to charge me with a FELONY, and even questioned my little brother without my supervision (that’s illegal– he’s a minor), before admitting I was NOT lying and that I was free to go.

Only catch?

I will be searched every time I come back to the U.S. until I’m 30.

Good job, TSA– you really caught a terrorist this time.

Don’t say “fuck you” to TSA- they don’t like that… I’ve already tried.

I was stripped of my rights that day and nothing I said really mattered because in the end, they just wanted to fuck with me.

Fortunately, when/if we deal with haters — it won’t typically be such an extreme case.  I dealt with the worst that I had ever encountered before and it hardened me.  I’m not understanding of ignorance and I don’t tolerate offensive comments- whether its meant to be rude or not.

And that’s a problem.

People say shit without thinking sometimes and sadly, there are a lot of people who pass judgment without realizing the repercussions– pretty sure that we as Iranians are known for that (omg she’s had SEX?!! or “she’s dating a SIA?!!”)

But don’t ask me why I don’t have an accent when I speak English.  That’s just stupid.  Being born and raised in the U.S. should really be indication enough for you.

Or my favorite:

– “What’s Iran like?”

– “Tehran is similar to New York actually.”

– “Don’t say that!  New York is my hometown!”

“THAT’S MY HERITAGE.”

Its really easy to get mad when people say things without thinking — especially when they’re your elder… and superior.  Its more frightening but, we should be able to evolve those moments of ignorance into opportunities.  Opportunities to educate because we don’t get much chances to really show people what we’re all about:

Family, culture, education, Fessenjoon… and so much more.

Not blowing up at someone really doesn’t make you any less proud.  And take it from someone who’s USUALLY the one making situations awkward by flipping the f*ck out– people will never learn from your angry response.

People will end up ignoring you and labeling you as a psycho.

And that’s not cute.

We shouldn’t be known for having “tigers at our parties” (wtf Shahs), we should be known for growing up with solid family values (no matter how insane our parents are), we should be known for being freaks in the sheets, and for being successful in achieving our goals.  Because Iranians are some of the most educated and successful people in the world.

Hi haters

Have you ever been felt up at the airport?  Joined the mile high club? I better get some good action at the airport next time– #justsayin.  Share with usssss :)

SEXANDFESSENJOON@GMAIL.COM

FACEBOOK US

Follow me on Twitter because you don’t hate: @Farrah_Joon

Your favorite mile high fanatic,

FARRAH فرح
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Comments

  1. Great post as always. I understand. I was a Sophomore in High School during 9/11, and HS was shit after that. I went to a predominately white school, the best HS in town, and there was so much crap. My cousin goes to that school and now, nine years later. He’s a sophomore and he was called a terrorist; he was also suspended for fighting with said asswipe. I would have personally kicked that white boys ass myself if I was there.

    I also hate the airport, in the old days just my dad would get checked because his name is Reza. Now, I get checked too because when they look at my passport they can see that I’ve been out of the stated for months at a time, once for 18 months. I got crap after that. You have to know what to say. They asked me why I was gone so long and why I was back without my husband? I said because he was serving in the military and I wanted to visit my parents for Christmas. haha, boy was I dumb, I thought I could fix it by telling them that it was mandatory. No, they still went through all my crap and I was yelled at for bringing medicine, I played stupid and said I didn’t know blah blah they let me go. But I can’t even fathom them strip searching me. It’s bad enough when they pull me to the side and pat me down bc I refuse to remove my bracelets. It would be nice to join the mile high club instead of getting felt up by TSA, it’s not worse that being felt up at IKA though, for those that may not know, they touch you everywhere at the Iranian airport, they are not polite, and they do not apologize.

    My take on Shahs of Sunset http://princessofpersia.blogspot.com/2012/03/from-shahzadeh-to-shah.html

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