I went to the Christian High School I’m associated with yesterday morning to hear a young American with Iranian roots speak. I’d sub’d a week or two ago and he told me he was going to talk about the Shah being deposed so I promised I’d come listen. Well, he did cover that, but what seemed to be his (albeit weak and rather dull) premise surprised me: “Iranians keep their culture when they come to live in America.” “Wait, ” I thought, “isn’t it better to be Americans and keep your culture in your home?” As an Armenian whose family has strong cultural traditions we keep in our home out of respect for the country which embraced us 100 years ago, I know from whence I speak. Still, I understand that he’s proud of his family’s homeland and wants to tell us what’s on his mind. SO I listened.
I started to feel like he was giving the class an earful on why they should actually like Persians in spite of what they’re hearing on TV. He inasmuch said so, and that rather touched my heart. I believe that if that wasn’t his conscious intention, it was certainly there. He is a muslim, but not at all a practicing muslim. And he’s a good kid. And, let’s face it, we don’t hear many positives on Iran these days.
My post yesterday, you’ll remember, was about bias in our schools and I’d linked to an education group that’s trying to stop teachers from training at White Privilege lectures (that’d be ANTI White Priv., of course!) and bringing those teachings into our classrooms. So THIS PART STUNNED ME:
In Iran, teachers are being replaced by teachers who are trained to talk about hate for America and the benefits of hard line Islam. The young student today showed a video about one young woman, Marina Nemat, who said that she had to raise her hand in a calculus class to ask the teacher to please only just teach calculus, (to not indoctrinate)!” She has some guts. This is a woman who was taken into custody and had the soles of her feet beaten with piping, was raped, and had solitary confinement until they finally released her. What’s the difference between her calculus story and White Privilege foolishness?
My young friend very hurriedly passed over nukes and sanctions of today, stressing how the sanctions are hurting Iranians and how some particular phone call between Obama and the Iranian prime minister was “the most important phone call in a very long time!” It was clear he’d rather not talk about this situation which has brought Iranian/American relations even more into the limelight.
He did not mention the word MUSLIM once, to the best of my recollection, and I wish the students had asked questions and a little more reality had been thrown into the mix. He wasn’t anti-America, he is definitely not that, and he’s certainly no fan of the Ayatollahs…he’s just an 18 year old kid who sounds like he’d want America to not feel his ancestral country is so despicable…..that we could stop being The Great Satans to each other, Iran and America.
He credits Social Media with informing a lot of Iranians the truth. Let’s hope our social media gets stronger in that direction and starts informing kids who are so indoctrinated that they’ve been drinking Kool Aid from their professors.
Finally, the instructor, a very dear friend of mind, asked “Is there a distinction in your mind between being called PERSIAN or IRANIAN?” The boy said no, that’s totally interchangeable….except it isn’t. I have heard Persians say “When you hear ‘I am Iranian,’ they’re usually a hard liner.” I don’t think this kid knows that but I believe that’s correct. And I know he’s no hard liner. And, though I only hit on it a bit above, he did a lot of criticizing the Islamist regime in Iran, that’s for sure.
So, there he was, a happy American kid whose father’s done very well here…..but proud of his ancestry. Who isn’t? And that’s not easy for him when we see so much Anti Iranian talk here; I get that. I so wished the kids in the class had questioned him like they usually do but I think the premise wasn’t provocative or definitive enough, and they just didn’t care.
Or rather, I’m hoping they just didn’t AGREE.
I left, saying to him “I wish we had hours to talk about this…………”
Let’s talk here…….