You may or may not know that I'm 1/2 Persian, and those who don't know me, may think I'm using Persian instead of Iranian because it sounds more socially acceptable to use this term instead of the axis of evil one -- not even close. If you've come to see the Persian celebs, do have a look, but take a minute to learn something about Persians while you are here, because most of the world is clueless about this topic.
Note: If you have someone you'd like to add to this list, please email me, and please do not place links in the comments.
Persian vs. Iranian
Iran is the name of the country, and, if you care to know, it was still called Persia when my father was born there. Iranian is what you'd call the citizens inhabiting it.
Persian is one of the ethnic groups living in Iran. It is also the name of the main language (aka Farsi). Therefore, not everyone living in Iran is Persian. For example, Andre Agassi's father is Iranian, but not Persian; he's Armenian.
Persian vs. Arab
Persians are not Arabs. Please memorize that, as it's rather annoying to continuously be called something which you aren't, due to mass ignorance.
Persians do not speak Arabic, they speak Persian (Farsi). The languages are NOT similar enough to be understood by speakers of the other language. For example, some sounds which are in Persian do not exist in Arabic. I have a necklace with my Persian name on it, and Arabs always have to ask me what it says because they can't read it.
Iran literally means Land of Aryans. Obviously Persians today look a bit different than they did prior to the Arab invasions of long ago; but even today, many Persians are very light-skinned with light eyes. And yes, there are truly blonde/green eyed Persians around. In Tehran, even.
Omid Djalili: Persian Comedian at The Apollo
Western Persians Are Rarely "Religious"
I've never known any Western Persians who've belonged to a mosque, or even prayed in their own homes. That's not to say they don't exist, or that they don't believe in their religion, but rather that they tend to be like the average Christian -- and the average Christian doesn't go to church, or even think about their religion apart from major holidays. Yes, the people ruling Iran these days (the current President is not Persian, by the way) take their religion pretty seriously. And yes, the women wear head scarves, but most of them only do this because they have to. I've yet to see Persian women wearing them when travelling or living abroad. Additionally, all of the Persians I've known have looked totally Western in terms of dress. They drink, they party, they have friends, they go out to eat, they shop, they watch TV, etc. They do everything you do.
Maz Jobrani: Axis of Evil Comedy
Persian Women Are Not Meek
Every Persian women I've ever known has been rather comfortable speaking her mind. And yes, that includes in front of her husband, sons and whoever else happens to be present. Sure, there are all types of Persian women out there, some more submissive than others, but don't kid yourself into believing they hide behind black sheets and cower when men come around.
Persians Are Not Rag Heads or Dot Heads
These slurs are offensive all on their own, but you're just making an even bigger arse of yourself when you use it on a Persian person. Some ethnic tribes may wear something like a turban, and mullahs may wear them, but this is not something you see on the guy living next door.
Persian Women Don't Have To Wear Chador
Chador is the full-on body covering that you always see portrayed on TV. Yes, some women wear them, but I've yet to see it in person. Even in Iran, Persian women need only cover their hair.
Iran Used To Be Extremely Western
The revolution was actually not all that long ago, and when the Shah ruled, he wanted Iran to be modern. Women didn't wear head scarves and they were quite liberated. That changed when the mullahs took over, but don't think this means that there aren't many, many people who would like that freedom again.
Prejudice Against Middle-Eastern People Is Still Acceptable
Sadly, Middle Easterners (Iranians, in particular, thanks to the hostage crisis) are often discriminated against, and this is remarkably acceptable to most Westerners. It's the last frontier in terms of racial prejudice. And it comes from all sorts -- anglo, black, asian, you name it. For God's sake, get over it already. When is the last time you ever even saw or read about an actual Persian or Iranian terrorist, anyway? Was it during an Axis of Evil Speech? Cos if you believe everything Bush's Government tells you, prejudice is probably the least of your problems.
A Few Of The English Words Derived from Persian
Angel, bazaar, candy, cash, caviar, chess, jasmine, khaki, lemon, lilac, magic, mogul, musk, orange, pajama, paradise, peach, scarlet, serendipity, sugar,
Persians Do Not Hate Americans
Most Persians love Americans, and I'd guess that every Persian living in Iran has a relative living in America. (Probably in Los Angeles or the DC area!) Persians are often called the most hospitable people on Earth, and for good reason. Honestly, I'm not just saying that. They will hug and kiss a complete stranger, take them into their home and feed them 3 times over before inviting them to stay (and be treated like royalty) for as long as they like. Seriously, I'm not kidding. Persians are very warm and loving people -- yes, they tend to have fiery tempers, but so do the Italians and Spanish. Are you afraid of them?
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