Feeling superior

Incredible racism of (some) Iranians


Feeling superior
by Setareh Sabety

Iranians can be extremely racist.  I was first made aware that Iranians were perceived, by others in the region, as arrogant racists by a Pakistani professor of Islamic literature at Boston University.  Professor Rahbar taught in the Religion department and most Iranians took his literature course for an easy grade.  He also conducted the Farsi exams which, if passed, made the University wave the second-language requirement for Iranian students.  The poor man, who was well-versed in Persian poetry and loved Saadi and Hafez, was routinely ridiculed by his Iranian students.  This was mostly because of his Pakistani accent.  Although his eccentric habit of cooking curry in his office, in the Theology building on Mass. Ave., did not help either.   

He opened the class that fall semester many years ago talking about the incredible arrogance of Iranians vis-à-vis others in the region. He quoted from non Iranian poets to illustrate that poetry and indeed Farsi itself was not just the genre or language of Iranians.  He claimed that this beautiful language that served so wonderfully the poetry of the heart and spirit which in turn gave it such lasting resonance, was not worthy of the arrogant majority to whom it belonged.  Those comments opened my eyes and made me realize that racism was not just the stuff of Malcolm X and the U.S but of ours as well.  I remembered my elementary school friend Mojib, also a Pakistani, and how my friendship with him was ridiculed by my older cousins.  They called him my nokar seeyah or black servant.  I did not like their chiding but did not have the language, as a schoolgirl, with which to interpret it as hateful, racist and arrogant.  I knew that the Professor was overly sensitive to the issue because of the treatment he was getting from the Iranians in his class but I also knew that he was not wrong.

That first night after Rahbar’s class I called my mother, recently exiled from an Islamic Iran, and told her proudly about the ‘Islamic’ lit. course that I was taking.  She shouted back that Iranian poetry is anything but Islamic!  She yelled, “they want to take Hafez and Saadi away from us too!” For years I tried to explain to her and Iranians like her that in academia ‘Islamic’ designated a shared culture spanning a period and an area that had Islam as its most unifying common denominator.  It did not mean that Persian poetry was Arabic or religious just that it came from that time and place where Islam was the dominant culture.   

For Iranians, like my mother, freshly chased out of their country, who had seen many a friend die at the hands of the newly empowered mullahs, it was hard to feel any sense of empathy or identity with Islam.  But when she went on to call the professor “martikeh Pakistani” then I knew that my own mom was not free of the prejudice and arrogance discussed by Professor Rahbar.  For many Iranians believe that they have a richer culture, a better skin color, and are generally superior to all Indians, Pakistanis, Afghanis, Arabs and Africans.   

Through-out the years I have run into this kind of racism again and again.  Of course there is concrete evidence of state-sponsored racism against the Afghanis who provide Iran, like the Mexicans in the U.S, with cheap labor.  That is a problem, like the history of slavery in Iran that merits much more thorough and academic discussion than I can provide here.   

The kind of salon-racism that my Professor talked about and my mother betrayed by her comments is what I sadly run into again when I talk about what is happening in Gaza.  Not from my mother, mind you, who has matured into an Al-Jazeera watching democrat.  But, mostly from the ultra-nationalists and monarchists, with whom I have the privilege to live, here in Nice.  Who are not unlike the ultra-nationalist monarchists that I keep running into, when I write essays, in the comments section of this site.    

To be pro-Palestinian amongst this bunch of Iranians is like being pro-Castro in Miami: extremely difficult.   I have simply stopped going out to any parties and if I am in their company I try hard and against every instinct in my body to remain silent.  New Year’s Eve I was invited to a party by a dear old friend.   There I ran into a Zionist European who is married to an Iranian.  He started talking about Gaza. I asked him if he was a Zionist, he said provocatively, “one hundred percent.”  Then I started trying to say something that would make me feel like I have taken a stance but without ruining the party for both of us. He knew were I stood and had read my articles about Palestine many years ago.  So he was not going to give up. I turned to my Iranian friend, highly educated and kindhearted Ali, asking him what he thought; he was an old Le Monde reading leftist who loves children so I was hoping that I would get some badly needed support.  He turned around and said, “Good for Israel they should kill all those flea-infested, bearded, shit-smelling, cock roach-eating Muslim terrorists.”  Ali has the kind of hairy Iranian look that I am sure gets him thoroughly checked at the airport each time he wants to fly somewhere.  But he simply can not see that he looks so much like the people he so abhors! He feels superior to them because they are Arabs and he is Iranian!  I just turned on my heals, headed for the bar and joined the women at the other end who were talking about diets: another favorite topic of mine!  The days when I ruined entire parties with my zeal for an opinion are long gone!

Another day I ran into some friends of my parents in a café talking to a younger realtor.  This time I walked in the middle of the conversation. The old lady with an Azeri accent, who had a raspy voice from years of smoking, was saying, “Elahi hameyeh in malakhorhayeh reeshoo ro nabood koneh Israel.”  (May Israel destroy all these bearded cockroaches!”)   This time I had to say something and there was no party to ruin-- so I ventured, “why do you hate these poor Palestinians so?”   

What she said I have heard many times with different degrees of venomous passion and hatred: Palestinians helped the mullahs come to power in Iran, they are supported by the current Islamic regime, and they are therefore the enemy of “real patriotic Iranians.”   

The logic goes something like this:

1.  The Islamic Republic supports the Palestinian cause.

2.  IRI is an illegitimate theocratic regime that should be overthrown.

3.  Therefore Palestinians are stinking Arabs who do not deserve our support.

So laced with their hatred of the mullahs is their sense of superiority and hatred towards the Arabs.  They go on to say, why should WE help these bastards, why should the regime give them money that is better used on Iran and Iranians.  They are not OUR problem.  They are not our friends; they are the friends of the mullah regime and are therefore our enemies. They are stinking Arab cockroach eaters!  

I kissed her and said that I had to go but that I was always pro-Palestinian since I did a project for Mr. Holmes on the Arab-Israeli conflict in the 8th grade at the Tehran Community School.  What do you say to people who use such logic and are so racist?  She turned around and said,” Setareh joon zaminaayeh babato pass gerefti az in akhoondayeh dozd? Setareh darling, did you get back your father’s land from these mullah thieves?  I said no and left.


Recently by Setareh SabetyCommentsDate
Car Crash
May 28, 2012
Oliver Stone's Son Converts to Islam
Feb 15, 2012
Ziba Nawak: Naked Solidarity
Dec 09, 2011
more from Setareh Sabety
Kaveh Nouraee


by Kaveh Nouraee on

You just went on a blog to slam other Iranians for going on a blog.

Well done, Einstein.



expatriate iranians are very

by worthless (not verified) on

expatriate iranians are very misguided.they blame everything on islam,the mulahs,when most of them dont do anyhing for their country if they are so patriotic.iran has a major heroine problem,guess this forbidden in islam substance is also cuz of the 7th century arabs,huh?these people are worhless.all they do is go on youtube and blogs nothing more.


The article has a narrow view

by Salar (not verified) on

Setareh: Certainly your narrow view of reality around you. As a historian you should know this is all a natural reaction of people with superior culture and intelligence that based on unfortunate events in their past history and mostly out of their control, lost their legitimate share of world power, recognition and influence. As a historian you should also know that you should not just look at our current dire state of affairs. The combination of repressing people having a superior culture and intelligence with a glorious past by such force and duration will certainly result in a sudden and eruptive rise to power and glory again. It has happened in our past history on many occasions and will happen again. All is needed is the right ingredients and time.


BanKi Moon Performance not

by an observer (not verified) on

BanKi Moon Performance

not so good.
could someone start a new thread for that

He is worse thazn kofi annan


Master KoroushS

by capt_ayhab on

Kindly pardon my delay in response, since it has not been intentional.

I have noticed one thing, and that is you and I really saying the same thing, However I am using RACISM in much broader sense. 

To me, any form of social injustice, which is brought upon a group constitutes RACISM. My reason being, genetically, there are NO difference between a man with dark skin and a blond haired person. We all are made of approximately $14.95 of chemical elements [not considering the inflation]. 

We all are of HUMAN RACE. Not black human race, nor Iranian human race, nor women human race.

We have made up various names for the injustices we bring upon each other to soften the blow [so to speak].
Let me ask you, Why do we treat 50% of our population[women] differently? Why do we call our unjust treatment of these women a DISCRIMINATION? Isn't it in fact racism when we say[women are NOT equal] to men? Why soften our racist tone?
Why not call it what it really is??????????

Aren't we only trying to justify our despicable action? [Hey listen WOMEN, we are going to treat you like 2nd grade citizens but this ain't racism, its only discrimination] wooow aren't we generous???

Question comes up though,,,, What IF THAT women happens to be BLACK as well???????Or what if that Baha'i person happens to be a Woman, and Black??????

You say tomatoes, I say tomotoes

Have a great day

capt_ayhab [-YT]


This article that appeared

by Khate vasat! (not verified) on

This article that appeared in Iranian.com in 2002 refers to the same thing. You find it interesting:



A note on my comment"

by AnonymousMushak (not verified) on

A note on my comment" Majority of iranians separate Islam from Arabs", what I meant was that while majority of Iranians respect the Qur'an and Islam, they have had historical rivarly with Arabs. And this is not paradoxical considering the holy book of Islam itself. The holy Qu'ran states(9:97): "The Arabs are the worst in unbelief and hypocrisy, and most fitted to be in ignorance of the command which Allah hath sent down to His Messenger."

This by itself shows there is nothing wrong with such predujice as long as it is based on reasoning or facts. By stating "The Arabs are the worst", naturally it means there are groups that are better when it comes to believig in God and being upright, and not being in ignorance. Of course an invidual's worth in the Qur'an is piety, but even God has generalized here. So generalization is natural and innate phenomenon. So political correctness for me does not have the same weight here as what is natural. Predujice against invaders has historical roots. The Arab invaders came and massacared hundreds of thousands of Iranians, took their women and children as slaves, burned books and libraries. And now our government is more Arab than Arabs itself and we have selective felestin-baazi which does not condemn the genocide of blacks in Sudan by Arabs but then talks constantly about Palestine instead of concentrating on the suffering of Iranians due to the fact that they brought the Akhunds in power in the first place. I remember when someone was posting about the Iran-Iraq war in 8-10 series, there was zero or one comment! Despite the fact that this was another attempt at genocide of Iranians (supported by Palestianians/Arafat).

We need to stop the Felestin/Israel Baazi and fix our own country and problems.


Captain Ayhab Aziz

by AnonymousMushak (not verified) on

Thank you for these points. Let me humbly disagree on some of them while I agree with bulk of them:

The case against Bahaism is not racism in its classical definition and even the UN definition. It is religious discrimination but Bahais do not constitute a race by the classical definition of race. That is why the UN definition does not really count here. With respect to UN or even EU, Bahais are not a separate race. For example, you can have a family (I am sure they exist) that is part Muslim and part Bahai. And the Muslim part can discriminate against Bahai or vice versa. This does not constitute racism.

The massacare commited by Nader is a good example although a rare example. Again though, we should note two things: Nadir was a Sunni Turkmen, who are Iranians today but not in historical sense, they are not. I consider him Iranian but most of his troops were Afghans and Sunni Turkmens. The war against Indian Moghul was simply inter-Muslim rivarly. I do not think Nadir was conscious of the concept of ethnic difference and used such a concept to massacare Indians. Anyhow I am not justifying the brutality of Nadir and I think Iranians that glorify him do so for expanding the borders of Iran. But we should definitely not glorify his brutality.

I just had a comment on the "khar" issue. I believe this is definitely not a joke, but its roots are actually not in Iran. It goes back to the Ottoman era.

Ziya Gokalp a prominent pan-Turkist nationalist with actual territorial claims on Iran writes:

Bu konuda Ziya Gökalp’ın ifadesi çok daha serttir, çünkü ona göre Osmanlı her zaman Türk’e yönelik olarak “eşek Türk” sözünü kullanırmış (Gökalp, 1990: 33, 43) Ziya Gokalp's saying about this(negative view about Turks in Ottomon empire)is more fierce. He thought that every time the Ottoman's wanted to mention the Turks, they used the title "donkey Turks".

According to Turkish history Handan Nezir Akmeshe, who describes the attempt to ingrain self-conscioussness to Turks of the Ottomon empire prior to WWI ( Handan Nezir Akmeşe, The Birth Of Modern Turkey: The Ottoman Military And The March To World War I, I.B.Tauris, 2005. pg 50): (One consequence was to reinforce these officers sense of their Turkish nationality, and a sense of national grievance arising out of die contrast between the non-Muslim communities, with their prosperous, European-educated elites, and "the poor Turks [who] inherited from the Ottoman Empire nothing but a broken sword and an old-fashioned plough." Unlike the non-Muslim and non-Turkish communities, they noted with some bitterness, the Turks did not even have a proper sense of their own national identity, and used to make fun of each other, calling themselves “donkey Turk”)

I have also seen some jokes with this regard in the Mathnavi of Rumi and Kashkul of Shaykh Bahai about Turks and witt.

In Iran there are such jokes about each region but they probably go back a long way. Some are more mild (Esfahanis being khasis), some more harsh (Mash-hadis being Dozd, Torks being Khar) and some are the worst (Rashtis, Qazvinis). Note of course a Esfahani can disagree and consider Khasis as the worst or etc.

My main point was that Iranian racism against Arabs is a reaction to Arab racism and brutality. It is deeply ingrained in Iranian thought although majority of Iranians for example separate Islam from Arabs. We should study the Shu'ubiyya movement which is the root of this.

Also I am mainly sick of the roshanfekr baazi and felestin baazi. It is being used by IRI and leftists and etc. to vent their anger. Let me provide my critism.

How many people that talk about Palestine for example discuss the tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of black Africans killed by Arabs in Sudan in the last 8 year? Slavery is going on there still.
There are 250 million Arabs in the world. The number of Iranians is 70 million. Before the Arab invasion of Iran, the number of Iranians per Arab was probably 6 to 1.
Palestinians and Arabs in general supported Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war.
Arabs have killed more Arabs and Palestinians than Israel has.
Majority of Arabs are Salafis who dislike Iranians more than Jews. While Iran is standingup for Arabs, they believe that killing Shi'i Iranians (whom they call Majoos) will send them to heaven.

I say that Iranians should concentrate on their national interest. And the feeling of predujice is natural but should be controlled, specially in a place like Iran which has been victim of many aggressive designs.



by capt_ayhab on

Master KoroushS ,

I am not offended by no means, regarding [rish sefid], actually I took it as compliment. So please not to worry about it.

Points I am trying to make regarding [racial jokes] are that YES i fact I do agree with you. everywhere in the world jokes are made about ethnic groups and so on. However derogatory remarks that sometime follow is my point of conversation.

Example: we all have heard jokes about Jews, blacks, Hispanics and so on. However, if within the same joke, lets say about a black person,  he/she is called a [Ni__R] that would be totally racist. With the same token, if a joke refers to a Hispanic person as [WET---K, the joke will take total racial tone.

As you might know I am Iranian Tork, I personally have no problem with jokes, majority of the are truly funniest of all. However, when within a joke, Torks are referred to [khar] then that take a total racial tone, as it would when a Rashti person is referred to as [Bigheyrat].

About my example regarding [Smoking] , I was citing a totally unacceptable attitude to demonstarate [Bandwagon Effect], or  [Copycat], which is also known as [argumentum ad populum]. Yes smoking has nothing to do with racism, however Bandwagon effect demonstrates the attitude that brings about racism. How?

If I see many people calling Azari hamvatans [khar] I might follow the crowd and do the same.


capt_ayhab [-YT]


This is great!

by Ryan -- (not verified) on

This is great!
A civil discourse between two adults, and here I am learning something.
A rare find!



by capt_ayhab on

Dear Mushak,

Yet again you bring up valid points. However your comment fails to take into account the various forms and definitions of racism.

UN defines racism as: [the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.]


Institutional racism (also known as structural racism, state racism
or systemic racism) is racial discrimination by governments,
corporations, educational institutions or other large organizations
with the power to influence the lives of many individuals.  This is the part that applies to my point about Baha'is which were discriminated based upon their beliefs.

In 2001, the European Union explicitly banned racism along with many other forms of social discrimination in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the legal effect of which, if any, would necessarily be limited to Institutions of the European Union:
"Article 21 of the charter prohibits discrimination on any ground such
as race, color, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language,
religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a
national minority, property, disability, age or sexual orientation and
also discrimination on the grounds of nationality."


You say [So if we look at Iranian history, Iranians have been victims of racism
and never have massacred any race solely because of their race or

This is my exact point that Racism is not only based on color of the skin, but it could be based on any social or CULTURAL difference, i.e. language[Iranian Azaris] religion[Iranian Baha'is] and etc. Asides from that, discrimination does not have coincide with genocide to be called racism, mere fact of perceiving one group being superior to another constitutes racism.

And for that fact, YES one of our ancestors did practically massacre members of one nation: Nader Shah, and Hindus(Indians)

[..After this victory, Nader captured Mohammad Shah and entered with him into Delhi. When a rumor broke out that Nader had been assassinated, some of the Indians attacked and killed Persian troops. Nader reacted by ordering his soldiers to massacre the population and plunder the city. During the course of one day (March 22) 20,000 to 30,000 Indians were killed by the Persian troops, forcing Mohammad Shah to beg for mercy.....]



capt_ayhab [-YT]

Marjan Zahed Kindersley

Almost , almost ,perfect example of

by Marjan Zahed Kindersley on

an individual's observations of subjective (and the individual observers too) cultural particular peculiarities, and concluding general cultural comparison.

(of the writer and those mentioned)




Different Concepts

by AnonymousMushak (not verified) on

Dear YT-unpluged

Mistreatment of Bahais should not be seen as racism. Bahais are Iranians and were not discriminated because of their race(which is like other Iranians). They were discriminated because of their religious belief. For example, in the West too(USA), Mormons or Catholics for a time were discriminated because of their religious belief.

So Bahaism is not a race or nation. It is a religious belief. Discrimination against religious belief is common in Iranian history.
For example:
1) Discrimination of Sassanids against Manicheism and Mazdakism. I have to take the Sassanids side on Mazdakism since it was a violent revolutionary movement. Occasional discrimination against Christians.
2) In the Islamic era, we have discrimination against Shi'ites/Ismailis by the Sunni Ghaznavids. Then later on Safavids discrimination against Sufis (later in the era) and Sunnis..

So religious discrimination has been part of Iranian history and I think we need to work on this aspect. Even the current IRI discriminates also against Sunnis. It does not discriminate against Kurds as sometimes it is claimed. Rather Kurds are Iranians and if they are Shi'i, they have no problem in becoming part of the government. Rather Baluchis/Kurds who are Sunni are limited due to their religion.

Although I am against ultra-liberalism which promotes pronography, homosexuality, infidelity and behaviours that go against every religion. I think all the common points that religions have are important to keep society upright. Anyhow I will not force my viewpoint on anyone.

On the other hand, the examples I brought have been purely ethnic discrimination. For example:
1) Killing of Kurds in Iraq by Saddam and gassing them.
2) Attack on Iran by Saddam due to pan-Arabist racism.
3) Slavery of blacks in Sudan by Arabs due to different racial origins. (For God's sake this is currently going on! but not a single person is speaking up against it).
4) Armenian/Assyrian removal from Turkey due to pan-Turkism.
5) The wholesale wipeout of aboriginals in North America and Australia.

All one needs to do is look at our history in the last 1400 years or so, and see how many times Iranians have been under attack by various invaders, nomads and etc. Or they were discriminated institutionally against by the Ummayyads for 200 years. So there is justification for the negative viewpoint against Arabs or other historical invaders in Iranian literature.

Going back to your original point, we should differentiate between religious discrimination (which has occured in virtually all human socities I can think of) and racism. Racism as a concept which has been actualized is not present in Iranian history. The problem is that instead of talking about racism against Iranians by Arabs (Ummayads or Saddam's invasion), some people have become entrapped into "roshan fekr baazi" and think they are true "roshan fekrs" is they criticize Iranians and do some "khod zani". In reality, racism has never been institutionalized in Iranian history and the negative feeling towards Arabs or other groups are due to historical reasons(some as modern as the Iran-Iraq war) which need careful examinaning. For example, many blacks still feel anger slightly in the USA because their ancestors were taken as slave. This might not be exactly similar, but it is somewhat similar to the feeling of Iranians against Arabs or Altaic (not to be confused with Azari hamvatans but the Altaic tribes from Central Asia and Mongolia who killed 1/2 of Irans population).

So if we look at Iranian history, Iranians have been victims of racism and never have massacared any race solely because of their race or origin.



by YT-unpluged (not verified) on

Dear AnonyMushak
You have brought up excellent points. No doubt that history proves Iranian's humility and generosity throughout the written history.

One point though I am having question about is differentiation between Nationalistic PRIDE and felling of superiority toward other nations and or ethnic minorities.

Example I can cite is brutal prosecution and treatment of our Baha'i brothers and sisters. Allow me to point out this mistreatment has had historical background.

During Pahlavi Dynasty, particularly during Mohammad Reza's period, he[Shah] because of some pressure from akhunds, basically failed to protect Baha'i's as a result these poor people were exposed to harassment's and even brutal attacks.

[..The Iranian constitution that was drafted during the Iranian Constitutional Revolution in 1906 set the groundwork for the institutionalized persecution of Bahá'ís. While the constitution was modelled on Belgium's 1831 constitution, the provisions guaranteeing freedom of worship were omitted. Subsequent legislation provided some recognition to Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians as equal citizens under state law, but it did not guarantee freedom of religion and "gave unprecedented institutional powers to the clerical establishment."..]


With this in mind, Shah failed to amend the constitution giving equal right of worship to Baha'i's this was due pressure from akhunds as you see. And matters got worse once the bloodsucking IR came to power.

Now, this is, as you know, an INSTITUTIONALIZED racism, which our law[constitution] failed to remedy.

Love to hear your response.



Dear capitan yt:) I was not

by KouroshS (not verified) on

Dear capitan yt:)

I was not really calling you a ressh sefid, per se.

I understand your thinking on this. But that is not the case all the time and at just about any situatuion, especially when it comes to the Joking but not the insulting part. When you charactrize a particular ehnicity as khar or begheyrat, i am with you 100%. that is wrong and reflects a possible racist mentality.
A Lot of times when you make jokes, you are among a circle of friends, that know you and understand your intentions and know full well that you telling jokes for the sole purpose of entertaining and nothing else. Even when you are among many strangers, you ensure that your jokes are not interpreted as anything even remotely close to racism.
Such cases even occur in the US media, when Korean or Mexican and .... other groups poke fun on various flaws and customes and some aspects of ttheir culture, just for the sake of having fun, and hardly anyone views them as racists! And not only they are not despised and hated, they are so popular and they even win awards for it.

ON that smoking example, I don't see the relationship it bears to our case, since many people KNOW that smoking is very harmful and if anyone is left out there who still thinks it is ok because others do it, then that can be chalked up as total lack of education and inattention to this topic, and Far away from Racism!!!
What has racism got to with it????!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I feel superior.

by jakarta (not verified) on

I feel superior.


Lets look at our neighbors

by AnonymousMushak (not verified) on

Lets look at our neighbors in the last century:

1) Saddam Killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds, Shi'ites and etc.
2) Turkey killed 1.5 million Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks Genocide (see Wikipedia).

One thing I notice is that we Iranians have always been victims but we have never initiated mass genocides or killings.

Lets look beyond the region:
1) Germans killed millions of Jews.
2) Stalin/Russia killed 30 million people, many natives.
3) Slavery and destruction of natives in Australia and America and Canada.
4) Arabs killing blacks in Sudan and taking them as slaves as we now speak!(2009!)

Iranians have been victims of Mongols/Altaic tribes, Arabs, and etc, but Iranian kings themselves never commited mass genocide or killings as far as history shows.

So there should be a differentiation between prejudice and true ultra-nationalistic racism which has lead to catastrophic human losses. Iranians due to being victims and on the defense after the Arab invasion had movements which talked about Iranian glory including the Shuaybiya. These are all defensive movements. So when it comes to the actual facts in the ground, and to actualities rather than theories, Iranians have been victims in the last 1400 years of various barbarian invaders. Thus prejudice (like Shuubiya) is a natural outcome of this.

I really think we need a more scientific approach towards this whole issue rather than emotional outbursts from various sides.



by capt_ayhab on

First of all thanks for considering me as [rish sefid], although it is [felfel namaki]. ;-)

Subject matter is not [Joke], nor it is what is being said. Real issue is the mentality and attitude. When I say [Attitude] by it I mean the message that is being sent about the person subject of that so called [joke].

Let me explain: There is principle in psychology that is called 'Cromo Effect" or "argumentum ad populum" or "appeal to the people".

Based on this theory [... people often do and believe things because many other people do and believe the same things. The effect is often pejoratively called herding instinct, particularly when applied to adolescents. People tend to follow the crowd without examining the merits of a particular thing....]

In another word [.. Cromo Effect is a flawed argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or all people believe it; it alleges that If many believe so, it is so.

This type of argument is known by several other names, including:appeal to the masses, appeal to belief, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people, argument by consensus, authority of the many, and bandwagon fallacy, and in Latin by the names argumentum ad populum ("appeal to the people"), argumentum ad numerum ("appeal to the number"), and consensus gentium ("agreement of the clans")....]

As a result, when an insulting or ethic joke is made about a group, or an insult made such as [bigheyrat] or [khar] is is assumed to be true, and the group subject of the [joke] are in fact viewed to have such a characteristics.

Let me give you a simple example: One might perceive smoking is a healthy habit SINCE MILLIONS of people smoke.

Once this perception and association is made, the fallaciously people will associate that group with that characteristic.  HENCE..... RACISM


capt_ayhab [-YT]


do you really want to know

by Goftarenik (not verified) on

do you really want to know why we feel we are superior? just look at the old verse from jewish holy book. we do not believe in those, this is not what Koorosh or Dariush belived in. so we are superior. look here part of verse 31 from hebrew book:

from jewish torah,
16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to revolt so as to break faith with HaShem in the matter of Peor, and so the plague was among the congregation of HaShem.

17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

18 But all the women children, that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.


Most rashti berars... and Turks love these Jokes.

by KouroshS (not verified) on

Dear captain.

You are Totally incorrect sir. Making jokes about various ethnic groups, or as you like to call it observations are most certainly not viewed By "any and all" educated individual as a sign of racism. You may not believe this or may reject it, By in reality the majority of these kinds of jokes are created by people of such backgrounds themseleves, who as it happens, turn out to be super educated and very much open-minded.

"You should know that majority of the people who make such jokes.
whether being for rashti or tork, deep down they perceive these groups having such characteristics"

It really is the minority who can possibly get offended, and those are usually the "reesh sefids" and the elderly who tend to have more bias toward their culture and ethnicity. Younger people are no so strict and show more flexibility and they even cooperate sometimes.
I think you are being too tough on this poor fellow and digging so unnecssarily deep into his words.
the term racist here is highly irrelevant since he never justified using khar and bigheyrat when talking to azaris or rashtis.Although, It certainly is a sign of tremendous disrespect to an ethnicity, but not racism by any stretch of imagination.
Attitude is the keyword in here, But those with real racist attitudes, are hardly ever heard of telling jokes and their reveal their ugly trait, through so many other means.



by Changiz (not verified) on

Eskandar says:

The sooner we wake up from this Pahlavi-inspired delusion that Iran was never influenced by Islam (or that whatever influence was negative)...

Where have you been Eskandar? We woke up from the delusion and jumped into devolution in 1979, followed the path of islam and its promised land of freedom and prosperity and ended up exiled out of our own homes. We could not even manage to come anywhere close to where we were in Pahlavi-inspired delusion of pre-devolution of 1979 since then.

I do not know about you, but I felt proud and superior then and lived like a king in my own country, keeping my head up. But sigh that all that is long gone, I feel depressed and inferior now and exiled living like a refugee in a foreign land which is not mine. I do not know about you, but I preferred the good old days that I felt good compared to being in foreign land or being surrounded by those who see superiority in whatever islamic and inferiority to whatever iranian -- the feeling that mullas are spreading day and night. Iran of today IS for those who do not feel good about being iranian, and iran of pre-1979 was for iranians who wanted to be iranian. I am glad that those who did not want to be proud of being iranian got the chance to NOT be iranian within and without iran.


Thank you for writing this

by Eskandar (not verified) on

It takes guts to speak out against the vile anti-Arab, Islamophobic racism spewed by some Iranians in the diaspora, and the Persian chauvinism that even Iranians who live in Iran cling to. Sometimes all it takes is for me to mention the word "Arabic" or "Islam" for someone to start ranting about how they have nothing to do with Iran and Arabs and Muslims are backwards cave-dwellers. The sooner we wake up from this Pahlavi-inspired delusion that Iran was never influenced by Islam (or that whatever influence was negative), that Azeris, Baluchis, Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Armenians, Baha'is and others aren't just as much Iranian as Persians are, the better!

Michael Mahyar Hojjatie

I don't know...

by Michael Mahyar Hojjatie on

I'm not going to pretend like I have the answer to everything, but it does make me very sad that our culture, for all of its achievements past and present, has soooooo many ills within it. Maybe it was the overthrow of Mossadeq or the revolution which caused us to not trust one another and question each other's motives constantly, maybe it's the "issue" of Israel/Palestine and why so many of us feel so obligated to care, the Arab conquest of Iran from centuries ago that "destroyed" everything we accomplished and caused innumerable "problems" thereafter according to some, I can't say, I'm just speculating blindly. I just hope to no end that someday, we can all be one group of people that is (first of all!) happy, content, and pleased to meet a fellow Iranian randomly in public and doesn't make such trivial (because, at the end of the day, that is exactly what they are!) things like money, religious beliefs, and political allegiances matter any more than they have to. Here's to hope...


Isn't it a class you are talking of?

by koustav (not verified) on

The racism that the author talks of might be true, I mean the part where the Iranians feel superior to all others of the region, but this hatred of Palestinians this I believe is the sentiment of a minor class, or even a section if not a class. After all the revolution that turned Islamic in Iran was supported by a major section of Iranians. We all know of the repression of the opposition and the leftists that took place. So I believe that people relating directly and indirectly to this repression and purging would be extremely critical and opposed to whatever the present government (regime) supports, not unjustifiably. Thus hating the Palestine people is just a part of opposing the govt, no other reason.
But i guess there will the vast majority supporting the govt and the Palestine cause and the minority amongst the opposition who opposes the govt but still supports the Palestine cause.

Setareh Sabety

Dear Alborz

by Setareh Sabety on

Thank you. I was at CHS in the seventies, until 77 which was the 10th grade for me. Those were without a doubt the best years of my life. I hope Zion or someone else does not find something about this comment to attack me with! LOL. Nice to meet another CHS alumn!


CHS...what years were you there?

by alborz on

I have concluded that it is a sense of insecurity amongst us Iranians that fuels this attitude towards others in our region.  We tend to constantly compare ourselves with the West, were we fall short, and imagine what "we were" and what "we could have been".  We simply are not happy with ourselves.  Much of our pride is superficial and based on illusions of past grandeur, and present day superficialities.  We relish the put downs and have very little in sincere empathy or appreciation for others and their qualities and achievements.  Even in praising others we are more interested in  demonstrating our ability to recognize the capabilities of others.  In short we want to elevate ourselves once again.

It is a grim picture all around and not just limited our brand of racism. 

I am curious to know what years you were at CHS. We may have been there during the same years.  I was there between 1972 and 1976.

Great article ... it certainly struck a cord with many.




by capt_ayhab on

You say [even when nothing offensive is being said. Look how hysterical you get apologizing to in your post...when I in fact said NOTHING to offend them!.....]

Obviously you do not even realize how childish and ignorant your defense is. When you make such an observation and call it a JOKE, you show level of your ignorance. This kinds of remark are considered racism by any and all educated and open minded person. You are correct, you did not make reference to Turks, but you are among those group who would make such remarks and call it a harmless joke. You should know that majority of the people who make such jokes, whether being for rashti or tork, deep down they perceive these groups having such characteristics .It is as a result of these types of attitude that racist jokes are dismissed as NOT being racism. In a nut shell my friend, RACISM is an attitude, and not so much as the words that are being used.

You mentioned something about imitating the accent and what not. My friend, imitating ones accent is far from calling one person [khar] or [bigheyrat].Sadly enough, you can't even differentiate between the two.

You my friend are a prime example of such racist group. You can justify your post and your thoughts by saying [ ohhh well i do not mean any disrespect, and I am only joking....blah blah blah...] but you do not realize that calling a person [bigheyrat] or [khar] is not a matter of laughter. You do know this do you not??????

What if an Azari person calls you [khar] or a Rashti person calls you [bigheyrat] and when you get upset, laughs about it by saying [I am only joking]. That would be very funny wouldn't it???

Tell me, when you make an apology to someone, is it sign of your hysteria? Let me remind you, personal attacks are clear indication of weak mind and personalty.
FYI I myself am Iranian Azeri. And yes I did apologize so my words would not be taken out of context. If this gesture to you is sign of hysteria, so be it dude, I call it manor and class.

capt_ayhab [-YT]

p/s Take a look at this study, It might help you to see how racist you are:




Inherited Racism

by choghok on

Thank you for the article I do agree with it. 

I would say that this racism was inherited to us from Europeans and how Reza Shah decided to educate Iran. When Brits and French colonized Africa and Asia they played the racial card to destabilize its regions.

Another thing is how education in Iran has shaped us. We do read in history about our noble kings and fine wars, we read about the Mongol,, greek and Arab invasion. We never read anything that put us in a bad light. Did you read that Nader Shah killed tens of thousands of people in New Delhi? Or Xerxes killing people and destroying Athens?

Yet another thing is that almost all nations of the world have bought into the what you could say hollywood racism. If you are blond with blue eyes you rule the world but if you are black then you are a slave. That idea is still very much in the mind of Iranians. If a baby in Iran has light brown hair and blue eyes his parents are so proud but if the baby is dark skinned it is no matter of pride.


/Bidar bash ke ma bekhabim


Captain Ayhab could not

by jakarta (not verified) on

Captain Ayhab could not understand the very simply post i made. I was joking when I made that "historical" observation, joking about the way people create stereotypes. In other words a person notices a FEW people of a certain group doing a certain behavior and then blow it up into a stereotype about that whole group. I never said that the jokes about rashtis are actually true, there are people in ANY city or region that cheat on their husband, but for some reason iranians like to joke about rashtis doing that. There is nothing harmful in it, no one is denying Rashtis their jobs because of some jokes. That's what I meant and you obviously don't understand. So in fact I already made the point you try to make in your post (that it is absurd to stereotype a whole group of people based on individual actions) you just couldnt see what I was saying because you are too sensitive. I think that's a problem. A lot of iranians only have to hear the name of their city or ethnic group or whatever and will become extremely defensive...even when nothing offensive is being said. Look how hysterical you get apologizing to "all azaris" in your post...when I in fact said NOTHING to offend them! HA! And then you bring up Azaris and Lors being aryan? I never even mentioned anything about Aryans or even said the word...where did that come from? The fact that you bring it up shows YOUR INSECURITY and YOUR RACISM. We all need to learn to chill out.


Inherited Racism

by choghok on

Thank you for the article I do agree with it. 

I would say that this racism was inherited to us from Europeans and how Reza Shah decided to educate Iran. When Brits and French colonized Africa and Asia they played the racial card to destabilize its regions.

Another thing is how education in Iran has shaped us. We do read in history about our noble kings and fine wars, we read about the Mongol,, greek and Arab invasion. We never read anything that put us in a bad light. Did you read that Nader Shah killed tens of thousands of people in New Delhi? Or Xerxes killing people and destroying Athens?

Yet another thing is that almost all nations of the world have bought into the what you could say hollywood racism. If you are blond with blue eyes you rule the world but if you are black then you are a slave. That idea is still very much in the mind of Iranians. If a baby in Iran has light brown hair and blue eyes his parents are so proud but if the baby is dark skinned it is no matter of pride.


/Bidar bash ke ma bekhabim