On Racism


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan
by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Recently many people had been calling one another racist. I want to
explore this issue. Here are some questions with my own interpretations. I like to get your input and feelings. What do you think and please lets keep the insults out.

What is racism?

[VPK] Racism is putting one race above another race. It does not matter what race you put above


Does racism mean hating another race.

[VPK] No.! Many racist slave owners had strong positive feelings for the slaves. There was even real love between some where the owner actually loved the "slave" but was unable to openly admit it due to situations. An example was Strom Thurmond the racist Senator from South Carolina. He had a daughter from a black mother named Essie Mae Washington-Williams. Thurmond paid for all her expenses including college. According to his staff I quote "The young mixed-race woman had been granted a degree of access to Thurmond more appropriate to a family member than to a member of the public". It is pretty clear that Thurmond loved Essie as a man loves his daughter. The Thurmond family formally acknowledged her as Strom's daughter in 2003. //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strom_Thurmond#Anothe... is the link if you want to:

Does considering another race superior to your own make you racist?

[VPK] Yes. Another example of a racist not hating the other race. Many Iranians used to consider the Europeans superior. This is just as racist as thinking some other race inferior. In fact many racists have sort of a pecking order. Their own race may fall somewhere in between. 

What is the relation of Nationalism and racism if any.

[VPK] None for a multi racial nation. It is a problem if racial purity. Iran is so mixed race that no Iranian Nationalist could make a case for any race. My own family has Persian; Turk; Mongol; Arab genes. I know because I can tell both from history and from looks. Nevertheless we are all nationalist Iranians. We could care less if you have gense from whatever race. 

Is racism inherent or a learned habit.

[VPK] It is a learned habit. We all know how kids of different races play fine. It is the parents who are the problem.

Does refusing to mix with other races make you a racist. Even if you do not consider them better or worse.

[VPK] Not sure. Why do the Parsi not marry outside their group? They know it is ruining their gene pool and creating inbreeding. But they stick to it anyway. What do you people think?

Is it possible for the victim of racism to also be racis

[VPK] Yes.

Are Iranians for most part racist in general and in particular against Arabs and vice versa

[VPK] It is hard to tell. Our language is filled with things like "Turke-Khar"; "Az Bikh Arab"; "Noker Aghat Siyah Bood". But does this mean we are racist or just have these expressions? In action Iranians are more than willing to mix with other races. One of my grandmothers was 100% Turk. That did not stop my blue eyed grandfather from marrying her. My aunt married an Iranian with obvious Mongolian features. No one minded. As for Arabs yes I think there are Iranians who do not like Arabs. But it goes both ways. Many Arabs hate Iranians too. This is very unfortunate as like it or not we are neighbors. The proof I have is the Palestinians siding with Saddam in spite of all IR did for them. However the hate is a lot less than the one between Arabs and Israeli which also goes both ways.

Why is racist being use so much? 

[VPK] I think this is just a way silence people. Many people have learned that if you are losing the argument then attack the person. 


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more from Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

VPK jan, these are NOT racism

by Siavash300 on

"I *know* I have the following ethnic groups in my family and perhaps myself:

  • Azeri
  • Persian
  • Lor
  • Mongol
  • Arab
  • Turk "  VPK


The above are ethic, not race. What we are experiencing in Iran relates to stereotyping or preconceived notion from different ethnicity. For example, we say Rashtis are "Romantically challenged" or Turks are "NOT highly intellegent people" or Esfahanis are "frugal". These preconceived notions are basis for stereotyping. It is not racism. Racism is institutionalized, means, there is a power issue behind racism. Those who enforced racism has power and higher hand in the society and it has been originated from the time of Slaverly, as I mentioned before. On the other hand, prejudice or preconceived idea from certain ethnicity breeds stereotyping and it is not institutionalized. It is just individual preferences. For example, we can say blacks in America are prejudice, but we can not say they are racist because they are powerless. There is no power behind prejudice or stereotyping, but there is a power behind Racism. Institutionalized racism enforce the superiority of one race (NOT ethnicity) over another race. Therefore, the issue of superiority and inferiority comes to the picture. Developmentally, racism could be internalized and becomes part of individual's character which is not healthy. The individual carry feelings of inferior for all his/her life and vice versa.  The suppresed race feels inferior and dominate race feel superior and power behind superior race support that concept. Iran has never been and will never be racist state because it has never had history of slaverly. At the end, I have to say the racism is serious matter. Unlike "stereotyping", racism can not be said cavaliarly without facing potential consequences.




Racism is a lot of things

by Rea on

Different forms and shapes, e.g. an atheist can be considered a racist. And vice versa.  

Bref, I think it all depends on HOW you fight your own prejudices and, consequently, how you fight those in the opposite camp. If you fight with valid arguments, facts and figures, fine.

Mind you, don't like blonds either. ;o)

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Shushtari Jan

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


One point I want to make is the by Iranians I did not mean Persians. I meant all of Iranian people. 

Reason: We are one nation and should not focus on ethnic differences. As I have said before Arab or Turk Iranians are as Iranian as Persian. I *know* I have the following ethnic groups in my family and perhaps myself:

  • Azeri
  • Persian
  • Lor
  • Mongol
  • Arab
  • Turk

I never worry about it since it does not matter. 

Second point I have is that I assert Iranians have been non racist for most part. 

Reason: We have historically been non racists. Koroush-e Bozorg freed people who were bound due to their race. He recognized rights for all people not just one group. Iranian royalty Khashayar Shah took a Semite for his Queen. Shah sets the tone for his people.  When the Shah denounces racism so do the people. Right from the get go our Shahs were to their credid actively anti racist. This includes Mohammad Reza Shah who was kind to minorities.

The Safavids for all their faults gave refuge to Armenians when they needed it. Today the "Supreme Leader" of Iran is an Azeri. My fathers best friend was high in the Sha government and is a Kurd. The racist episodes in Iran are tiny compared to Europe. Hence the racist label does not stick to us because by and large we are not racist.


Thanks VPK for this interesting blog - here are my answers

by ahosseini on

Racism is the belief that a particular race is better or worse than another. Does racism mean hating another race. I would certainly say yes. Master and slave relationship is certainly a hate relationship. A master having some kind of sex or love relationship with his black slave, does not qualify him as treating the entire population of that race equally or with respect. Does considering another race superior to your own make you racist?

I agree with you on that. Inferiority complex is a racist phenomena.

I like your expression" pecking order". A bit like Asians in old South Africa.What is the relation of Nationalism and racism if any.It depends how you interpret this. If you say your nation is better than another then you are racist. If you lead your nation into fighting for equality and justice and respect then your not a racist but quite the opposite. Is racism inherent or a learned habit.Well, some people stick to the rules of community and follow the godfathers in the community. Obviously, inherent if you stick to the rules of you community and learned habit if you are influenced by others to become racist.
Does refusing to mix with other races make you a racist. Even if you do not consider them better or worse.
certainly does. For what reason other than being racist you refuse to mix with others.

Is it possible for the victim of racism to also be racist

I agree with you, the answer is yes. A good example is the Jews who escaped gas chambers created hell for Palestinians. It is sad that they did not learn to eliminate racism and instead some, carried out behaving in the same way as German racist.  

Are Iranians for most part racist in general and in particular against Arabs and vice versa
By Iranians, I presume you are talking about Persians. Because Turks, Kurds,Arabs, Lors, and Arabs are Iranian too.  Again you can not generalise. Some Persians consider themselves superior which is racist others don't. I like your examples.

Why is racist being use so much? 

Racism and sexism maintain the rule of god father like human relationship. One nation being superior, will maintain political and economical power in the hand of a particular nation for example Persian. By adapting sexism you eliminate 50% of the population, so the power and control will be concentrated to fewer people. Within the that race or religion if you have some kind of Mafia control then the power is even concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer.  It is all about political and economical power.


VPK jan, racism intimated with history of slaverly

by Siavash300 on

Hidus don't like muslims. Pashton don't like Tajik. Iranian don't like arabs and visa versa. Can we refer to these dislike as "racism"? No.

In fact these ethnics are racially very close or in some cases these are from the same race, but the hate is there. First let's define racism. Racism means "racial hate". They hate that specific race. Most of misunderstanding comes from the meaning of racism, so if we say race hate it would be more clear what we are talking about. Now, group of people who belong to certain race took another group of human being as "Slave". That authomatically generated hate. No one need to be Einstain to understand that. We are talking about Victorian era, not ancient time. Africa and mostly western Africa were mostly involved in "Slave trade". Brits and other Europeans were also deeply involve in this trade. The beauty of Persian history is the fact that over 5000 years of our civilization we never had slave nor have we been slaves. Therefore, we don't have guilty conscious as Europeans and we also don't have submission of Nokari feeling from any other nations. We have not been slave nor we have been slave master. Now, with this brief introduction lets talk about core issue.

In family therapy we have a concept of "Multi generational transition" means, the feelings among family of origin transit from one generation to other generation. Therefore, the original feeling doen'st eliminate over the years of centuries. it just transfer from one generation to other generation. Racial hate from the time of slavely between slave masters and slaves just transfer to the other generation.  That is normal feeling. Both groups of these races harbor intense "hate" toward each other and it gets transfered. The examples that you mentioned are specific cases that may involved the guilty conscious of slave master toward the other group. They want to get over these guilty feeling. Don't forget "guilt" is very strong feeling. Much more stronger than love or anger or rage. It is the most powerful feeling human being can possessed. Now, in this context we can fairly see the pattern. The remaining issue could be cleary explained. Understanding the pattern is the first task. Let's see the application of these pattern.

A. South Africa under Apartheid regim. Black was getting lashed by white man if the black was walking on the same side of street. There is special name for that lash that I don't remember now. Indians and Pakistani with long history of slaverly in South Africa suffered very cruel and inhuman racial hate. The movie Ghandi shows the mood of white against indians in the train once they throw Ghandi out of train.

B. In 1936 official statistic says that 260,000 Chinesse were massacre by Japanesse soldiers. Chinesse claims it was over 300,000. Chinesse never accused Japanesse of having racial hate against them. But Chinesse in South Africa accuse white folks as having racial hate against them. They also have history of slaverly in South Africa.

C. Oscar Grant was shot accidently by white police offier by the name of Johansson or something like that in Northern California,all the sudden all black had demonstrations and riot which leaded official to move the trail to Los Angeles area. One person got killed and riot started because it trigger the old pattern of hate from slaverly time. Now, killing over 300,000 chinesse didn't trigger that pattern because Chinesse didn't have that history with Japanesse. Frued once said that we are "prison of our childhood" and I say "we are prison of our history". That well explained why racial hate in southern America such as Alabama or Mississipi is more than other states. Most of slaves were concentrated in South and the people in that area still having racial hate, even though president is black.

D. During hostage crisis in Iran, none of the newspapers talk about hostgage taking as a racial hate. We put the American hostage in a place that more the less looked like a concentration camp, but we didn't hear anything of having racial hate against americans. Now, during WWII, once americans put Japaness in Angel Island, something like concentration camp, that trigger the old pattern of racial hate. Everybody was talking about racism.The difference is we never had history of slavely but Americans had. Therefore, the first thing comes to mind is "racial hate". But not about Iranians. Thanks God for our rich histoy.



Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Maryam Jan

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Thank you for your kind words. I have another thought I want to share.

Iran has been multiracial from the beginning. Therefore Iranian Nationalism is not racial based. Right from the beginning of the Persian Monarchy We know the story of Queen Esther. Khashayar Shah presumably an "Aryan" took Esther a "Semite" as his wife and Queen. Not a concubine but the official queen. People take their queue from their kings. Therefore I assert there was no interest in racial "purity" in Ancient Iran.

Things did not change and up to this day we do not give a *** about it. The whole concept was European. They hijacked the word "Aryan" meaning "Noble". Then associated it with a fictitious race. Hence some European Nationalism is racist. Iranian Nationalism on the other hand is multiracial and not racist.

Maryam Hojjat

VPoK, You did your homework Well

by Maryam Hojjat on

I am on the same boat with you.  You are absolutely Right on this isuue of Racist thing.