Iran is not the scary country a lot of people in the United States think it is. Just like any other country there are citizens who love their land, feel pride in their culture, and have beautiful families they love. There isn’t sand and camels everywhere. Yes, there is snow and we have a functioning economy. A lot of people think Iran is a war zone and everyone is going to die or get sent to prison in the blink of an eye. Another aspect to understand is that the citizens aren’t supportive of their government, something 73.5 million people feel in America with our current president.
I was initially going to write about my recent trip to Iran and how our cultures are so different but I’d rather talk about the reports pertaining to keeping Iranians from entering and how discriminative it is. I immigrated to Iran when I was about four-years-old. I was extremely lucky to be able to immigrate at an early age from a foreign country, especially a Middle Eastern one. Growing up in America, I faced discrimination and a lot of ignorant and offensive comments and questions. I never told my family or really anyone because what was I supposed to say? “Oh yeah, Mom, this kid asked me if we have bombs in our kitchens.” I even had a “friend” in high school ask me if I knew anyone in the Taliban. I had no responses when I was asked these questions except for “uhhh no.” I didn’t have the confidence or security to tell them how rude and disgusting their questions were and that it wasn’t a joke.
But comments like this weren’t just in school, or swim team, or my clubs. They were in the media as well. Every article labeling Iranian people based off of the government. Stereotypes were made in movies and in song lyrics. Everyone has a bomb, everyone is a terrorist, and everyone is the government. It’s so sad and frustrating having this be the image of Iranians in America when there are so many successful people in America who happened to be Iranian. The CEO of YouTube and Yahoo, the founder of eBay, co-founders of Zoosk, and co-founder of DropBox are all Iranian. There are so many Iranian professors, scholars and Deans at prestigious schools including Harvard, University of California- Los Angeles, University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford.
It brings me to tears to see the accomplishments of my people and my country being discredited by the reputation of the current government, in which majority of Iranians, do not support. No one likes living under the Islamic Republic of Iran. The people suffer from the low wages and high prices of consumer goods, due to the sanctions. They make salaries based off the value of their currency but are forced to purchase things with the cost of the American dollar. There aren’t any unions to support the workers and make sure they receive correct pay. They also don’t have the help of their government to try to decrease unemployment. My cousins are engineers and they can’t find jobs, whether it’s because of the school they attended or because of their gender.
These bans on Iranian people and other citizens of Muslim countries is absolutely absurd. Once again the citizens are being targeted for things their governments have done. It has nothing to do with them or their intentions. People want to come to America and visit their families, visit the cities they’ve learned so much about, study and gain knowledge, do research, and try to make a better life for their families. AMERICA WAS FOUNDED ON FREEDOM. That is the principle this country was founded on and our current government is not upholding to that principle.
People need to unite and show each other love and compassion. The next four years aren’t going to be easy for a lot of groups of people in America and we need to all show each other we accept and support one another. Rather than telling people to stop complaining or whining, be a shoulder they can cry on or a person they can go to for support. Listening can have a bigger impact than wanting to talk and give advice.
Editor’s Note: This article is the perspective and opinion of the author and does not reflect the views of Her Campus at Cal Lutheran or Her Campus Media. Thank you!