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Iranian Americans Should React to Discrimination and Racism toward Other Ethnic Groups

By Nader Habibi


   Unfortunately there is a tendency among some ethnic groups in the United States to focus on the interests and concerns of their own community and ignore the plight of other ethnic groups who are equally vulnerable to racism and discrimination. This narrow ethnocentrism leads to isolation of small ethnic groups and deprives them of the opportunity to benefit from each other's support. Every time that one ethnic group falls victim to racism and prejudice all other ethnic groups are also affected. 


    A few days ago Don Imus, the host of Imus in the Morning show in MSNBC, made a racist remark about the African American athletes in Rutgers University's women basketball team. This remark has caused outrage in African American community and several African American leaders such as Rev. Jessie Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton are organizing protests against Imus and MSNBC.  Iranian Americans and their representative organizations such as National Iranian American Council (NIAC) have a moral obligation to join these protests and express solidarity with the African American community.


   By showing concern about the causes of other ethnic groups we have a better chance of receiving their support when the Iranian-Americans fall victim to similar incidents. A few years ago Don Imus made an insulting remark about Iran and Iranians in his morning show. The NIAC filed a protest with MSNBC and demanded an apology. This protest hardly attracted any media attention. Imagine how much more effective the NIAC's protest would have been if other ethnic groups had joined Iranian-Americans in this protest. Unfortunately the Iranian-American community will remain vulnerable to ethnic prejudice and racism for years to come and we will have a better chance for confronting this issue if other ethnic groups support us.


   We must therefore make an effort to reach out to other ethnic communities, particularly the African American community and other Middle Eastern immigrant groups, and support their struggle against ethnic and racial discrimination. In 1960s, during the Civil Rights Movement, the Jewish Americans expressed solidarity with African Americans and as a result of this involvement the African American community leaders have generally been supportive of the Jewish American causes. We should also make an effort to reach out to all other ethnic groups and show support about their causes. Had we taken effective steps in this direction in the past few years, perhaps we would have received support from others in our recent protests against "300". Iranian-American political and social organizations should join the African American community in protesting against Don Imus's remarks.


... Payvand News - 4/10/07 ... --

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