Press Release by Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB)
New York, NY: IAAB’s 2011 Student Summit, held this past weekend in Washington, DC, included representatives from 42 universities nationwide and in Europe. Given the news on Friday afternoon of the “Let’s Play Cowboys and IRANIANS!” poster in a restaurant in Katy, Texas, the workshop on Media Representation focused on this issue. Summit participants discussed the history of such racist representations of communities of color in the United States. Students issued the following statement to condemn the poster’s display:
Iranian Alliances Across Borders’ (IAAB) 2011 Student Summit addressed the current state of the Iranian American diaspora community. Over 70 Iranian American student leaders from 42 universities around the nation and abroad expressed outrage over the bigoted content of the 1979 poster titled "Let's play cowboys and IRANIANS!" displayed in John Nonmacher's restaurant in Katy, Texas. This image displays a group of gun wielding cowboys under an American Flag, proudly encircling a lynched Iranian man. In Nonmacher’s words, this poster is purely a historical artifact; however, the image recalls a time of high xenophobic animosity towards Iranian immigrants within the United States.
The IAAB Summit participants condemn both the violent image portrayed in the poster and its bigotry towards Iranians, as well as indigenous groups. Fundamental American values of tolerance, diversity, and respect for all human beings are not in accordance with the offensive nature displayed by the poster. We believe that the ideas represented in this incident are detrimental to civil society, especially at a time when democratic dialogue is critical to mitigating political tensions. We stand in solidarity with communities of color that have and continue to experience this kind of demonization. We firmly believe that the propagation of such hostile ideas should not exist within any society.
Signed by students from the following 42 universities:
Bentley University, Boston College, Boston University, Bucknell University, College of William and Mary, Columbia University, Duke University, Emory University, Fairfield University, Fordham University- Lincoln Center, George Mason University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, INSEAD, New York University, Northern Virginia Community College, Oxford University, San Jose State University, Stanford University, Syracuse University, The Commonwealth Medical College, The George Washington University, The New School, Tufts University, University of Baltimore, University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, University of Central Florida, University of Connecticut, University of Illinois Springfield, University of Iowa, University of Maryland - College Park, University of Maryland - Baltimore County, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Southern California, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Washington University in St. Louis, Wellesley College, Westminster College, Yale University
About Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) - IAAB is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, non-profit volunteer organization with a young, dedicated staff spread across the United States, Europe and Iran. The mission of the organization is to address issues of the Iranian diaspora community while raising awareness of the Iranian community, promoting leadership, and connecting Iranians across borders. For more information about IAAB, please visit www.iranianalliances.org.
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature (i.e. which harms particular groups of people), and which is often justified by recourse to racial stereotyping or pseudo-science.
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