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Funny in Farsi and the Complications of Immigrant Acceptance
Funny in Farsi explores the diverse prejudices associated with being an immigrant in America, and the tendencies a lot of Americans have to judge other countries and cultures. Dumas tells, “I was fortunate to have come to America years prior to the political upheaval in Iran. The Americans we encountered have been type and curious, unafraid to ask questions and willing to listen” (31). When Dumas and her loved ones very first came to America, they were faced with no certain enemies. In reality, the folks they encountered had never ever heard of Iran or any of its surrounding countries, so they had no purpose to dislike an Iranian. The Americans could have come off as slightly ignorant in the ways of geography and anthropology, but at least they had been not making assumptions about the Iranian’s ethics. Dumas recalls, “Our relatives who immigrated to this nation following the Iranian Revolution did not encounter the identical America.” In the course of the hostage predicament in the American embassy in Tehran, Dumas encountered several Americans who each knew and disliked Iran and Iranians. She noted that most Americans seemed to consider that any Iranian could take hostages at any time. Americans became fairly fearful of her and her family members since of the way they looked or spoke (39), so that Dumas’s relatives faced struggles with their appearances and names alike since of the hostage circumstance. They were oppressed by a state of worry and ignorance in a circumstance they could not control and did not assistance.
Dumas’s very first name, Firoozeh, which means “turquoise” in Persian, became a daily struggle for her and other men and women. She jokes, “In America, it means ‘Unpronounceable’“(63). Her classmates would tease her because of her name and give her undesirable nicknames. Even though most individuals encounter some sort of ridicule from classmates during their youth, Dumas insinuates that her name was far simpler to mock than other folks and created her the target of considerably unwarranted attention. Being that she was new to her schools and was currently the concentrate of a lot of other children’s consideration, the added scrutiny of her uncommon name only added to the pressure she felt to blend in with the common population. Dumas felt there was no simpler way to escape this fate of mispronunciation and ill-willed joking than to change her name altogether. Dumas decided to adopt a a lot more American name. The name she chose was “Julie.” With that name, her college life became “infinitely simpler” (65). Her want to adjust her name to some thing “more American” suggests her want to fit in as an typical American child. She did not want the reputation of “that foreign girl.” She wanted to blend and develop her own identity, rather of having an identity assigned to her primarily based on the assumptions produced about her name or nation of origin. This represents America in a negative way. This modest girl felt so alienated by her own name that she felt the require to change it to fit into her part in America. Firoozeh is a name with gorgeous which means in Persian, however to Americans, the name Firoozeh was unknown and unexpected. Dumas traded her meaningful given name for some thing that meant practically nothing to her to fit in. She traded a name with which means for a name with comfort. This could be noticed as Dumas producing a transition from her earlier culture, to the American culture she was submerged in.
Soon after the Iranian revolution, Dumas faced a issue with her newfound identity and acceptance. Given that she spoke English with no accent and was seemingly American, she got to hear one more side of American opinions that had before been unexposed to. Her dual identity permitted her to see and hear the real feelings that Americans held toward Iranians. Ahead of her name alter, folks would filter their conversations for her, either out of respect or two-facedness. As “Julie,” individuals did not consider of her as an immigrant, and they had no require to hide their hateful feelings towards Iranians. Dumas explains, “Sometimes simplifying one’s life in the quick run only complicates it in the long run” (63). Her capability to see the two sides of the story showed her how cruel men and women can be behind closed doors. She was torn. A single side of her wanted to accept the judgment of her peers and stand up for herself and Iran, even though the other side wanted to blend in and go unnoticed.
When Dumas married her French husband Francois, she was in a position to see the variations in treatment amongst immigrants. “All Americans look to have a preferred France story,” Dumas said (40). When Americans consider of France, they feel of the Eiffel Tower, beautiful accents, and the United States prized Statue of Liberty. Americans romanticize France since of this favorable image and assume that all of the French should be classy, artistic sorts with a passion of wine. Oppositely, when folks thought of Iran, they thought of hostages and political upheaval. She felt cheated when she learned of the biases Americans had for immigrants from various nations. Francois was no more deserving of his great French reputation than Firoozeh was her undesirable Iranian reputation. This demonstrates a issue with the stereotypes that Americans associate with specific countries. No matter how insignificant at very first, perpetuating stereotypes can turn into a continuum of prejudices and discrimination for generations. Complete nations or races need to not face punishment for the actions of a handful of. Dumas writes,” He [Dumas’s father] only mentioned how sad it was that folks so effortlessly hate an whole population simply since of the actions of a couple of. And what a waste it is to hate, he usually said. What a waste” (121). It is tough to recognize how someone can hate an whole group of men and women without having even knowing them, but this has been a typical scenario in America for fairly some time. The average American male has, in the previous, always been above any particular person of color, socially and economically even in the absence of institutionalized prejudice, stereotypes that assume inferiority and alienate those who are becoming stereotyped can nonetheless proliferate.
Funny in Farsi indeeds explores the distinct prejudices linked with becoming an immigrant in America, and the tendencies several Americans have to judge other nations and cultures. Such judgment is not constantly damaging, but it historically has had an unfortunate underside. Americans have a habit of perpetuating stereotypes the ramification of general prejudices against other cultures is the alienation of immigrants and their feelings of needing to change themselves to be accepted in America.
Dumas, Firoozeh. Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Expanding up Iranian in America. New York: Villard, 2003. Print.
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