History / iran

When Pride in Racial Identity Promotes Racism

Mossadegh as Time's Man of the Year 1952

On Valentine’s day 2012 we are invited to a talk about Mossadegh. It begs an interesting debate with oneself. Everyone who considered going had to ask themselves: do I love the idea of my country, and the country’s history, more than the idea of celebrating St. Valentine’s in a traditional way.

To add to that, the organisers, well aware of the date on which they have set their event and the possible dilemma it puts many of us in when considering going, have given it the headline: “Patriot of Persia“. Are we going too far with the concept of racial identity with this one? Although the headline may be referring to Mossadegh, the deposed, yet democratically elected leader in Iran in the early 50s, he was a patriot of Iran, not Persia. There is still the suggestion that we too, might identify with this very bold image. Yet neither we, nor Mossadegh could be patriots of Persia because it is a long defunct empire, and only existed for a period of our very much longer past. Are we complicity patriots then of an idea, a memory?

The question follows then, that does this pride then turn us into snobs, racists, who look at other cultures and think automatic, prejudged thoughts about them, even without getting to know them as individuals first before relegating their behaviour, looks or social standing to their race and / or culture?

The writer Bali Rai put forward a brilliant, urban formula for eradicating racism. The basis of his idea is that by identifying with the social construct of race, we are naturally excluding and preferring one culture over another. Well worth a listen.

Listen to it HERE

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