It sucks that I’m not exotic anymore because Iran and the US are making friends now

It sucks that the US and Iran are making friends. Regardless of the positive impact this will have in rebalancing power in the Middle East (ie pissing off Israel and Saudi Arabia, fighting terrorists, taking the edge off the Islamic Republic) its mainly important in the impact it will have on the coolness factor of us Iranians and Iranian Americans. The identity of most of my Iranian-American friends has been built on the idea that we are outsiders (many use the unPC unEdward Said term, exotic, to describe themselves with pride). Half of us decided to hide our Iranian-ness and name ourselves Mike, Joe, and Alex. Others have defaulted on being Italian (as Maz Jobrani demonstrated so well in 2008).The rest of us decided to double down and upgrade our Iranian-ness and go from Mary to Maryam (okay only I did that.)

The point is that we were never quite “in” because of that stickler of being associated with a country that everyone in the US thinks is as close to evil as it gets (well before ISIL and Al Queda came around- those guys have really helped Iran’s approval ratings.) So no matter how much we straightened our hair or changed our noses, we were still weird. And then that turned out make us kind of cool because by not being cool we were cool. You know.

And now during the UN General Assembly last week, Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met officially again. They keep doing this. And its totally ruining my game. Over a year ago it was not permitted for American diplomats to even talk to Iranian diplomats even if it was unofficial, like, say, if they shared an armrest on a flight and wanted to just be like “hey can move your arm over a little?” This is huge. Like 35 years in coming huge.

There’s always been this great tension and darkness inside every Iranian American that’s born growing up in one place and our parents being from another place and the two places hating each other. And now that tensions are evaporating (Sort of. I mean, really, who are we kidding?) and with it goes my internal turmoil, so I’m losing my entire edge. Next thing I know I’ll become an accountant.

Just to be clear, that’s the real news of last week.

Here’s to peace.

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