The Split and Alienation of Iranian-American Identity
Irvine Valley College
In terms of culture, “men make their own history” and man’s creation is only as good as himself (Said 5). Thus, our history is riddled with all the prejudices and complexities that we ourselves exhibit. The history of Iran is uniquely characterized by this man-made history – one of self-inflicted Orientalism that cut Iran’s past from it’s present and future, forming the split within the Iranian identity. While this split has been mostly reconciled in native Iranians, it has taken a new form within the Iranian-American community, leading to their alienation within the U.S. as both an isolated minority in the eyes of the White Gaze and from other minorities. This position has stifled Iranian-American expression and threatens their growth as a community. Therefore, a reconciliation through a confrontative reeducation of history is necessary for Iranian-Americans to close this split and regain an identity that faces the legacy of history and meets with the demands of contemporary geopolitical struggles.