You don’t sound American

Iranian-American Muslim fashion blogger Hoda Katebi was invited on the news to talk about her new fashion book. Naturally, they ask her about nuclear weapons and tell her she “doesn’t sound American.” I don’t think they were prepared for her answer.

Hoda is a doppelgänger for a Hijabj BritPak friend of a friend (that girl unfriended me on Facebook after my Facebook Lives last year). Ms. Katebi comes much more as Muslim American than Iranian American (she even calls herself a Muslim Iranian).

The above incident happened in Feb this year but I just learnt about it now (as always I’m slow on the uptake).

I just find the idea of an Iranian American defining themselves as Muslim (she defines herself as Muslim Iranian in America) to be a bit jarring; I’m very used to the Bahá’í or Jewish Iranian American communities being visibly and overtly religious. For the mainstream Iranian American community being Shiite and American is almost a contradiction when their two nations have had such strained relations for the past 3 decades.

Also Hoda doesn’t have an American accent; as the ethnic populations in the West grow larger, their interaction with the mainstream becomes more limited.

Even in lily-white Cambridge one gets the feeling is that there are simply less and less English people about every year. In the 80’s moving to the West meant assimilation into WASPY framework; these days moving to the West is swimming in one’s own sizeable ethnic diaspora. I miss California because one of the best Pakistani restaurants (Zareens); it’s like never leaving home.

Brown Pundits