Thank God I Am NOT A White American Male…


The other day I was talking to a friend who is a white American male—Bear with me. I know mentioning someone’s race is not very PC these days, but there is a point to this race calling. He was basically telling me that the people who don’t vote for Obama are racist and if he loses it is because he is black.

“And if he wins, are you willing to admit it is because he IS black? I didn’t vote for either Kerry or Gore, does that make me a racist too?” I asked

“Of course not, you are different,” was the response.

“How am I different?” I asked.

“Well, you are Persian,” was the answer.

“So, you think because I am not white, I can’t be racist?” I asked with a funny look on my face.

“No, that’s not what I meant. It’s this country that is so racist,” answered my friend looking rather serious.

“What do mean, ‘It’s this country that is so racist?” Now, it was me who was serious.

This was not the first time I had had a conversation like this with Americans who honestly believe that we live in the most racist nation in the world and somehow only white people are perpetrating this act of racism. What I find interesting is, here I am, a naturalized American citizen from the Middle East, having to defend America against American-born Christians and non-Christians alike.

Have you noticed how the Chinese, the Koreans, the Persians, the Arabs, the Blacks and the Hispanics can all have their own churches which are called the Korean, the Persian or the Black church of such and such without anyone ever walking out of those churches saying, “My goodness, that church is all Hispanic or all Arab!” or, accusing those churches of being ethnocentric? Yet, I can’t tell you how often I have heard Christians tell me, “Last Sunday I went to an ALL white church!” as if they were referring to a KKK gathering.

I have lived in the United States for almost 40 years. I went through the Iranian hostage taking in the late 70s and the two Gulf Wars when, if the above people were correct, I should have faced some kind of discrimination and yet I can’t prove that at any time in these last 40 years I have experienced any such thing. Even when the pastor of a mega church referred to me as “our token Iranian pastor” in front 900 people, did I take it to be a racist act? No. Stupid and ill advised? Definitely! But, not racist.

This is not to say that there are no racist Americans. There are many of them. But, they come in every shape and color – not just white. But that does not make the whole nation racist.

A few months back, Karen and I went to Montgomery, Alabama for the commissioning of our son, Todd, into the United States Air Force as a Second Lieutenant. While there, we visited Rosa Parks’ Museum. I can’t tell you the emotion I experienced and how I wished I had lived here at the time so I could participate in the Civil Rights marches and have the honor of walking side by side with Dr. King.

As I watched the reenactment of that memorable evening when Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, with tears in my eyes, I marveled at a nation where, in the span of only 50 years or so, things have gone from considering the black man so unequal that he was forced to sit in the back of the bus so the white man could sit in the front of the bus to today when a black man – I am aware that Obama is only half black, but he considers himself to be a black man – has the possibility of becoming the president of the same nation, and under my breath I whispered, “God bless America.”

Please compare what America has accomplished in her short history with some parts of Africa or the Middle East where people have been killing each other for hundreds of years because people of tribe A consider people from tribe B to be inferior and therefore worthy of being wiped off the face of the earth. Racism is a disease that plagues every race, color and nation and white people do not have a corner on it.

A few years ago a black pastor asked me the following question:

“Shah, I have tried very hard to befriend the Muslim foreigners who attend the mosque next to my church, but these people won’t even come near me. Why do you think is that?”

“Well, there could be couple of reasons. First, they might be racists and dislike black people. After all, some Muslim countries still use black people as slaves. However, there is a second reason. They are afraid of you,” I responded.

“Why so?”

“Rosa, how many blacks do you know that have been mugged by Iranians?” I asked.

“None!”

“I have two Iranian friends who were mugged by black guys and my third friend’s father was shot to death by a black man. Do you blame these friends of mine for being afraid of blacks in general? Is it possible that your Muslim neighbors might also have friends and relatives who have experienced the same things?” To her credit, my dear friend, agreed with me.

The other night, as I was channel surfing, I came across Chappelle’s Show. Dave Chappelle is a black comedian who, like most ethnic comedians today, gets a lot of laughs by making fun of white people. I guess it is considered comedy when other races make fun of white people. However, when it is done the other way around, it is called racism. To his credit, on some occasions, Chappelle also pokes fun at his own people. On this particular episode, using all black comedians, he did a skit called something like, “If people don’t like you, it could be that you are a jerk and has nothing to do with your race.” Is it possible that some people don’t like me and won’t hang out with me because I am a jerk and my race has nothing to do with it? Abso-freaking-lutely! And this brings me to why I wrote this article.

I am tired of all the America-bashing I hear constantly. Yes, she has done many wrong things in her past—which nation hasn’t?—but she has been quick to fix it. NO, she is not perfect, but, as one who was raised under a totalitarian system, I believe America is still the best nation on the face of the earth. Let’s stop looking at what she should have done right and start being grateful for how far this young country has come to correct her past.

I am willing to bet my last dollar that some of you would never dare to even think about what I have said on this posting lest you be called a racist. But don’t forget, I am not white and therefore, couldn’t possibly be racist and that is why I say, “Thank God I am not a white American Male.”

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20 thoughts on “Thank God I Am NOT A White American Male…

  1. Thanks Shah- I just finished your article. I think you hit the nail on the head and gored a few oxen all at the same time. Not an easy trick. I’m still waiting for someone to open the “United Whitey College Fund” or name a football team “The Blackskins.” It seems our tolerance for racism is very selective in this country. Perhaps someday we can all get on the same non-racist page together.

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  2. Dear anonymous, as ignorant and beggeted Archie was, he and I have something in common. We both have the guts to say what we believe and not hide behind anonymity…

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  3. Thank you Greg, the trick wasn’t that hard. After all, I am NOT white and basically can say what’s on my heart without being accused of being racist. But then again, look at what anonymous said…

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  4. Great one Shah!Why does the media marginalize this kind of material that you have just shared and not be honest about the whole PC thing, as if it is only white racism that exists. I would say that’s a minority view they have, yet they profess to be soooooo liberal and open minded et al….! 

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  5. Amen Brother!I am a white American male. I sit here day in and day out listening to all kinds of racial defenses; “You’re doing this ’cause I’m XXXXXXXX(insert you’re “minority” group here please).” However if I were to EVER say something along those lines if I were to ever complain about not getting a job because of affirmative action saying “It’s because I’m WHITE huh?” I would get looked at as though I were a childish selfish jackass. And most definitely scoffed at by anyone within ear shot of such an asinine comment. I am disgusted by the race card. I passionately LOATHE the race card. I was raised in a Christian home and my parents did a fine job of referring to someone by their given name and not their ethnicity. Ergo, when I think of someone I try my hardest to concentrate on their race, and that fact that scientifically they are the same race that I am. HUMAN! Ethnicity, sure we’re all different, but I really don’t care. I used to argue in high school that if I were to be a racist I would have parts of my body mindlessly attacking each other since I am Scottish, British, and Dutch ancestry. My ancestors openly fought with each other till a son and daughter of opposing clans ran off together. Why should I carry some petty ridiculous grudge from then or toward anyone/anything that has oppressed my roots in my family history? It is futile. I wish this would could come to realize that we are all God’s creations, equal, and together in this. Or, if you are an evolutionist, we all grew out of the same disgusting funky puddle of ooze and some how managed to go from a single cell organism to humans after years of bastardized mutations that somehow benefit us. Point is, we are fundamentally the SAME race, people, group, species, etc. etc. etc. I wish the populace of the world would pull the blanket of lies off their eyes for half a second and see the illumination of this truth. Either way you hit this thing so square dead in the head that I think the shot rivals that of David’s against Goliath. I just wish more people would come to this understanding and be a little more open minded about people before casting their preconceived notions and judgments. God bless you brother,Dave

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  6. I just got done reading your blog and wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading it! I love being challenged and looking at things a different way. You are not afraid to push the envelope and make people think for themselves…and not just rely on what they have been taught or what they have heard.

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  7. Dear Dave, I feel the frustration in your voice. I am sorry that in the name of being PC you don’t think you have the freedom to say what you believe without being accused of some kind of bigotry. I am afraid if people are not allowed to voice their feelings and opinions in a civil way without getting attacked by the opposition, sooner or later they will be forced to express their opinions through violence. May God help us all.

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  8. Jessica, you have always been a great student and a friend to me. Continue to be a rebel for the cause of Christ. Don’t back down or take any crap from anyone.

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  9. I read your article twice because I didn’t get it the first time. You got me to thinking about how I interact with people of other races. I guess it’s in the back of my mind to be sensitive as to what I say so I don’t offend someone. Like is it okay to say “Chinaman” or is that derogatory? Or is Asian okay and whereas Oriental racist. My wife who is not white calls me Whitie sometimes. That doesn’t bother me. It’s kinda funny I think. Is African-American the politically correct thing to say as opposed to Black? Native American instead of Indian? I guess I’m a Czech-Native American-English-Jewish-German American.

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  10. Hi Shah,Good article! Keep up the good work! God and America (and we) are proudof you. We thank God for Americans like you and your family.Congratulations on your son’s commissioning.Blessings

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  11. Really enjoyed this article, Shah! I do think that the US has a long way to go in regards to the segregation of minority groups (New Orleans ring a bell?). At the same time, I do get SO frustrated when people pull the ‘race card’ in situations that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

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  12. I wonder, why are we so eager to end racism?(I am a white American male, so – before y’all start tossing your stones around – hear me out)What is racism, but a symptom… a manifestation, if you will… of something far more insidious.And the root of that thing, no doubt, is that we don’t have a grasp on the greatness of the One who created us.Can we legislate righteousness?Is it really possible, apart from the massive revelation of God to our world, for racism to be brought to an end?I, for one, think not.What say you?

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  13. race is so wierd to me…for the most part we all have 2 eyes, a mouth, a nose, 2 arms and legs…and yet we chose to pick whats different to label ourselves. i have experienced people trying to hurt my feelings by making mexican jokes. i jus laugh because i dont speak spanish and have no idea what bein a mexican means. i grew up in mostly black church and actually feel more offended when people put down black people than mexicans. also as christians i mean spirtual jews right? cool blog shah

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