From Persia to Tehr Angeles
More than 1.5 million Persians have left Iran for the United States alone. Of course, an estimated 700,000 to 800,000 have relocated in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, causing this population to be dubbed “Tehr Angeles.” And this term has stuck, even when they live in other parts of the United States.
For those who have made the journey from Persia to Tehr Angeles, much has gotten lost in translation. The younger generation may have little or no idea of the cultural wealth that was left behind—including traditions and customs, religion and the arts, and of course food. The challenges of adapting to a new life in the United States or other part of the world often modernized away the rich heritage that is still, internally, a living reality for their parents, creating a painful and unnecessary culture gap.
But it is not simply a matter of returning to the old ways. The young people in Tehr Angeles—modern culture—tend to look into their relationships much more deeply than people from Persia have been brought up to do (no arranged marriages for them!), and they feel the need to close this gap as much as possible.
These Tehr Angeles young adults sometimes have non-Persian partners and friends. When the partners marry into a relocated Persian family, they typically know nothing about the ways, customs, language, even foods of their new spouses and in-laws—creating a cultural and generational barrier that does not need to exist, and excluding them from the full-hearted acceptance that their in-laws would much rather be able to give.
Lastly, for those who are neither of Persian-descent families nor marrying into them is the loss of potential friendships and cultural richness due to the prevailing stereotype of Iranians as terrorists. This misunderstanding has generated an unwitting and unnecessary suffering and loss of potential, keeping non-Persians from knowing this population as humans and friends. Their warmth, accomplishments, cultural gifts, and desire to be of service are traits we all could benefit from receiving. In short, many of these relationships suffer from challenges based on not knowing about the roots of Persian culture and traditions. But they don’t have to suffer!
From Persia to Tehr Angeles is a guide both for Persians who may not know their roots and for non-Persians who are in a relationship with someone of Persian descent. Through the easy-to-follow education in this book, readers can realize the roots of some of their relationship issues and discover how to resolve them.