Persians are protesting The Shahs. The Iranian-American community is pissed just like the Italian-Americans were Jersey Shore. There are several petitions going around protesting the show because Persians are calling the show racist. One petitioner on Change.org commented, “The show wants to present caricatures of Iranian-Americans. This is not entertaining. Rather, it is racist and only encourages others who do not know Persians in our American society to feed into the worst kind of stereotype, rather than showing a new generation of ambitious yet hardworking Iranian-Americans.”
Another petitioner stated, “Due to the current political climate between the United States and factions in the Middle EastI cannot see the benefit of this show. I think it is rather tasteless of you to show how the rich from the Middle East can settle here to continue their lives of opulence where there are still many who still struggle to continue with their daily lives, here and there.”
Meanwhile, Shah cast member, Mike Shouhed thinks people are jealous…He said, “The only reason people are petitioning is that they are 100 percent jealous that they aren’t on the show. All we are doing is hanging out and being ourselves. People are intrigued to learn more about our culture instead of automatically associating us with negative portrayals like terrorism. It humanizes us in a way.”
As an Iranian-American I can say I’m the first to make fun of my culture. I have made a living out of it, but I certainly humanize myself and personalize it when I talk about my culture and family on stage. I have had little backlash from my stand-up from the Persian Community, but then again–I’m not performing for the Persian Community all the time. The only time I’ve gotten backlash is when older Persians watch my act, and they’re shocked–but I think it’s because they don’t really have stand-up comedy in Iran, especially a woman doing stand-up. I’m not offended by their opinion–I understand where they’re coming from…they’re just not used to seeing it.
I’m not defending The Shahs, because I can honestly say that they don’t depict MOST Iranian-Americans accurately, but I understand it’s just reality television and they’ve casted stereotypes. But there is one stereotype that’s true–we are hairy mo-fos! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s JUST TV!
At the end of the day, I can’t fault the protesters because they’re right–we already get enough slack from the world, and this is just one more thing…