BLASTED: Clashes between the Armenian Identity

COMMENT BY ARAM in response to the poem “Dear White Radical Hipsters:

I’ll agree about hipsters they really are a blister, but when you say we aren’t white that’s not alright, so here’s my plight all nice a tight. We are “white” aka, ‘Caucasian’ no matter what the hell an ignorant white-trash fuck says. Now I’m not you so I don’t know what you’ve been through, but it sounds like you’ve had issues with identity and other people. I myself and other Armenians view ourselves as Caucasian(“white”) because that’s what WE are. Ok rant/bad poetry/rap over. Bottom line is most middle-easterners are SEMITIC, Whereas us and turks are not. We’d be closed related to khazars, turkic peoples(through some intermixing) and maybe eastern slavs. That’s all I have to say as a person with deep cultural,geographical and historical interests of peoples.

Hi Arman:

Here’s my bad rap:

The battleship has sailed, I’ma blast you from space, make the past flash before your eyelashes, this is my space.

Alright, let’s get serious again.

First, I appreciate your input. We need these dialogs, even if we disagree.

I understand the place you’re coming from. As Armenians, we are raised believing strongly that we are white- pure Caucasians, actually- that we are superior to all other peoples, religions and countries, especially in our neighboring countries that  happen to be in the Middle East. My mother has taught me, and still mentions this when we discuss our racial question, that there are three races in the world: black, white, and yellow.

Aram, you’re answering the wrong question. The question isn’t “are Armenians white?” but instead “why are Armenians white, what does white mean and what are its errors?”

Let’s look at whiteness. The term “white” was coined by white male “anthropologists” barely three centuries ago. Do you think their scientific background and instruments could have actually determined anything scientific or genetic that could have proved their experiments/ideas that were based off of hasty/orientalist/racist/simple assumptions of all the peoples in the world? How did they became universally consensual “facts” we still rely on today?

Also, do you think Latinos are black? Are they then white? Are Brown (Desi) people yellow? No. The shitty invention these idiots created obviously didn’t catch those that swam past the net. We don’t fit into the racial binary. Why do you think people had to “prove” their whiteness in court to settler colonists? Race isn’t real. 

Next, Caucasian is a totally fucked up word that’s misused today; it’s a nice way of saying white, although it’s not politically correct, either. Being Caucasian doesn’t mean “white.” It means Caucus mountains, it means Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Northern Iran. In that case, are Persians white? They’re supposed to be one of the first “Aryans,” the true fucking white people. Really? I’ve seen Persians who look Desi, Arab, and generally just super Brown. Persians are not white; but they are also exactly like Armenians in the sense that they are proud to be the truest and the purest of white people. Let me just step aside and laugh for a few minutes. It sounds ridiculous. We need to get it out of our heads that being white isn’t being the best. 

Also, I have to mention the way you worded your statement “We are “white” aka, ‘Caucasian’ no matter what the hell an ignorant white-trash fuck says.” says a lot about your alleged “whiteness.” You are distancing your own identity from this imagined white person’s.

Let’s look at geography. By “white” we’d mean non-European. So is Armenia in Europe? Armenians love to say they’re European; when non-Armenians call us Middle Eastern, we get offended and assert our territory. We are Christian. The first, in fact! Christians can’t be non-white! This is pathetic, also. I don’t count today’s Armenia as actual Armenia, and neither do most of us. It is in Turkey, Iran and Iraq. If not for genocide, Armenia would have been in the Middle East today. Historically, we have coexisted with Arabs and Persians. But today we are ashamed of our own history and geography that we want to become white.

So Wikipedia and Google Maps say that Armenia is not in the Middle East. But two feet from its border, there it is. However, the CIA World Fact Book claims Armenia is in the Middle East. Next, Wikipedia claims that Armenia is in “West Asia” which is coterminous with “Middle East.” Armenia is also in Asia Minor. You can look at it whichever way you want.

In American culture, Armenians are minorities. We are immigrants. This land was never ours, and we were not the colonizers or the explorers of it. We were the bodies and lands that were examined and categorized by European imperialists. We were an “exotic” and strange people in Asia Minor. And in America, we are hyphenated because we are not fully Americans. Toni Morrison said, “In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”

In America, we seclude ourselves. We only associate with Armenian people. We all do the same things and have the same cultural limitations. We stick together and dominate entire cities to be together- why? We are outsiders; we are not accepted, we are not wanted, we are not known to others. This is how we survive, because we don’t want to assimilate into “American” (Western) or “Modern” (I hate this word but it actually means white/washed) culture.

Armenians are Visible Minorities. This means that if there was a crowd of white people and a random Armenian, she or he will stand out as “other.” Granted, some Armenians are entirely white-passing- it blows my mind each time. And other Armenians are Brown; I’ve met Armos who I thought were half black, full Arab, Latino, and even Indian.

Anyways, that’s my take on my racial identity. I don’t share the same experiences as my white neighbors or friends and sometimes they make me uncomfortable. I relate to people of color best because I can usually be myself in those communities and unafraid to rock my ethnicity. I don’t want it to be whitewashed; I’m Eastern and I’m proud as hell. You should always question these binary labels that you’ve been given. White does not represent me, and I’m not a good mascot for it.

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One thought on “BLASTED: Clashes between the Armenian Identity

  1. Hi, would have responded sooner but I have been busy with work. 😦
    Let me start out by first saying thank you for the response and that I feel there are some things I think you misunderstood. First one, was about me using the term ‘Caucasian’ I generally use it to distinguish a group of people(with common ancestry) not a name for a race. The second one was when I said, “We are “white” aka, ‘Caucasian’ no matter what the hell an ignorant white-trash fuck says” , the reason why I said this, was it sounded like you might have had this problem(my mistake thought if you have not & doubt it you look pretty ‘white’ in your pic).
    WARNING! WARNING! LONG BORING PARAGRAPH! WARNING! WARNING!
    Now back to the main discussion, I was never raised with the whole, ‘three colors/races’ philosophy, because my family had a academic background(not to boast :O) with Geography, History, etc that kind of thing so I never really had the impression of three ‘colors/races’ thing. Instead I was raised that there are ethnic-groups within groups of people in the world, and that skin color has nothing to do with the groups, such as ‘Caucasians'(Native North Africans, Middle-Easterners, Europeans, and West-Central Asians ), Sub-Saharan Africans(Including peoples from Papua New Guinea, Australia, etc), Asians(which Include the native North Americans, South Americans, Far-East Asians, South-East Asians, Pacific Islanders, the Ainu people, and the Inuit peoples of Canada & Alaska), Indians/Pakistanis etc (which really are their own group), and of course there are others who are their own, too.
    Now what you said about seeing Iranians who look Desi or “super brown”, bear in mind they are most likely mixed whether they know it or not (i.e. I knew a guy who said he was Persian but looked way too brown to be Persian it was obvious though he was of Pakistani descent) and after all Southern Iran touches Pakistan and not to mention, just think about how diverse Iran is with its history. As for Armenians we’re generally not mixed, but keep in mind there are different groups who live(d) in Armenia (Jews, Arabs, etc) and may carry the surname but may only be half or a quarter, you never know? And for those dark brown Armenians, my grandmother would work on a ranch in CA when it was HOT for hours and she’d be brown(not black) but as she stopped she got pretty light so keep in mind environment plays a role. As for genetics we share the R1b haplogroup(Y-DNA) that many Europeans carry which originated in West Asia. Overall, I’ve not really had any problem blending in nor has any other Armenian I know. People generally think I’m Italian in the heat, and a Russian in the cold 😀 so I do not feel “White-washed”, nor have the feeling of sticking out like a “sore thumb”. The times I get uncomfortable are when people try to ‘Arab-wash’ me :D, but anyways I respect what you identify yourself as(but seriously you have pretty light skin). Anyways that’s all I have to say, sorry about my crappy punctuation and I don’t wish ‘convert you’ or change your thinking, just putting in my 2 cents ;).
    Բարի օր!

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