These photographs show Iranian families during the Ghajar era with their African slaves. I think it’s really important to share these within our communities, Iranians rarely admit that this is part of our history and when they do, they find it really easy to justify slavery by saying their servants were “treated well”.
There was a shooting in Munich recently where an Iranian teenager was targeting and murdering POC, and I wasn’t surprised at all when I heard that most of his victims were Turkish. I’ve just been so angry ever since because I’m sick of Iranians refusing to talk about the fucked up parts of our culture. If you say anything that’s not “4000 years of glorious perfection” about the great Persia, people get offended. An Iranian teenager becoming obsessed with his “Aryan roots” is a serious consequence of our racism, we can’t ignore this.
We have to talk about our history of oppressing minorities, we have to talk about slavery, we have to talk about our current day oppression of minorities in Iran. We have to say something when Iranians talk about themselves as if we are a superior race. I know I can’t be the only Iranian who has seen and experienced this.
These photographs are part of a collection by Pedram Khosronejad, an Iranian anthropologist who’s currently researching slavery in Iran through visual analysis. You can read more about him and his work here, and here’s his website.
Please share this, and let’s be open and honest about racism and anti-blackness in our communities. We can be proud of our culture and critical of it at the same time, my worst fear is that we won’t grow because we’ve become obsessed with proving to the world that we are worthy of basic human rights and respect. We shouldn’t have to prove that, and refusing to acknowledge the ugly parts of Iranian culture doesn’t make us look good, it makes us ignorant assholes.