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Iranian Americans Apparently “Don’t Appreciate” Bravo’s show: Shahs of Sunset

Stereotypes don’t become stereotypes for no reason dummy. I could preach all the live long day about the down falls of accepting stereotypes as the blatant truth, but at the end of the day it what you believe. Actions speak louder than words, so stop with the complaining and let your actions represent you.

Reality television…sigh at least half of it, is simply trash for your eyes. I recently got into Dance Mom’s—I have NO IDEA HOW THAT EVEN HAPPENED!! One moment I was flipping through the channels, I think I looked down for a moment and stopped the clicker on this non-scripted piece of work and now I find myself returning at its set time every week.

Lame I know.

A repeat incident led me to stumble scross Ryan Seacreat’s newest reality venture, “Shahs of Sunset,” (granted I watch a fair amount of Bravo programming so it was bound to happen.) The show is hilarious in the worse way possible. I go back and forth between wanting to reach into the TV and shake these people for being dumbasses, to scratching my head wondering why do they have soooo much money to blow?!

Honestly I’m not that familiar with the typical Iranian-American. (Or even the a-typical one for that matter…) So I was fairly intrigued. Bravo describes their show as:

“Shahs of Sunset” follows a group of friends who are trying to juggle their active social lives and up-and-coming careers while balancing the demands of their families and traditions. These passionate socialites are fervent on the dating and party scene, but seeking approval from their family they face pressures to settle down and marry within the community. From outings on Rodeo Drive to traditional Persian feasts at home, this series celebrates the unique lifestyle of a group of friends who have worked hard for what they have and are not afraid to flaunt it.

Well the West Hollywood City Council isn’t too keen on the representation this group of friends is choosing to “flaunt”.  So much so that they’ve currently passed a resolution to condemn the show “for perpetuating negative stereotypes about Iranian-Americans,” according to a release, West Hollywood Council member John Heilman states that they feel,

“The show depicts negative stereotypes of the Iranian-American community. Negative stereotypes disseminated about any group should raise concern as this can lead to discrimination and, in extreme cases, even violence.”

And furthermore,

“The city’s opposition of the show “is consistent with past actions of the City Council denouncing negative stereotypes of the LGBT community and other groups which have faced discrimination and marginalization.”

Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills

Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

West Hollywood is close in proximity to the area of Beverly Hills they are representing, and both are areas where many people of Iranian descent reside.

“Petitions recently started circulating in Iranian communities throughout the nation to have the show yanked off the air. “Protest Shahs of Sunset” urges signers to “help the Persian community by signing this petition to end ‘Shahs of Sunset’ and other such racist, exploiting television programming.”

(souce: Laist)

This is a little ridiculous. I do agree that it kinds of puts them in a bad light, but by “them” I refer to only the people on the show.

There’s a slew of programming out there about people in New Jersey—you don’t hear the State of Jersey getting all up in arms. The Kardashian women are Armenian, and Southern California is well known for having one of largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia. And where’s the backlash from them?! (Well if there ever was one, maybe there was, it clearly didn’t phase anything!)

It’s like this, if you’re going to talk about people, and those people are going to look silly because they have silly personalities, isn’t it better that they be real people? I could understand their grips a bit more (maybe) if this was a scripted program. At the end of the day though, I’ve learned that this rag tag group of pals likes to drink like there’s no tomorrow, but also gotten glimpses into how committed they are to their friends and family members. And that’s pretty cool.

If I were the kind of person who watched this and assumed that must be how they all act, then I’m a person of questionable character myself. And if I were racist and a supporter of violence, there’s a good chance I was before this show aired and it was motivated by other reasons than just my general annoyance with their spending habits. No one person should ever be looked at as a representation of their entire community, because people are all different. There’s people that spend a lot of money…but so do a lot of other people. Don’t act like your group of people only ever behaves a certain way. (everyone just doesn’t have a TV show…)

Fortunately the phrase: “when you assume it makes an ass out of you and me.” Actually means something to me. City of West Hollywood, let it mean something to you. Changing stereotypes is up to them…person, by person. Getting mad at someone’s personality is your own problem.

Oh wow, I just realized I spent this whole posting defending a reality show. Somebody stop me…


About maggie.

Maggie Barnes is a nonprofit and for profit business content specialist / social media consultant; and social sciences web writer interested in everything from psychology and sexuality, to technology, race, and economics. She is passionate about good communication and information accessibility.


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