#BlackLivesMatter: At h-pem, we join in solidarity against racism, oppression, and injustice of any and all peoples
June 10, 2020
At h-pem, we join in solidarity against racism, oppression, and injustice of any and all peoples, in the hopes for a more equal and peaceful world.
Two weeks ago, the world witnessed the shocking and tragic death of George Floyd, an African American man, at the knee of a white police officer. Since then, conversations about racism, systemic violence, and injustice have dominated our newsfeeds, dinner conversations, and city streetscapes. Our community is no stranger to these topics, with many Armenians releasing statements and calls for solidarity with the black American community.
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From blackface to “Cowboys vs. Indians,” Hollywood has had a long and troubled history with the way it portrays certain groups of people. As one of the “newer” immigrant groups to the United States, the Armenian community is one of the punchlines du jour in the American entertainment industry. After many decades, it is high time that we collectively demand fairer, more accurate representation on our screens, both big and small.
AncestryDNA, 23andme, LivingDNA: Just a few years ago, outside of the genetics community, these terms would have drawn blank stares. Yet, today, it seems like these DNA testing kits are everywhere, from drug stores and cheesy commercials to skits on late-night comedy talk show routines. And while there are many benefits of “discovering” one’s DNA, there is also a dark side that needs reckoning. Through the example of Western Armenia’s “hidden Armenians,” we see both perspectives of this debate.
Are you of Armenian descent and live in the United States? Do you define yourself as Armenian-American? The difference between these questions may seem subtle, but it sparks two radically divergent conversations, one perhaps more hostile than the other. If you’ve ever been personally attacked by the Regina George of Armenian Identity Labels, you may find some comfort in the following recount.
Disclaimer: This article touches upon Armenianness as it pertains to diasporans living in the U.S. Those born and living in Armenia and other parts of the world may have different experiences and approaches to this question that the author does not feel she can speak to, though some of the themes and observations may overlap.