Ajam Media Collective

Thank you Ajam Media Collective, for asking me to write about my motivation for making “America 1979.”

From the forward by Ajam editor Alex Shams:

The Iran Hostage Crisis was a seminal event in the experiences of thousands of Iranian-Americans. Although many Iranians had settled in the United States in the decades prior to 1979, they had largely blended into the seemingly undifferentiated mass of olive-skinned immigrants who poured in following the repeal of the racialized immigration quotas in 1965.

The Hostage Crisis dramatically transformed how Americans understood Iranians as well as how Iranian-Americans viewed themselves. Once peculiarly exotic, Iranians suddenly emerged as the primary targets of a xenophobic American rage that led to a wave of hate crimes and widespread discrimination.

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