A fashion blogger from Iran was told that she did not “sound American” when she was asked about nuclear weapons in a television interview. The video of her informed response went viral.
Hoda Katebi (23), blogs at JooJoo Azad. She was invited to be a guest on Chicago’s WGN News morning program to discuss her book, Tehran Streetstyle. The interview started with Katebi discussing her childhood in Oklahoma. As a woman wearing a hijab, it was a conservative and predominantly white state. It then moved on to discuss Iran’s women’s fashion before one of the hosts asked a strange geopolitical question.
Larry Potash, the host of the show, said: “Let’s discuss nuclear weapons.” “Some viewers might say that Iran is not trustworthy. Your thoughts?
Katebi, a student of international relations and Middle Eastern politics from the University of Chicago, responded calmly, despite feeling slightly shocked. “I don’t believe we can trust this [the US ] country. I’m a pacifist and don’t believe in violence. We can see the history of imperialism, colonization, and violence in the Middle East when we examine the United States’s contribution to the Middle East.
Robin Baumgarten, the host, then said to Katebi: “A lot of Americans might take offense at that.” It doesn’t sound like you’re an American when you speak [this ]…] you understand what I’m talking about.
Katebi said, “That’s because you’ve read,” and that people should “look beyond the simple narratives that are told to us, regardless of whether it’s about Muslim women, or the legacy of this country, knowing that this country was built literally on the backs Black slaves, and after the genocide against indigenous people.”
Katebi addressed the interview and criticized the host’s questioning style on Instagram. She claimed that being told she didn’t sound American was a loaded statement about a “visibly Muslim” woman who is constantly portrayed as a “foreigner”, “other”, and “incompatible with America”. They insist that I am suspicious about my Iranian-ness, but I am unquestionably patriotic for America. These double standards are absurd.” Many people support Ketabi via social media and agree that the inquiries are inappropriate.