VIDEO: Iranian-American Actress Ate Shawarma Last Week, Is Possibly A Terrorist

Fikri’s Team Pick

You know that feeling when a customs officer or sniffer dog is headed your way and suddenly you’re second-guessing whether there’s drugs or guns or knuckle dusters (does anyone use these anymore? Idk airport warning signs always have knuckle dusters) in your bag, even if you’ve only ever seen drugs or guns or knuckle dusters on TV shows about terrorists? Yeah? Now imagine feeling like that every time a police officer walks past you, or the NSA is on the news (or worse, isn’t), or if you even think about the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Welcome to the world of brown people.

Tired of racial racist typecasting in Hollywood, Iranian-American actress Kathreen Khavari wrote, produced and played 11 characters in short film “Brain of Terror.” After watching too much Homeland, a young woman struggles with whether she’s a terrorist.

“You can’t trust nobody no more. Not even the habibis on the corner store. Everybody’s tryna become a terrorist these days. I was watching the news the other day, there was this lady – white as paper – and she was a terrorist.”

“Everything you just said was very racist.”

If you enjoyed this and are looking for more ways to escape mainstream media narratives about Muslims, check out Taz Ahmed‘s Muslim VDay cards too.

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Fikri has written 61 articles for us.


  1. Great to see an entertaining Iranian in the media, and like Ali, I too would like to see more of her.
    Just as a note, but as a person who is Iranian, we are technically not brown, in fact we are ethnically we are Indo-Aryan(which doesn’t include Arab, but does include Indian and the related).

    • Even though Iranians are technically Aryan, I think we can be filed under “brown.” That’s how I see it anyway, after years of being very mixed up about my identity. I don’t refer to myself as a person of color in public domains, but I certainly don’t feel white in the traditional sense.

      • Well I guess for me it’s a bit different as I look more Russian/Armenian(which I am told it was more common in the past). While 2-3 others in my family look more European than Middle Eastern.

      • Yep, this! I know where you’re coming from, Al, but no one’s really “technically” anything because race isn’t biology. What I really appreciated about Kathreen Khavari’s response was that instead of going “but I’m not like those brown people” (which many people do, and I can’t 100% blame them – society and employers reward internalised racism), she quite literally goes into an exploration of multi-faceted identities and how they’re shaped just as much by external experiences/interactions as personal identification.

        (AND she makes it funny, obvs.)

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