“Shhhh, don’t speak Persian in front of my customers. They might think we are terrorists and walk out of the shop“, said an Iranian childhood friend of mine who owns a shop on the outskirts of New York city a few years ago.
I was shocked to hear this. But I also thought that he is overreacting. Is an American customer going to walk out of a shop if he/she hears its owners speaking Persian? Really?
This has not been my experience in Israel. This country is no utopia. It also has its own racism problems. But Iranians worrying about losing Israeli customers if they speak their mother tongue in front of them? Are you kidding me? There are Iranian owned shops and boutiques in Tel Aviv which blast Iranian music on their loudspeakers for their Israeli customers. There are also some shops which are called Iran. Like “Iran gifts” or “Iran carpets”.
Here is a clip which I recorded two days ago on Allenby street in Tel Aviv. This is no background music, it was being blared out of a music shop. Love these little moments…