With the amplification of Black Lives Matter (BLM) support nationally and globally, I was delighted to notice that a number of BLM artwork and t-shirts have been designed in Persian showing long overdue solidarity and the recognition of Iran's/Persia's complicities in slavery, racism, and anti-Blackness.
When I showed my dad my own artistic rendering of the "Black Lives Matter" text in Persian I had found online, he reminded me, "We discussed that term was offensive, remember?"
Ashamedly, my Persian reading and writing is less than basic, so while I can get away with speaking colloquial Persian, I can hardly read or write in the language. So I didn't even notice (or consider a closer reading/paying attention) that the Persian term سیاه پوستان that literally translates to "Black skins" meant that the BLM translations I've found online in artwork and printed on t-shirts literally read as "Black skins' lives matter," which in English, is intended to translate to "Black Lives Matter." Our languages, traditions, and beliefs may be "socio-/cultural," and therefore, normalized, but that doesn't always make them just.
Upon catching this, in collaboration with and gratitude to Baba, I designed an alternative Persian translation that removes "skins" and pluralizes "Black" so that it still translates to "Black Lives Matter."
While a posture of critique seems to be the default setting nowadays, regardless, I'm grateful to know there's a heightened awareness, hunger to learn, and that discursive spaces are emerging from the diaspora! I know this isn't true of everyone, but I am grateful that the conscience of more and more people in the U.S. has stirred. We have been asleep for too long . . .
I had initially shared a link to high resolution images of the design here since people were inquiring about whether it would be printed and sold on a t-shirt/hat, and I did not have the resources to do so. Due to popular demand, however, and thanks to a collaboration with Created Noble, a Black family-owned business based in Atlanta, I am excited to announce that t-shirts and hoodies are now available for order with the golden yellow miniature accented "Black Lives Matter" in an English-Persian text combination ("miniature" is in reference to a style of small (i.e., "miniature") Persian paintings, characterized by vivid, intricate details. This design is comprised of flowers and birds). T-shirts and hoodies are available in four colors (beige, black, neon, and white) while supplies last.
Created Noble sells a variety of thought-provoking, socially-and-spiritually-conscious apparel, including their top selling "Black Lives Are Created Noble" t-shirts. Please help me support them, and help spread the word! You can follow them on Instagram/IG via @Bahais4BlackLives.