Is WeHo City Council ‘all white again’?

At the last City Council meeting, Annie Jump Vicente took to the public comment podium addressing the City Council: “You, Erickson, said last time: ‘I’m in fear of being a white gay man in West Hollywood.’ Are you joking?   You don’t face the same stuff I do.”

Vicente exclaimed: “Jesus Christ, all of you are white again! Congratulations, you did it — you made it white again,” —an apparent critique of WeHo voters, who elected Chelsea Byers and John Heilman, both Caucasians, to the City Council in November.

Mayor Pro Tem Sepi Shyne responded directly to Vicente during council member comments:

“I also want to make very clear that I am an Iranian Middle Eastern woman of color and not a white person — so let’s be very clear about that,” Shyne said.

Shyne’s identification as a person of color was not obvious to Vicente. In a previous council meeting a Black woman spoke from the public comment podium to question Shyne’s ‘person of color’ identification and accused her of misappropriating a label that did not belong to her.

Sepi Ghafouri was born in Iran of Iranian heritage. Both of her parents are Iranian. Most Iranians able to flee Iran’s revolution in the late 1970s were wealthy and privileged.

While she uses her maiden name in the title of her law firm, Sepi took “Shyne” as her last name after her marriage to Ashlei Shyne, a black woman, from whom she is now separated.

Alex Shams’ detailed research on the topic shows that throughout history, Iranians have been considered part of the white community.

ARYAN: a term originally used as an ethnocultural self-designation by Indo-Iranians in ancient times, in contrast to the nearby outsiders known as ‘non-Aryan.’ During the 19th century, the term Aryans came to be synonymous with “Proto-Indo-Europeans,” the ancestors of today’s speakers of English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Dutch, Spanish, Albanian, Armenian, Balto-Slavic, Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic, Indo-Iranian and Italic.

The research points to the Aryan roots of Iranians. “Although Iran is a multiethnic nation of Persians, Azeri Turks, Kurds, Baluchis, Arabs, Armenians, and many other groups, Iranians were taught to pride themselves for their Aryan blood and white skin.”

Google search: ‘types of human races’

In the United States people are often asked to self-identify as either White, Hispanic, African American, Asian or Native American – or five races. Advanced understanding of DNA reduced the amount of races accepted by scientists to three: European, Asian, African. These are the biological human races.

Google search: Are Iranians Persons of color?

Shams explains it this way: In the lead-up to the 2010 US National Census, campaigns emerged across the country calling for Iranian-Americans to “stand up and be counted.” One of the most memorable of these was “Check it right, you ain’t white,” a movement that targeted Arab- and Iranian-Americans, urging them to write in their ethnic identification instead of checking the box for “White,” as forms generally ask those of Middle Eastern descent to do.

Under what definition would Sepi Ghafouri consider herself a person of color? Did her parents check the box labeled “white” on their emigration papers? Which box do you think Sepi Ghafouri checked on her college application?

Shams continues: “Person of Color” (POC) is a phrase that emerged out of political struggles against ethnic and racial discrimination in the United States, and exists in contrast to the identity “White” and the racial privileges that identity carries. POC explicitly recognizes the commonalities of experience shared by those who are not of the dominant racial group in this country, and expresses the need for solidarity among these groups in order to dismantle the existing system of racial privilege and hierarchy.

Remember Elizabeth Warren claiming to be a Native American, and Rachel Dolezal, an NAACP leader exposed as a white woman. Most recently George Santos’s mis-truths have been in the headlines. The one things all of these politicians have in common is using race and identity politics to further their own careers.

Annie Jump Vincent called it like she sees it.

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Valeri
Valeri
23 days ago

LOL Oh the horror!!!!

Koweho
Koweho
28 days ago

These are elected positions not appointed, so if people disagree with the make up of the council they need to identity and run people who they want. Not fair claiming race in a public election forum. Everyone and anyone can run.

Davedi
Davedi
29 days ago

We spend more time a-fixing labels to things that actually fixing things. The homeless? Don’t worry about them being homeless just worry about what they are being called. Homeless is such a stigma so lets call them people experiencing homelessness. Too insensitive? Let’s go with people affected by homelessness. Hmmm. I don’t know maybe we should call them unhoused? Oh gee. Unhoused that’s a bit insensitive also. How about we call them our unhoused neighbors? I don’t know maybe I’ll stand up at the next city Council meeting and fight to have them called mortgagely challenged. Of course, we will… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
28 days ago
Reply to  Davedi

They should all be picked up….and moved to forced work programs. Their labor can help offset the cost of housing, meals and treatment.

It’s the only solution.

enemyofthestate
enemyofthestate
30 days ago

News flash for Vicente: Hispanic is an ethnicity, a subset of the Caucasian race, as is Persian. Unless she has Indian blood, she’s Caucasian.

Annie Jump Vicente
Annie Jump Vicente
5 days ago

I’m a white Latin trans slut. Take it or leave it

Last edited 5 days ago by Annie Jump Vicente
Hamster Cage
Hamster Cage
30 days ago

I’m a victim. I’m a victim!!! Stop it already.

Valeri
Valeri
23 days ago
Reply to  Hamster Cage

NO! I’M a victim!

carleton cronin
30 days ago

Like a pimple – if you keep poking at it, fussing about it, it only gets worse. Is it even possible to imagine any place on this strange planet where divisions of race, ethnicity, gender, etc., have no bearing? I thought that West Hollywood might be that place. Instead…

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
30 days ago

Imagine someone…..say ANYWHERE NORMAL in the US……..reading this website.

City Gov repairs the roads, picks up trash and keeps its residents safe. That’s about it. Look at all the nonsense in this tiny city.

Did all the crazy people in the country move to WH?

Swamp of Victims
Swamp of Victims
30 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Attracted to the “Swamp of Victims”.
Another Pandemic.

WEHO Resident
WEHO Resident
16 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Based on the fact that you apparently live here, the answer to your question is “yes.”

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago

Poor Sepi! Oh the indignity of being mistaken for being a white person! I am often presumed to be white but as my mother is Filipino, Mexican and Chinese and my father is Irish, so under the Obama Rule, I am a POC, which apparently, according to our current Mayor, somehow makes me morally superior to my non-POC friends and neighbors. If Mayor Shyne wants to be taken seriously as a person of color, perhaps she should revert to her Iranian surname. If the Mayor is correct, that people from the Middle East are people of color, then Jesus was… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
30 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

This changes the ordinal number of some of Sepi’s identities. Under your sound analysis, Sepi is the fifth POC on council. She’s not the first POC on council, nor the first woman, nor the first lesbian, but by golly, add enough intersectionalities and sure enough, she’s the first woman-lesbian-BIPOC-Iranian-born-secular-Muslim-identifying person on council (did I capture them all?). And yet, after 38 years, still no Native American (with or without intersectionalities), despite our collective acknowledgement that this is their land. The obsession with ordinal numbering in politics and government is pompous and regal and adds nothing to the practice of sound… Read more »

Last edited 30 days ago by Alan Strasburg
JF1
JF1
30 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Thanks Steve and Alan for putting more of a spotlight on the absurdity of it all.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
30 days ago
Reply to  JF1

Thanks! Sometimes it is better to laugh at it all because that is the best alternative.

Disingenuous
Disingenuous
30 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

So juvenile and distracting for Sepi and her disingenuous policies and her self victimized followers. Sepi appears to need psychological counseling for her self hatred and pious behavior. Spreading her private pandemic throughout the city is unhealthy.

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

My grandparents, as Irish immigrants coming to the US over 100 years ago, faced “ethnic and racial discrimination”. That did not make them non-white. Iranians are only considered non-white by the sort of people who also think Italians, Spaniards, and perhaps the French aren’t white either.

Sepi can self identify as a person of color if she chooses to. She can also self-identify as a Cockatiel or a ‘67 Corvair, but that doesn’t make it so.

Ian
Ian
1 month ago

The scientific fact is every single person on this planet’s ancestral home is Africa.

This is an obsession with skin color that humans can’t seem to shake.
No matter how hard it struggles to get to the mountain top.

Michael Havenhurst
Michael Havenhurst
1 month ago

Shyne should be congratulated for the unionization of these hotels run by greedy white males in WEHO. Backed by the anti-union chamber of commerce. Ceos making millions running major hotel chains that supposedly in West Hollywood are just little boutique hotels. Unionize them all. Good for Shyne. And if they don’t unionize Hollywood unions should boycott every event in West hollywood.

JF1
JF1
1 month ago

Race, race, race. How about, “is the council full of members that care more about their own political ambitions than the city and the residents they represent?!” Three out of five are! I’ll take any person of any color or sex that cares more about the city and the people that live in it that they represent over those that only care about their own political ambitions..any day!

Last edited 1 month ago by JF1
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