December 13, 2019
“I’m my own type of breed” said Mina Mahmoodzadeh. Being a first generation, biracial follower of Zoroastrianism has always been a big part of Mahmoodzadeh’s life and the religion has become an integral part of her character development.
Zoroastrianism is one of the first religions of Persia and has one prophet named Zoroaster. Mahmoodzadeh believes her religion focuses more on the future than the present. They ideally want to focus on how to change the world with the three principles of good thoughts, good words, and good deeds.
“It is mostly about choices, and that there is a righteous path and wrong path, but you get to choose what that is” said Mahmoodzadeh. “[These principles] definitely go through my mind when I am thinking if I should say a certain thing or not, or little things like holding the door open for someone.”
Mahmoodzadeh feels that her religion doesn’t set her apart from others at first glance, because the difference in religion is not physically apparent when compared to her peers. “Nowadays in our school, I am not the only person who practices a different religion than everyone else in the room. There could be Muslims in the room, or people who are Sikkh.”
“I’ve never had a big realization about me being so different from everyone else,” said Mahmoodzadeh in the context of her religion, however, she has faced adversity in regards to her ethnicity as she is of both Persian and Puerto Rican descent.
“Since I’m Persian, when all the stuff with ISIS was a popular topic, people would always ask ‘are you descendants from them?’’, said Mahmoodzadeh
Despite the occasional offensive comments, Mahmoodzadeh has found comfort in a Zoroatrian community in Irvine, and goes there often to further her understanding of her religion.
“Closer to Irvine there a lot of Persians who practice Zoroastrianism, but, even there, I do feel like an outsider sometimes. A lot of the people there are full Persian, and it’s a little different from me because people say that I am whitewashed or because I am half Latina,” said Mahmoodzadeh.
“There is a language barrier that I cannot break through because I speak neither Farsi nor Spanish,” said Mahmoodzadeh. She feels like this often makes her feel different within both of her communities. Having dual cultures often feels like she can never really fully relate to one specific culture.
Lately, she has become more aware of the two races she has identified with throughout her life, and has grown to embrace herself as a unique blend of culture.
“When I was little I would wonder why we don’t celebrate Easter or something like that. I was never ashamed of my culture but I would always ask why am I different,” said Mahmoodzadeh.
“It’s a lot better being different now because people are more accepting of it,” said Mahmoodzadeh.