The Armenian subcultures or subgroups are quite different from
each other, so naturally they are conflicted with varying
I have always taken an interest in these stereotypes, sort of
studied them, because I usually hear a variety of statements people
make about each other's groups.
Let me also clarify a few things before I proceed. For those who
are unfamiliar with the Armenian subgroups, there are three prominent
ones in the Glendale Armenian community. There are "Hyastancis," or
Armenians from Armenia; "Barskahyes," Iranian-Armenians; and
"Beirutsis," or Lebanese-Armenians. The word "Hye" simply means
"Armenian." These three subcultures live in their own pockets of the
community and speak in distinct Armenian dialects.
Just last week, I came across a listing of typical Armenian
stereotypes on the Internet. The stereotypes were divided into three
categories all corresponding to their respective subgroups. As I
began reading, I couldn't help but laugh because all of them were in
good taste and I could relate to some of them.
The list was created all in the name of fun and in no way was
insulting to the Armenian culture, or so I thought.
I forwarded a copy of this list to a friend of mine, who happens
to be Armenian, and moments later, I received a phone call from her.
As I answered the phone, I heard nothing but ecstatic laughter coming
from the other end of the line.
"Oh, my God," she said with her uncontrollable laugh. "This is so
The listing of stereotypes was "true" in the sense that she knew
Armenian people who fit the stereotype. I could relate to her
reaction because I know and have known people who fit into the
stereotypical profile as well.
After reading the list from the Internet, I made some observations
of my own.
What was most interesting about this list -- after careful
consideration and comparison -- was that the generalizations made
about each sub-group varied distinctively.
For example, one said, "You're Hyastanci if your rims cost more
than your house," and another said, "You're Beirutsi if you're very,
very, very tight with money.
These two statements really made me think about the way the