The Bay Area is reputed to be one of the most liberal places to live in the country. It also contains one of the larger Sikh populations in the United States. On that context, the Sikh Coalition‘s recently released study, Bay Area Civil Rights Report 2010, provides some sobering data:
- 69% of Sikh boys who wear patkas or dastaars [both are types of turbans] have been harassed in school
- 2 out of 3 Sikh boys in middle school report being harassed because of their religion or ethnic identity
- 38% of Sikhs surveyed have been called a racial or religious epithet
- 12% of Sikhs report being refused employment on account of their religious identity
- 1 out of every 4 turbaned Sikh men believe they have been unfairly stopped or questioned by a police officer, airport employee, security guard or transportation service employee
If these are the stats from one of the most diverse and liberal places to live in America, one wonders what the stats are like – and what Sikhs are experiencing – elsewhere in the country.
These results are based on a survey of 1,300 Sikhs living in the Bay Area. Check out the full report here (PDF file).
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I have lived in the bay area for a decade and this is by far the best place to live for Sikhs. Are there people including kids that will show hatred towards Sikhs? Yes.
However, most of the bay area residents know a Sikh or have seen a Sikh before.
I have lived in other parts of US and I must say unequivocally, bay area is a great place to raise a family.
To the point of kids getting bullied, this will happen. Harse punishments can perhaps eliminate bullying but you cannot take bullying away from outside the school grounds. A non-Sikh kid bullying a Sikh kid at the play ground in the evening cannot be punished, who will punish that kid?
We as Sikhs need to support our kids and teach them to be strong. Prepare them that they wil be bullied. Preparing them and talking about prospective bullying will make them aware of this and they will not be caught off-guard.
It is not easy to be a kid and it certainly is harder to be a Sikh kid.
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