Ricky Gill – as mentioned on this blog recently – is a Republican candidate seeking to represent California’s 9th District, who seems to be taking a page out of Nikki Haley’s school of campaiging (via @sepiamutiny):
[Ricky] Gill is the son of two doctors of Punjabi descent, Param and Jasbir Gill, and grew up immersed in Sikh traditions. On the campaign trail, he does not dwell on his heritage, preferring instead to call himself “a nontraditional candidate” and emphasizing his education in Catholic and other Christian schools.
Gill’s first name is Ranjit, but he prefers to be called Ricky, a nickname his brothers, Chaman and Vick, gave him as a toddler in honor of one of their favorite professional wrestlers, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.
Much like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley did when she ran for the Governor’s seat, Gill is reportedly distancing himself from his Sikh heritage in his campaign and emphasizing a Christian background. As Haley endorsed Gill late last year, perhaps it should not be a surprise that he is following her playbook, but it is nonetheless disappointing that a Sikh American is choosing to obscure his own background for the sake of an election.
It is considered groundbreaking by many when an Indian American – and indeed, when a Sikh American – runs for office in this country, however it will truly be so when one runs on the strength of his or her background rather than in spite of it.