The saga involving one-time Sikh Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina, and the perceptions of her ethnic and religious history still continues:
Who should be more offended at the mockery: Sikhs or Christians?
Phil Bailey is a political director in the state of South Carolina’s Democratic Party, and made the comment above publicly on his Twitter account:
The political director of South Carolina’s Senate Democratic Caucus labeled Nikki Haley the “Sikh Jesus” after she intervened to aid the Republican primary challenger of a Republican State Senator who called her a “raghead.”
The State Senator who called Haley (and President Obama) a “raghead” – an ethnic slur directed towards people who wear turbans, and specifically those of Middle Eastern or Indian descent – was Jake Knotts, who uttered this slur a couple of years ago during Haley’s election campaign (and he is not the only public official or business to openly use such a slur). The video in which Knotts uttered the slur was recently leaked online. Knotts has since apologized for the comment, saying he meant it in jest.
Back to Phil Bailey’s outburst on Twitter, he has been reprimanded by his party and the Twitter account from which he posted his “Sikh Jesus” comments has been closed.
What isn’t closed, however, is the public perception around Haley’s background and how this is a constant target for her opponents – either Democratic or Republican. Haley may not be particularly popular among Sikh Americans, especially as she is perceived to have regularly and publicly distanced herself from her Sikh background (though since her election, she appears to be more open about it), however, it is this same Sikh background that is often used as fodder within political and public circles.
One wonders why the fact that Haley was a Sikh seems to be a continual point of focus by her rivals.