A long time and proud resident of Bakersfield, California, Balmeet Singh was assaulted and had his life threatened by an individual invoking racist slurs outside a restaurant two nights ago. In this blog post, he recounts and reflects on the experience. Many thanks to Balmeet for sharing his thoughts about the incident.
Over his two terms, President Obama has recognized the Sikh community (and seems comfortable in doing so) perhaps more than any other US president in history. In his recent speech at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, he makes reference to the Sikh American community as victims of anti-Islamic bigotry in the United States. However, it was lacking in specific proposals to help counter America’s Islamophobia.
While in 2012, the Republican Party offered sympathy and support to the Sikh American community, by 2016, this sentiment has ostensibly been disregarded — and even reversed — by the dominating Republican candidate for President who openly disparages a Sikh article of faith. And, there has been little tangible response from the Republican Party or the other Republican candidates to this incident or other similar protests. One wonders how or why this shift occurred.
Categories: Civil Rights, Hate Crimes, News Bits, Politics • Tags: Arashdeep Singh, Donald Trump, Iowa, Ishwar Singh, Muscatine, Nikki Haley, Oak Creek, Republican National Convention, Republican Party, Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, xenophobia
In an article published in Lawfare, law professor Dawinder S. Sidhu offers an coincidental counterpoint to Monday’s post about the concept of “mistaken identity” and its use to explain hate crimes in which Sikh Americans are victims. Professor Sidhu finds that dismissing mistaken identity arguments is problematic and counter-productive to addressing hate crimes affecting the Sikh and Muslim communities in the post-9/11, post-Paris and post-San Bernardino environment.
“Mistaken identity” has become the de facto explanation for hate crimes perpetrated against members of the Sikh American community, the logic being that Sikhs are being targeted because their articles of faith — particularly the turban, men’s beard, and brown skin — are confused by attackers for identifiers of Muslims, the latter of whom are being confused as terrorists. Both law enforcement and Sikh community leaders have defaulted to this explanation, pointing to post-9/11 backlash as the causal motivation for […]
Recent terror attacks around the world, and in particular, the United States, have called into question what we mean by “terrorist,” whereby the label appears quickly applied to non-white perpetrators of mass violence. However, conversations around counter-terrorism, regardless of the source or cause, has not seen the same level of volume. One interesting theory about counter-terrorism strategy has been posited by Dr. Ajit Kaur Mann (featured on this blog before) offering a non-violent approach with a level of depth and sophistication. This framework, based […]
After the news of another hate crime against a Sikh American last week, American Turban contributor Lori Way shares a timely poem from a young author from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Many thanks to Lori and author Sandeep Kaur for sharing this reflection. Sandeep Kaur is currently a pharmacy student at Manchester University in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but she was just 18 in the summer of 2013 when she wrote “A Land of Love.” The poem was selected for publication in […]
Categories: Art, Hate Crimes, Literature, Profiles, Reflections • Tags: "A Land of Love", Chicago, Fort Wayne, hate crime, hate crimes, Illinois, Inderjit Singh Mukker, Indiana, Lori Way, Poetry, Sandeep Kaur
On Medium, in an address after the mass murder of nine black congregants at the hands of a white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina, writer John Metta talks about the difficulty in having conversations about race: Despite what the Charleston Massacre makes things look like, people are dying not because individuals are racist, but because individuals are helping support a racist system by wanting to protect their own non-racist self beliefs. People are dying because we are supporting a racist system […]
Categories: Civil Rights, Hate Crimes, Reflections • Tags: Charleston, hate crimes, John Metta, Ku Klux Klan, mass shooting, Medium, Oak Creek, Racism, Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, South Carolina, White supremacy, Wisconsin
On The Vault (the history blog for Slate magazine), historian Peter Manseau recounts the history of the 1907 Bellingham riots in Washington state, in which Sikh laborers were attacked and driven out of the town’s lumber industry by mobs of white men: As reported across the country, in September 1907, a mob of disgruntled white workers rounded up hundreds of Sikhs, beat them in the street, and then forced them out of town. Many went north to British Columbia; others went […]