This weekend, 4 sikh men in turbans were kicked off a plane in the US, and if Sikhs can just be kicked off planes for wearing turbans, it's a dangerous precedent.
Seriously...this woman, wearing a 'turban', is scared by 4 Sikh men, wearing turbans
It's nothing new, Sikhs have been getting randomly selected, or randomly kicked off planes for almost 20 years now. It made the news a couple of years ago when four Brooklyn friends got kicked off (including a Sikh), because the captain felt threatened. And it's not just people like you and me. Even famous faces like Waris Ahluwalia have been barred from boarding for no other reason but their appearance.
Well this weekend, it happened again, and it was caught on social media.
Jess Moore, better known by her stage name Jess "hilarious" - said she felt threatened when she saw the turbaned Sikh men board the same plane as her.
It gets worse. She went on Instagram live and streamed her experience. In one video she audibly gasps as an elderly Sikh uncle boards the flight and repeats "where you going, where you going?".
As she began to get negative comments from her followers she went on the attack saying she felt scared, and "fuck how y'all feel". She then posted another video where she feels relieved that the Sikh men are no longer on that plane.
She said this while wearing a turban like head covering on her own head. The irony!
Since that experience, she finally has offered an apology to Muslims, saying she didn't know there were "different types of Muslims". Nothing for Sikhs though.
It's like she learned nothing, and continues with her ignorance.
If she's really sorry perhaps she should open up her browser and do some research on Sikhs. You know those guys who have been commended for their response in assisting the Muslims of Christchurch following the horrific terrorist attack there, or the ones in Syria aiding the most vulnerable, regardless of religious and political affiliation.
It's a dangerous precedent where passengers are able to play a role in getting Sikhs kicked off a plane. Looks like we have to worry about more than just the guards and their blue gloves.
There's a lesson for us as Sikhs as well. There's a lot more outreach that we need to do to educate people on who we are. We quietly go about helping in all parts of the world, including the UK and the US where free Sikh kitchens serve thousands of homeless people each week through initiatives such as the Midland Langar Seva Society, or SWAT. But we fail to help ourselves sometimes. There's a lot of groups beginning to do that; Lions MMA, Khalsa Aid, and Basics of Sikhi are among the more successful. But there's a lot more for us to do.
And there's also a role for others. If you see this discrimination, stand up and say something. Your silence is quiet acceptance and equates to normalisation.
If you get stopped at an airport; be helpful, be cooperative - but stand your ground. If you have done nothing wrong, you can't get kicked off a plane, or randomly told to take off your patka/dastaar. If you've read my posts before, you know it's happened to me many times before, and each time I have firmly, but calmly challenged the security. And each time they have backed down.
As for the Sikh gentlemen, I hope they managed to get to their destination, and I hope they get the compensation they rightfully deserve.
You can find some more information here - but always check local travel rules before flying. If you still have issues, contact the Sikh Helpline (UK) or the Sikh Coalition (US & Canada).
British Sikh in my twenties, born in the Midlands, based in London, travelling the world seeing new cultures.