Meet Mansimran. He’s an 18 year old all-American guy who likes Starbucks, hoops, and robotics. He’s a student, an older brother, and an active member of his Sikh religious community. Sometimes, when strangers see his turban, and the color of his skin, they lean out their car window and call him a “terrorist.”
He’s not alone: especially since September 11, Sikh Americans and other communities have become targets of discrimination, racial profiling and bullying, and hate crimes. Counterterrorism measures have inflamed fear, fostered an atmosphere of distrust and even violated human rights. Ten years later, members of many immigrant communities continue to be viewed as suspects by law enforcement, to encounter hatred and violence, and be subjected to bias at the workplace and bullying in schools. One survey found that, even 6 years after the events of 2001, 75% of Sikh male schoolchildren in New York had been teased or harassed on the basis of their religious identity.
How does Mansimran respond? “My response is, ‘Come over here, sit down, I’ll tell you about Sikhism, I’ll tell you who I am,” he explains. He says in the video, “If I see somebody being mean to somebody else, I would protect that person. I would go up to the bully and be like, ‘Why are you doing this? What are you doing?’ I’m obliged by my religion..and my family — you know, don’t do the wrong thing, and stand up for the right thing.”
In 2011, Mansimran represented his community at the United Sikhs summit in Washington D.C, where he spoke to members of Congress about supporting Sikh human rights and dignity and respect across cultures.
Mansimran totally takes it in stride — but it shouldn’t be that way in the first place. We are all on the same team, after all — and we should take a page from Mansimran’s playbook by standing up against racial profiling and bullying, reaching out across differences, upholding human rights, and treating everyone around us with the American — and human-rights — values of dignity, equality, and respect.
You can stand with him — and against racist bullying — by getting to know him and sharing his video profile.
How to ACT:
SHARE this video with 10 friends on Facebook and Twitter to speak out for diversity and stand up against bullying. Post on Facebook, Twitter, and your other favorite social networking spaces.
LEARN about racial profiling and racial justice by visiting our ‘about’ section and following the hashtag #rfair.
DOWNLOAD and share the song “turBAN” by G.N.E. (It’s in the video, it’s awesome, and it’s free!).
Why? Because by sharing the video you are speaking out for racial justice and standing up to bullying.
Because we’re all on the same team.
(And because you won’t be able to get the song out of your head.)