Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Sikhism and the Media

One would think that following the numerous hate crimes against Sikhs and subsequent attempts to educate the public on the differences between Sikhs who wear turbans because of religious reasons and Osama Bin Laden would have worked. For the most part I think it has, last weeks episode of ER had a Sikh who was beaten because a maniacal white guy thought he was a terrorist. Luca, the Bosnian (I think) doctor, while treating him, also gave him a good verbal beat down by proclaiming something like, "He is not a terrorist, he is wearing a turban because he is a Sikh, and they beleive in peace, you idiot!" Things like this are good.

Things like this item, written by Lisa Tsering in India-West, they are bad.

"A new film starring standup comedian Eddie Griffin has angered Sikhs over a joke that they say is unfunny at best and offensive at worst. The Miramax film DysFunKtional Family, due for release April 4, follows the comedian through some of his live performances as he riffs on family, urban pop culture and politics.
In one bit, which is in trailers now running in theaters, Griffin says, "I can't figure out why they can't find Osama bin Laden - six feet six, with a nappy beard and a towel on his head. "But they can sure find my cousin, four feet 11, over in Compton." Later in the trailer, Griffin, now standing on a street corner, gestures at an elderly Sikh man walking past. "Bin Laden, I knew you was around here!" he says.

While I think it is important to be able to laugh at yourself and your culture from time to time, this is a very irresponsible statement to make. At a time when there are more military strikes coming and the presumption that more terror is on its way, to help with misinformation against a community who has been beaten down since September 11 is extremely irresponsible.


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