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USA Bay Area Sikhs Come To The Rescue Of Their Kids By Fighting Bigotry


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Bangalore: Sikh kids when start school usually complain about being teased because of the turban and refuse going to school again. The Sikh Coalition which is a national Non-Profit organization pointed out in its report for the Bay Area about Sikh children being teased and taunted and called as "terrorist" and "diaper head".
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The Bay Area is home to more than 1, 50,000 Sikhs and thus, it's surprising that students from San Jose had reported to have been taunted, punched and threatened with scissors. "I was surprised the numbers were this high in the Bay Area,'' said Neha Singh, western region director for the coalition."Everyone assumes that in the Bay Area that the things are different. But things are not that different here."

Her survey stated that there are about 1300 Sikhs in the nine Bay Area counties. To help the kids get over the perception of discrimination and bullying, Sikh parents have rushed to schools in Silicon Valley pleading the teachers to let them teach students about their faith in their religion.

The Sikh parents are trying an immediate action after seeing the report in which their children have expressed the indiscrimination they face. The statistics stated that 74 percent of boys were termed Patkas and were harassed for wearing small turbans and 65 percent faced racial or religious bullying in middle school with or without turbans. It also showed that the Sikh youth felt harassed for their faith.

The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center quoted the average bullying figure to be 30 percent. The report profiled a few students who were bullied wherein Harijit complained of other kids calling him a terrorist and ripping off his patka to check if there is a bomb inside. The bullies have not left the girls out of the limelight which became clear when Sukhmani Kaur spoke about being threatened to cut her hair by other students. "They put opened scissors to my hair and threatened to cut it. They tried twice. The first time I told them to stop. They knew I couldn't cut my hair because of my religion. I told my counselor what happened, and nothing was done," she said in the report."

Various alarming ways to control the bigotry were thought of like Sikhs educating themselves and Sikhism to be taught at school. Taranjit Singh, a software engineer and his wife provided their son with a DVD explaining why Sikhs don't cut their hair and their beliefs. The DVD helped the other kids to know about a Sikh's belief to live in honesty, the respect of turban and many more things. Not just the kids, but even the adults were benefitted by it.