Sikhs of non-Punjabi or non-Indian background walk a fine line. Coming to Sikhi, straight away we are faced with Punjabi language in the Gurdwara, punjabi suits, kakkars, Gurmukhi script, kirtan and Punjabi food. It gets more complicated from there, as the non-Punjabi Sikh tries to determine what is cultural and what is religious. What to wear, what to say, how to behave at Gurdwara and outside of Gurdwara. Always wondering if you'll offend a Punjabi or Indian by wearing their clothes, cooking their food, or singing their songs. I came across a blog post on cultural appropriation today. Here are some snippets: As many of you know, many people who are NOT Desi/Indian/South Asian people claim to have converted to Hinduism when it is not something you convert to, it is a religion you are born into and is not open to foreigners. To “convert” to Hinduism as many have claimed, is cultural appropriation and is stealing from a deep and rich culture that is not yours. I fully agree with the statements above, and it breaks my heart to see NON Desi/Indian/South Asian people appropriate a religion and culture due to being native american/middle eastern myself, and knowing how it feels to have a culture stolen and abused. I know Wikipedia is not always a reliable source so I did some research elsewhere and on YouTube What I found is there are non desi/Indian/South Asain (mostly white) converts who respectfully follow the faith, and do not over step their bounders and understand that the culture and faith are separate. Then their are converts who try to assimilate into the cultural part of the faith, instead of the religious part. The Sikh faith, and Indian/desi/south Asian culture are two very distinct and different things. However many converts think that converting gives them the right to appropriate the culture. (Examples; wearing tradition Indian dress, wearing bindis, leading the faith, becoming Gurus, changing their name to Indian/desi/south Asian names.) - See more at: http://wocinsolidarity.tumblr.com/p...nverts-to-the-sikh-faith#sthash.jhGcE12y.dpuf The author provides some links to mainly gori Sikhs doing bhangra, and a few to a British woman who has taken to making (I'm sorry) really bad music videos singing Punjabi. The article concludes with this: So in conclusion, yes you can be Sikh. The Sikh faith accepts converts. However there is a VERY fine line between respectfully being part of the faith, and appropriating the culture. If you are not desi/Indian/south Asian do not try and be desi/Indian/south Asian, simply follow the faith without trying to steal the culture. And then this: I agree with this and I am sikh myself. Honestly, white sikhs are looked at as jokes in our community, simply because they like to dissect certain strands of our religion and then try to appropriate desi culture like they have some sort of pass. Though we accept converts, the religion is very intricate. I notice the white converts only acknowledge the superficial aspects of our religion. It’s quite laughable really. When I first went to the Gurdwara, I wore western clothes. Auntie Ji suggested I'd be more comfortable in salwar kameez. I've been wearing salwar kameez to Gurdwara almost exclusively, ever since. I've done the "Gurdwara dash" - that is, put on my salwar kameez, drive to Gurdwara for the service, drive home and get changed. I'll be honest, it feels a bit like dress-ups. More recently I've been wearing salwar kameez to the shops on the way home. Yesterday I came home and went out again with my partner to the grocery store. Is this cultural appropriation, though? Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place! Recently, I've been wearing tichels, too. I asked a Jewish friend if he thinks Jews would mind me wearing one of their traditional headdresses. He said he doesn't think anyone would really care. I have a gori bhainji in Canada, who went from wearing salwar kameez and dastar, to now western clothes and tichels. The reason being, that even in full bana, people weren't recognising her as a Sikh. She was reprimanded by a Singh in Gurdwara for using a handkerchief to take care of allergies while studying nitnem bania, instead of her chunni; although to her, the handkerchief is more natural for her to use, it wasn't clean enough from his perspective. I've read websites that purport to give an historical account, with pictures, of the tradition of Sikh women not wearing dastars. Some Sikhs scoff at the idea of a woman wearing a dastar, much less a gori! I'm interested to hear the sangat's view on cultural appropriation with relation to converts to Sikhi.