Columnist Anita Creamer of the Sacramento Bee has this interesting profile of Harkirat Hansra [pictured], a Sikh teenager who has decided to address post-9/11 harassment and discrimination through providing online information on Sikhs and Sikhism:
Outside Sunrise Mall two weeks after 9/11, a turbaned and bearded Sikh man and his 11-year-old son were taunted by passers-by: "Terrorists, go back to Afghanistan!"Harkirat should be commended for engaging in this proactive response to the ignorance that manifested itself after 9/11 in the form of hate crimes, verbal harassment, and other discriminatory conduct. As his father noted:
"People assumed we had something to do with terrorism, and they wanted to retaliate," says Harkirat Hansra, now 15 and a sophomore at Mira Loma High School.
He's not from Afghanistan. He's not even from India, though his parents, Gurprit and Maninder Hansra, immigrated to California in the 1980s from the Punjab state.
Harkirat Hansra is an American, born and bred, a suburban kid from Rancho Cordova. He decided to deal with the problem of misunderstanding and discrimination the American way: through education.
For a school project, he has created a Web site called "Sikhs: The Most Visible Yet Most Misunderstood Minority," which is at www.infoaboutsikhs.com, with the goal of educating Americans about who their Sikh neighbors really are.
"See how he's fighting back?" says his father. "That's why I'm proud of him. He understands there's a problem, but he's trying to find a solution. The solution isn't to run away but to fight back."
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