D I S C R I M I N A T I O N    &    N A T I O N A L    S E C U R I T Y    I N I T I A T I V E    --    B L O G
  DNSI Home - http://pluralism.org/affiliates/kaur_sidhu/
  Pluralism Project - http://www.pluralism.org
  Harvard University - http://www.harvard.edu


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sikh Shop owner’s tale of prejudice a jolt of reality

Periodically, a local occurrence hits the reasonable people in our community with a jolt of reality: There are still those among us — perhaps many — who judge a man by his appearance rather than, as Martin Luther King Jr. advised, the content of his character.

The community was struck by one of those jolts Friday, when The Herald Bulletin related the trials of the new owner of an Edgewood convenience store and gasoline station who has been confronted with blatant prejudice.

An unidentified man delivered a letter July 18 to the store owned by Jaswant Singh Banwait. The letter contained a rambling diatribe against “Arab/Muslim terrorists,” apparently targeting Banwait because he has dark skin and wears a turban. Furthermore, Banwait says that, since purchasing the former Milk Barn in March, he and his employees have been “cussed out” in his store and that someone told him to “go back to my country.” And the store’s general manager says that he’s been told he has committed “treason” by working for Banwait.

Adding another troubling thread to this disturbing pattern, when a Herald Bulletin reporter stopped at a nearby home to ask the residents about the convenience store and Banwait, the replies of the man and his wife were shocking. They said they were boycotting the store because they had received subpar hotel service in the past from people of Indian descent.

“I don’t care for those people,” the man said. “They come over here and take over our businesses.”

The woman added, “We resent the fact that they’re here” and noted that she wouldn’t shop at a Muslim-owned store because “they’re our enemy.”

The fact that Banwait isn’t even a Muslim stains the prejudice demonstrated by these bizarre words and actions with another coat of ignorance. Banwait is an Indian Sikh, a member of a religion with 25 million followers.

“As part of my religion, I do not look at anyone as bad,” he said. “In my daily prayers, I pray for the whole universe.”

Banwait, who has lived in the United States since 1989, is determined to make a go of it in Edgewood. He’s determined to demonstrate to customers and neighbors that he is a good man and a good businessman.

Perhaps that’s the best thing that could come from this sordid tale: A realization might dawn on some folks that good people come from all different sorts of cultures and have all different sorts of appearances.

In the meantime, it is the responsibility of the reasonable citizens of this community — and that’s most of us — to advocate for the respectful treatment of all who live here and all who visit here. [Link]

Labels: ,


DNSI     direct link     0 comments   Email post: 



0 Comments:
Post a Comment

<< Home



About DNSI

The Discrimination & National Security Initiative (DNSI) is a research entity that examines the mistreatment of minority communities during times of military action or national crisis.

More Info:
DNSI Home Page




The Blog

Why a Blog?
The purpose of this web-log is to offer news and commentary in a fluid, dynamic format while our more substantive reports are forthcoming.

Recent Posts
Legal Brief Filed in Historic Kirpan Case
Brooklyn Man Charged In Quran Desecrations
Many Asians 'do not feel British'
Store Owner Shakes Off Anonymous 'Terrorist' Query...
Divided We Fall
Tactics Can Alienate Muslim Americans
9/11 bill prompts civil liberties groups, some Dem...
School bus driver fired after alleged hate crime
Sikh name-change letter 'poorly worded': Immigrati...
Muslim street warden wins £42,000 after 'Saddam' r...

Archives
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008
04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008
05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008
06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008
08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008
09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008
10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009
01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009


Etc...

Religious Diversity News-Pluralism Project









Blogroll
Into the Whirlwind
Human Rights in India
IntentBlog
Ethnic Confusion Britain
MrSikhNet
Anil Kalhan
Islamicate
Ultrabrown
Sepia Mutiny

Feeds, etc.











(c) 2005 Discrimination & National Security Initiative 1531 Cambridge Street Cambridge, MA 02138