Edmonton (September 19, 2016): The World Sikh Organization of Canada condemns racist posters distributed by the group “Immigration Watch Canada” targeting Sikhs at the University of Alberta.
The poster titled “FU*K YOUR TURBAN” features a picture of a turbaned Sikh man and states, “If you’re so obsessed with your third-world culture, go the fu*k back to where you came from!”
Approximately a dozen posters appeared earlier today on the University of Alberta campus but have now been taken down by campus security.
The posters feature a link to the website ImmigrationWatchCanada.org. Similar posters from the group Immigration Watch Canada previously appeared at York University in Toronto and in Brampton, Ontario in 2014.
WSO Vice-President for Alberta Tejinder Singh Sidhu said, “We are in communication with the University of Alberta and we have been told that there is an ongoing investigation into the posters and they are being removed wherever they are found. These racist posters don’t reflect the inclusiveness Canada is renown for and we know that the University of Alberta and the larger Edmonton community stand in solidarity with Sikh Canadians in saying that this type of messaging is not welcome.”
WSO President Mukhbir Singh said, “Similar posters appeared two years ago in Ontario and are a pathetic attempt at drawing the spotlight to deplorable views that have been rejected in Canada. Despite the claims on this poster, Sikhs are an integral part of the Canadian fabric and we are proud that many turbaned Sikhs serve Canada in the federal cabinet, armed forces and many other capacities.”
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.
NPR has an interesting story about how some African-Americans used turbans to deal with discrimination in the Jim Crow era. An excerpt:
Routté’s experiment began after he traveled to Mobile, Ala., in 1943 for a family engagement. He wasn’t happy with how he was treated.
“I was Jim Crowed here, Jim Crowed there, Jim Crowed all over the place,” he later told reporters. “And I didn’t like being Jim Crowed.”
So he went back in 1947, with a plan.
Before he boarded the train to Alabama, he put on his spangled turban and velvet robes. When the train reached North Carolina during lunchtime, Routté walked over to the diner car where the only vacant seat was occupied by two white couples.
One of the men said, “Well, what have we got here?” to which Routté replied in his best Swedish accent (he had been the only black student at a Swedish Lutheran college in Illinois), “We have here an apostle of goodwill and love” — leaving them gaping.
And that confusion seemed to work for Routté on the rest of his trip. He dropped in on police officials, the chamber of commerce, merchants — and was treated like royalty.
At a fancy restaurant he asked the staff what would happen if a “Negro gentleman comes in here and sits down to eat.” The reply: “No negro would dare to come in here to eat.”
“I just stroked my chin and ordered my dessert,” he said.
“He didn’t change his color. He just changed his costume, and they treated him like a human,” says Luther Routté, who has been a Lutheran pastor for 25 years. It “shows you the kind of myopia that accompanies the whole premise of apartheid or segregation.”
Through the “turban trick,” Routté basically transformed himself from a threat to a guest — black to invisible.