This week, the Coalition convinced someecards.com, a popular website for free greeting cards, to remove a greeting card from its pages that misidentified Sikhs as members of the Taliban. The card showed an image of a Sikh and a non-Sikh shaking hands, with the caption “Sex & the City 2 could be the first occurrence in history to equally mortify Americans and the Taliban.”
In our letter to the website’s investors and co-founder, we wrote,
“By wrongly associating Sikhs with the Taliban, the message this greeting card sends is that those who wear turbans are America’s enemies. This has very real consequences for Sikh Americans…In fact, since 9/11 our organization has received over 600 complaints of hate crimes, employment discrimination, profiling, and other forms of discrimination perpetrated by people who have animus against Sikhs, based only on their outward appearance with beards and turbans… The connection between demeaning turbans and discrimination is sadly very real – and very dangerous – for our community.”
The same day we sent the letter, we received an email back from the website saying that the card had been removed.
We often hear from community members about seeing Sikhs misidentified as terrorists or wrongly associated with Osama bin Laden on their local newcasts, at their libraries or in their schools. Most often, these sorts of incidents are not intentional, but are born of ignorance about our community and our turbans. Usually, the quickest way to remedy the mistake is simply to ask! In this case, it took less than 24 hours to fix the problem.
So the next time you see this happen, take an extra 2 minutes out of your day to write an email to the company’s founder or a quick letter to the editor. A few minutes of your time can make all the difference!