Sat Nam. Drasan Singh, of Boulder, CO, advised me some weeks ago of an incident he experienced while visiting the 3HO Sikh community in Espanola, NM. I requested that he write up his recollection and submit it for posting here at MySikhSense.com. His account follows.
I encourage others to speak up with their accounts of similar experiences. The exposure of conflicts between colored eyes and white eyes within our community are helpful in monitoring our attempts to practice Guru Nanak Dev's teachings going forward. --
On Friday, April 4, 2014, after a Denver flight to Santa Fe at 12am, I arrived at 1am. I was picked up by my host and housed for two days, but I was kept by myself.
On Saturday, April 5, I was taken by my host to lunch at a Sangat member's house. There I met other Sangat members. In a conversation I advised them of my concern that I not be accepted as an equal Khalsa since I do not dress in all white, as they do.
That evening, in the Sadhana room at the Gurdwara, I was led by my host to the back of the Darbar Sahib and told to sit there.
A dinner was held Saturday night at my host's house where kitcheri was served. My good friend Mr. Awtar Singh did not appear, even though I asked my host to invite him.
On Sunday morning, my host took me to the Gurdwara, as he was performing Kirtan for the Sangat. As we were in the Gurdwara, I bowed to the Guru and sat in front of the Guru. But then my host led me to the back of the Gurdwara for the second time, where I was seated away from the White Sangat, as I was not dressed in all white and my skin is not White. After a while, Mr. Awtar Singh came in, bowed to the Guru, and sat with me at the back of the Gurdwara, and kept me company.
This is what I saw: One Black skin and one Brown skin seated away from the "pure Whites." This was a shameful incident, which I recorded on video, should anyone want to see it. I also have an email posted by a Sangat member warning White, 3HO Sikhs to be careful of Brown, Punjabi Sikhs, should anyone want to see it.
This was my first experience in America meeting with such racism from those that claim to be Sikhs. -- (Tired of hearing about racism? Check this out.)
"People who are pretending to be asleep will resist being awakened
because they have something to lose by ending the charade."
"Looking at the one and only Black Family native to SDI/3HO/KRI
after 50 years from my perspective as a person of color I have to
ask, why are there so few Black Families? How many White Families
vs. Black Families are there after 50 years? Oh sure, there are a few
African-Americans, but they are disproportionately represented.
Think about the optics from the perspective of most people of color.
Do people of color see this disparity as a positive or as a negative?
And how many Black Kundalini Yoga teachers-trainers are there?
Isn't it time for there to be some serious mixed-race adult dialogue?
Detractors: Kindly answer questions before vilifying the messenger.
The key indicator that organizations have come of age is when steps
are taken to permit open dialogue on the issue with people of color.
BTW: When asked if one Black Family after 50 years is an issue
of concern, some Sikh Dharma ministers agreed. But when asked
why the issue is never discussed, they were unable to answer.
Discourse is not meant to stir up feelings of guilt. Discourse is
meant to drive people to action against injustice. Question is
are we mature enough to sit down and discuss issues
of tribalism, including race, religion, and gender?"
"3HO needs to reach out to people of color,
not expect people of color to find 3HO."
*"In 2013, the population of African Americans, including those of more than one race,
was estimated at 45 million, making up 15.2% of the total U.S. population." Source.
U.S. organizations should reflect about 15 African Americans out of every 100.
"Why do we discriminate? The big factor is not overt racism.
Rather, it seems to be unconscious bias among Whites who
believe in equality but act in ways that perpetuate inequality."
New York Times, April 2, 2016 -- Let’s start with a quiz. When researchers sent young Whites and Blacks out to interview for low-wage jobs in New York City armed with equivalent résumés, the result was:
A) Whites and Blacks were hired at similar rates?
B) Blacks had a modest edge because of affirmative action?
C) Whites were twice as likely to get callbacks?
The answer is C, and a Black applicant with a clean criminal record did no better than a White applicant who was said to have just been released from 18 months in prison.
A majority of Whites believe that job opportunities are equal for Whites and Blacks, according to a PBS poll, but rigorous studies show that just isn’t so. Back in 2014, I did a series of columns called “When Whites Just Don’t Get It” to draw attention to inequities, and I’m revisiting it because public attention to racial disparities seems to be flagging even as the issues are as grave as ever.
But let me first address some reproaches I’ve received from indignant Whites, including the very common: You would never write a column about Blacks not getting it, and it’s racist to pick on Whites. It’s true that I would be wary as a White person of lecturing to Blacks about race, but plenty of Black leaders (including President Obama) have bluntly spoken about shortcomings in the Black community.
Toni Morrison in her novels writes searingly about a Black world pummeled by discrimination but also by violence, drunkenness and broken families. In a CNN poll, 86 percent of Blacks said family breakdown was a reason for difficulties of African-Americans today, and 77 percent cited “lack of motivation and unwillingness to work hard.”
Frankly, the conversation within the Black community seems to me to be more mature and honest than the one among Whites, and considering how much of the White conversation about race invokes “personal responsibility,” maybe it’s time for Whites to show more.
Obama’s election reinforced a narrative that we’re making progress. We are in some ways, but the median Black household in America still has only 8 percent of the wealth of the median White household. And even for Blacks who have “made it” — whose incomes are in the upper half of American incomes — 60 percent of their children tumble back into the lower half in the next generation, according to a Federal Reserve study. If these trends continue, the Fed study noted,“Black Americans would make no further relative progress.”
Most of the public debate about race focuses on law enforcement. That’s understandable after the shootings of unarmed Blacks and after the U.S. Sentencing Commission found that Black men received sentences about 20 percent longer than White men for similar crimes. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Lead poisoning, for example, is more than twice as common among Black children as among White children, and in much of the country, it’s even worse than in Flint, Michigan.
Three generations after Brown v. Board of Education, American schools are still often separate and unequal. The average White or Asian-American student attends a school in at least the 60th percentile in test performance; the average Black student is at a school at the 37th percentile. One reason is an unjust school funding system that often directs the most resources to privileged students.
So if we’re going to address systemic disadvantage of Black children, we have to broaden the conversation to unequal education.
There’s a lot of loose talk among Whites about Black boys making bad decisions, but we fail these kids before they fail us. That’s unconscionable when, increasingly, we have robust evidence about the kinds of initiatives (like home visitation, prekindergarten and “career academies”) that reduce disparities.
Reasons for inequality involve not just institutions but also personal behaviors. These don’t all directly involve discrimination. For instance, Black babies are less likely to be breast-fed than White babies, are more likely to grow up with a single parent, and may be spoken to or read to less by their parents. But racial discrimination remains ubiquitous even in crucial spheres like jobs and housing. In one study, researchers sent thousands of résumés to employers with openings, randomly using some stereotypically Black names (like Jamal) and others that were more likely to belong to Whites (like Brendan). A White name increased the likelihood of a callback by 50 percent.
Likewise, in Canada researchers found that emails from stereotypically Black names seeking apartments are less likely to get responses from landlords. And in U.S. experiments, when Blacks and Whites go in person to rent or buy properties, Blacks are shown fewer options.
Something similar happens even with sales. Researchers offered iPods for sale online and found that when the photo showed the iPod held by a White hand, it received 21 percent more offers than when held by a Black hand. Discrimination is also pervasive in the white-collar world. Researchers found that White state legislators, Democrats and Republicans alike, were less likely to respond to a constituent letter signed with a stereotypically Black name. Even at universities, emails sent to professors from stereotypically Black names asking for a chance to discuss research possibilities received fewer responses.
Why do we discriminate? The big factor is not overt racism. Rather, it seems to be unconscious bias among Whites who believe in equality but act in ways that perpetuate inequality.
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, an eminent sociologist, calls this unconscious bias “racism without racists,” and we Whites should be less defensive about it. This bias affects Blacks as well as Whites, and we also have unconscious biases about gender, disability, body size and age. You can explore your own unconscious biases in a free online test, called the implicit association test. (Take the Harvard Project Implicit Test.)
One indication of how deeply rooted biases are: A rigorous study by economists found that even National Basketball Association (N.B.A.) referees were more likely to call fouls on players of another race. Something similar happens in baseball, with researchers finding that umpires calling strikes are biased against Black pitchers. If even professional referees and umpires are biased, can there be any hope for you and me as we navigate our daily lives? Actually, there is.
The N.B.A. study caused a furor (the league denied the bias), and a few years later there was a follow-up by the same economists, and the bias had disappeared. It seems that when we humans realize our biases, we can adjust and act in ways that are more fair. As the study’s authors put it, “Awareness reduces racial bias.” That’s why it’s so important for Whites to engage in these uncomfortable discussions of race, because we are (unintentionally) so much a part of the problem. It’s not that we’re evil, but that we’re human. The challenge is to recognize that unconscious bias afflicts us all — but that we just may be able to overcome it if we face it. -- Source.
"The human mind was created to discriminate, e.g., make choices between
up and down, in and out, black and white, etc. We must remain aware of our
tendency to use our discretionary abilities in order to marginalize and repress
people with whom we differ. We need to constantly see to it that we advocate
for pluralism and against tribalism in the interest of justice as taught by Guru
Nanak Dev Ji. Our choices are to live for each other, or to live at each other." HSB
"The human mind was created to discriminate, e.g., make choices between up and down, in and out, black and white, etc. We must remain aware of our tendency to use our discretionary abilities in order to marginalize and repress people with whom we differ. We need to constantly see to it that we advocate for pluralism and against tribalism in the interest of justice as taught by Guru Nanak Dev. Our choices are to live for each other, or to live at each other."
I received the following response from Singh Sahib Krishna Singh Khalsa, which is posted with his permission. --
My Sikh Sense
Krishna Singh Khalsa
Response to "Core Issue For Sikh Dharma"
Well said, Hari Singh.
You've described perfectly (above) the dialectic as to how the fiction and illusion of "race and racism" are fabricated by ruling classes to maintain power over the human "masses."
I've attached a brief scholarly article that systematically studies the historical case of how this was accomplished in just one period of time, after Bacon's Rebellion took place in the colony of Virginia in 1676. The rebellion was that of African and Anglo bond workers (page 6 of my .pdf) against the exploitation by their wealthy masters. This study was based on Theodore Allen's two volume series called, "The Invention of the White Race."
It seems to me we would all be further ahead by abandoning the fiction of "race" in our working terminology, and describe the real problem of elite oligarchies and their exploitative "dividing and conquering" of humanity into "mere masses." This humanity is generally, spiritually, only a "mass" (mess) because real spiritual knowledge has been withheld from them by powerful elites for many thousands of years.
I attached one brief portion of my own recent work, titled "The Cultural Revolution Initiated by Yogi Bhajan in 1968." Dr. Martin Luther King and Yogi Bhajan were both born in 1929, numerologically indicating they were born with gifts and inner human perfections of Everything. Dr. King began his Non-Violent Civil Rights revolution in the mid-fifties in Montgomery. He was assassinated in 1968 (and the entire tradition of official, political assassinations fits very clearly into this whole picture).
And so, in 1968 Yogi Bhajan arrived, "right on time" in the joint venture of Liberating Humanity that he shared with Dr. King. Yogi Bhajan had powerful visions of his own possible political assassination (by being dragged behind a jeep over logging roads, somewhere in the American outback where little, if any, real law enforcement exists). I discussed this at some length with Rev. C.T. Vivian in June, when he was here, in Espanola, to receive a Lifetime award at Peace Prayer Day 2015. (See Hari Singh's June 15, 2015 Letter To Dr. C.T. Vivian.)
Gurumukh Singh and I are working on a much tighter, edited version of what Rev. Vivian said at the Ranch dinner. The dinner was, of course, a wonderful social occasion. But this edit will include only what is relevant to Rev. Vivian's own core message, because he speaks quite powerfully and prophetically about the dire need for a "Spiritual Revolution" that includes all people and spiritual traditions as one. Otherwise, humanity is on a downward spiral toward its own inevitable destruction.
Rev. Vivian has been a mentor of mine since 1965. He was very close to Dr. King in the SCLC leadership, and he spent more than 18 months organizing in Selma before the famous marches were fully ready to happen. He also organized the Nashville Lunch Counter sit-ins, that Dr. King described as the most well organized single "movement" for civil rights up to that time. He was instrumental in organizing and participating in the Freedom Rider bus rides in the early '60s.
It is clear to me that the work of Dr. King and Yogi Bhajan are inextricable. Dr. King vividly portrayed the Why, and the How and the Power of Non-Violent Direct Action. And Yogi Bhajan provided all the keys (via Kundalini Yoga) for How and Why the internal, personal, self-evolution and self-sovereignty for all of humanity, with no exceptions or exclusions, must be accomplished. This is why he "broke the seals," violated the ancient "elitist contract" and released complete access to Kundalini Yoga for all of humanity, without exception or exclusion. "Diversity and Tolerance" was his personal, living rule, and he was the living example. I fail to see how anyone who "does not" practice this can call themselves his "student."
In this vein regarding Kundalini Yoga and Yogi Bhajan, I wrote the brief article above (on the Cultural Revolution he initiated in 1968).
This is part of the material I'll be presenting at an upcoming conference initiated by Jimmy Santiago Baca (the 2nd of a 3 year series) that intends to disrupt the so-called "School to Prison Pipeline", by engaging young people who are most at risk -- with Kundalini Yoga, Raj Yog Meditation, and creative skills enabling them to WRITE (or otherwise artistically express) their own destinies as a way out of the fate being designed for them to become permanent inmates in a privatized prison system. Since the emancipation from "Chattel Slavery" in 1865, so many other forms of slavery have been expanded or invented on vast scales.
We have "wage slavery," "drug addition slavery," "debt slavery," "information surveillance slavery," "permanent warfare slavery," "prison slavery," And other kinds are on the way, such as DNA slavery and embedded bio-slavery, to name two. As Yogi Bhajan wrote of himself in the first-person, he was also a "Prisoner of the Rib Cage" for all of the illusion and human attachments that are part and parcel of the human sensory condition.
Jimmy Baca grew up on the streets of southern New Mexico, virtually illiterate, and became a world-class writer and poet in solitary confinement, Florence Prison Arizona, in the 1970s. See his website JimmySantiagoBaca.com. Today he works tirelessly as a writer, and an activist and organizer on behalf of inmates and former inmates (and "possible future inmates") to see the transform the onerous systems of state sponsored torturous incarceration, here and around the world.
I hope you find this material useful and valuable. I'm also collaborating with Gurumukh Singh in this and other area of mutual interest.
Feel free to use any or all of it on your website.
"Khalsa does not apply exclusively to Sikhs. Sikhs must
ever be mindful of the human tendency to tribalism. Khalsa
includes ALL those who
contemplate the Lord; ALL those who
live by their inner purity and light; ALL
those who are pure of hear."
Sat Nam. I urge Americans to see the film, "Learning To Drive", starring Sir Ben Kingsley. Please check out this video as a primer.
PTI - Press Trust of India | New York August 21, 2015
Playing a soft-spoken Sikh cab driver in his latest movie, Sir Ben Kingsley has described the feeling of the turban on his head as "really gratifying" and termed the discrimination and racial abuse faced by the community in the U.S. as "totally regrettable".
Kingsley plays Darwan Singh Tur in the movie, 'Learning to Drive', releasing today, which also features Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Clarkson and 'Mississippi Masala' actress Sarita Choudhury.
Kingsley plays a soft-spoken and righteous cab driver, proud of his Sikh identity, who settles in New York after getting political asylum in t he country. Apart from working as a cab driver, Tur is also a driving instructor.
Kingsley said city-based social activist Harpreet Singh Toor provided valuable help during the shooting of the movie, telling him about the minute mannerisms of a Sikh and helping him tie the turban.
"To feel the tightness of (the turban) on my head was really gratifying. As Sikhs are warriors, I felt I was putting on my armour, which is a glorious feeling," Kingsley told a select group of media persons during an interaction here.
He said the Sikh community in New York was "very generous" during the filming of the movie and invited the crew to shoot scenes in the local Gurudwara (temple).
"The crew was so grateful to have had the opportunity to work there. The temple is a beautiful island of order, decency, worship and family in a sea of neurosis. It is a calm island in the middle of Queens," he said.
The movie also throws light on the persecution faced by the Sikh community in India, a reason that forces Kingsley's character to seek political asylum in the U.S.
It also touches upon the issue of discrimination and racial profiling faced by members of the Sikh community in America, particularly after 9/11.
"It is totally regrettable," Kingsley told PTI at the interaction when asked about the discrimination and racial abuse that members of the Sikh community continue to face, particularly in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
"The Sikh drivers after 9/11 turned off all their metres and were slowing down and asking people where is your loved one, I will help you find them. All the Sikh communities in New York are beautiful," he said, adding that, "it is a complete reversal of what they are stamped with." -- See Chardee Kalaa.
Sat Nam. God Bless America! Today we are witnessing one of the most important elections in the country's history - but things are not going well for the American people. The system is rigged and while efforts to change that are faltering, false hopes are also being raised. The results in November are painful to imagine.
I base my views partly on the work of Thomas Frank, digging into the guts of the Trump campaign, and also on the obvious and well-documented lack of mainstream media coverage being devoted to the courageous efforts of Bernie Sanders and his campaign to take back America from the .1%, the Super-Pacs, and the corporations.
To get quickly to the point, according to Frank's analysis, published the other day in his new book, Listen, Liberal: Or Whatever Happened to the Party of the People? and laid out very well in his CBC interview with Anna Maria Tremonti, the following are the big issues driving people to vote for Donald Trump in these primaries.
Unpopular Trade Deals - NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) between Canada, the US and Mexico moved hundreds of factories and hundreds of thousands of well-paying working class jobs to Mexico. The new so-called "Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement" will do more of the same on a bigger scale with twelve countries involved. Trump and Sanders are against both these deals and for the return of corporations and jobs to the US, while Bill Clinton signed the first deal and Hillary Clinton participated in making the second.
These deals are unpopular among regular people in all three countries who bear the brunt of these deals, and immensely popular with the economic and intellectual elites who either profit or feel no pain from them. Bear in mind that the next wave of unemployment (already started) is going to be from robotics. As automation makes more jobs redundant, the very rich are going to become even richer and the divide between the haves and have-nots bigger still.
The Democratic Party is No Longer for the Working Classes - The Democratic Party leadership today gets its money and inspiration from the elites on Wall Street, and in Big Pharma and the Silicon Valley, and cares little for the lives of ordinary workers.
Donald Trump Aligns Himself with the Working Poor and Middle Class - Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both speak to the great injustice these trade agreements have done to regular Americans. But Donald Trump gets the mainstream media attention, mostly for the wrong reasons, while Bernie Sanders does not.
If Elected, will Donald Trump really come through? Will he renegotiate or tear up these trade deals and return prosperity to the American people? Thomas Frank doesn't think so. Will Hillary Clinton do anything of the sort? Highly unlikely. The Democratic Party leadership is not interested.
Can Bernie Sanders still win the Democratic nomination? He could, but according to this analysis it would be difficult. Most polls show he would easily beat Donald Trump in an election with a wider margin than Clinton. But with the current media blackout, this is going to be hard and if more people come to grips with the real contrast between Clinton and Trump in terms of jobs and prosperity in America, in my view Trump might even win in a contest with her. (Just imagine the debates!) According to Frank, even Bill Clinton - who has won a few elections - believes the Hillary camp is in denial about the appeal of the Trump campaign.
Can anything be done? Other than prayer, my humble suggestion as a sympathetic neighbour is that voters make the Bernie Blackout a bigger campaign issue by picketing, boycotting, and otherwise bringing attention to how cable and network news and major print media are influencing this election campaign. And continue their vigorous support. Now is the time. --
Serve all without classification or discrimination. Discrimination means you have
reservation, which comes from fear, phobia, non-Infinity. Yogi Bhajan 6/11/1990
My Sikh Sense
Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa
Celebrating Farah Jindani
Sat Nam. It is not every day a person feels moved to "sing the praises" of a living person. Farah Jindani does not need your attention. I expect she will prefer to be left alone to do her work. Though she loves to teach and share her inspiration, much of Farah's work is quiet work she does on her own - writing, analyzing, and sometimes evaluating the work of others. I am not writing for Farah so much as to share with you her wonderful example of hard work, sadhana, and perseverance. While many of us will be commemorating Yogi Bhajan's birthday in the coming days (August 26), Farah today is taking the science of Kundalini Yoga, which he shared widely, and giving it academic credence and respectability. It is an important step toward having Kundalini Yoga accepted as a mainstream treatment for physical and mental disorders.
Farah Jindani was born in a small town in western Ontario. Her parents had immigrated from Tanzania and they worked as pharmacists with their own shop in little Dresden. Farah was the eldest of three sisters. Al-Meera and Yasmin would also grow up to serve in the field of health care, "Meera" as a physiotherapist and Yasmin as ophthalmologist.
Early in her life, Farah recognized the play of the forces of justice and injustice. With her excellent studying habits and discriminating intellect, she was able to earn a Master's degree in Criminology from Cambridge University. Returning home to Canada, and recognizing the societal roots of destructive behaviours, Farah earned another Master's degree, this one in Social Work, from the University of Toronto, where she made the Dean's list for her exceptional work.
Always using her intelligence and keen sense of social justice, Farah applied herself as a therapist and social worker in the Toronto area. She also involved herself in social welfare, education and research projects in Canada and as far away as Pakistan and Cambodia.
It was in Cambodia that Farah first found Kundalini Yoga, at Hannika and Tony's centre in Phnom Penh in 2009. When she returned to Toronto in early 2010, she looked for more classes and that is where she found me. Through the summer, as Farah deepened her connection with the yoga, she committed to a ten-month teacher training with Gurutej Kaur. By June 2011, Farah was herself a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher.
Under the influence of time, life, and her daily practice of Kundalini Yoga, Farah grew and evolved. She became engaged to her longtime friend Nizar, a cricket master, himself intent on a Masters degree in Athletics. She also firmed in her resolve to earn a PhD in Psychology. Farah decided as well what she would do as her thesis work: a study in the health benefits of Kundalini Yoga for people with posttraumatic stress.
To do the program, Farah contacted Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, an associate professor at Harvard University and expert in the field of yoga research. Not wanting to overburden her, Sat Bir suggested she do a study with eight participants. Sat Bir Singh also referred Farah to Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa in Espanola who eventually put together a schedule of particular Kundalini Yoga exercises to be practised by the participants in the study. By March 2012, Farah was set to go, only instead of recruiting just eight participants in her study, she interviewed and tested eighty!
The study went on for several months. Teachers and assistants to give the classes were also interviewed and trained in specifics of the program. Places to do the classes were found. Students came. Sometimes they got lost. The teachers were great. The students kept up as best they could. Somehow, everything came together.
Writing the thesis was another adventure, taking several months, while Farah continued her two part-time jobs as an addictions counsellor and professor of social work. Putting the thesis together involved more testing and interviews as the participants finished the program, then economically transcribing the interviews in Pakistan, and assessing and analyzing the results - thousands of hours of dedicated, mostly solitary work.
Farah's solid work ethic, her sadhana, her faith in God and herself, and the unswerving support of her family and fiance, kept her going. Sometimes miracles were clearly in play, like the time Farah was emailing her academic advisor that she had been unable to find a suitable external examiner, a scholar with expertise in her field from another university. Just as she was typing the email, she received a call from Richard Brown, a distinguished researcher from Columbia University, who proved to be a great support and happily offered to serve at her oral examination. Nizar also earned his degree and they married within weeks of Farah earning hers in August 2013. (Yes, it's anniversary time!)
Let us all celebrate Dr. Farah Jindani's dedication and humble efforts to further the science of body, mind and spirit. May God bless her family and grant her many years of health and happiness by Its all-enfolding grace... -- Source.