WAS SUN ARTICLE RACIST?
After sending out yesterday to my email list, the hate comments which appeared in the December 15, 2007 edition of the Vancouver Sun, directed at the gay community by Balwant Singh Gill, a prominent member of the Sikh, Punjabi and South Asian community, I have wound up on another e-list with a number of South Asian community members and leaders.
I will not publish their comments since I suspect they are not at this time, meant for public consumption.
The general thrust of the statements suggest that the Sun article in which Balwant Singh Gill is quoted, is racist. While a number of posters (not to be confused with comments submitted on my blog) are expressing their displeasure at Mr. Balwant Singh Gill, they have gone on the offensive claiming the article exposes immigrants as eroding Canadian/Western values.
It is troubling that members of the South Asian community are going on the attack, claiming racism.
The story is that Mr. Balwant Singh Gill, a leader of the Sikh community has directed hate at the GLBT community, which it needs pointing out, at no time has the gay community ever been oppressive toward the population he belongs to. Sadly now, young brown boys will justify beating on Queer people since their Leader has projected this intolerance.
The hate comment again has to be restated.
Mr. Balwant Singh Gill says and I quote, " I hate homosexuality, most Sikhs believe it unnatural and no major religion allows it".
While a number of members from the South Asian community go on the offensive claiming they are victims of racist attitudes, which, in many cases is true, the quotes attributed to Mr. Balwant Singh Gill specifically single out the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community for hate.
And let's call a spade a spade here.
It's no secret in the gay community that many young Sikh members have come down to the Davie Village, beating up on gay people. This intolerance no doubt is fuelled by leaders such as Mr. Balwant Singh Gill who sends out the message that it's ok to beat up fags.
This is deeply troubling, considering the Sikh, Punjabi and South Asian community has encountered the same oppression that the gay community. As a result they should be friends and allies to the GLBT community. Their actions and statements though demonstrate otherwise.
They fight for equality, yet believe it ok to trample on our equality rights. Sadly, they project this under the guise of their fundamental beliefs and that is truly offensive.
My community is getting tired of the intolerance that we endure. Our community has come under fire from many groups of faith and traditionally these groups are made up of new immigrants. Too often they have stated our Western way of life is against God's will and this type of religious dogma must stop.
Sadly, I had hoped that progressive members of the South Asian community would stand in solidarity with the gay community, regarding the statements made by one of their leaders, however, the conversations I'm witnessing suggests they are having difficulty.
While they state, they find Mr. Balwant Singh Gill's comments objectionable, no Sikh, Punjabi or South Asian leaders have stepped forward to publicly denounce Mr. Balwant Singh Gill.
No question, my commentary will add fuel to the fire and I'm certain that a few misguided activists will brand me racist, however, I know otherwise and I will not allow the fear of being assailed stop me from expressing my opinions.
To those in the South Asian community, while you fear that any protests initiated within the grounds of your Temples are unfair and not supportable, your reasoning is perplexing.
There is no better place to educate than at the Temples. It needs pointing out that Mr. Balwant Singh Gill is spokesperson for 39 Temples and this is why a rally outside the temple should be considered.
Your community must be willing to hold accountable those in your community who spew hate.
Jamie Lee Hamilton