Sikh Woman School Reddit User
#1
One of my friends linked to this story on Facebook, and I was impressed by this young woman and her response to the internet troll trying to make fun of her.  I'm not entirely sure where to post this since it touches on one of the big discussion topics on FE lately, but since it involves a Sikh, I'll put it here.  Follow the link to the entire story and photo:

http://jezebel.com/5946643/reddit-users-...y-schooled

Reddit Users Attempt to Shame Sikh Woman, Get Righteously Schooled

Quote:A Reddit user going by the handle "european_douchebag" posted a surreptitious photo of a Sikh woman with the caption "i'm not sure what to conclude from this." The user's apparent confusion stems from the fact that the woman—bound by her religion not to cut her hair or alter her body—has an abundance of dark, untrimmed facial hair. The mind of european_douchebag was SO INCREDIBLY BLOWN by the fact that women have hair on their bodies—and, yes, faces—and that some women are bold, self-assured, and pious enough not to cave to western beauty standards (and gender expectations), there was nothing for him to do but post her photo online and wait for the abuse to flood in.

But then something totally lovely and unexpected happened. The woman in the photo responded:

    Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I actually didn't know about this until one of my friends told on facebook. If the OP wanted a picture, they could have just asked and I could have smiled Smile However, I'm not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it's who I am. Yes, I'm a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn't reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying 'mine, mine' and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn't important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. :-) So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello. I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I've gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this. Also, the yoga pants are quite comfortable and the Better Together tshirt is actually from Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that focuses on storytelling and engagement between different faiths. Smile I hope this explains everything a bit more, and I apologize for causing such confusion and uttering anything that hurt anyone.

And then, THEN, something even more miraculous happened—the original poster apologized:

    I know that this post ISN'T a funny post but I felt the need to apologize to the Sikhs, Balpreet, and anyone else I offended when I posted that picture. Put simply it was stupid. Making fun of people is funny to some but incredibly degrading to the people you're making fun of. It was an incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant thing to post.

    /r/Funny wasn't the proper place to post this. Maybe /r/racism or /r/douchebagsofreddit or /r/intolerance would have been more appropriate. Reddit shouldn't be about putting people down, but a group of people sending cool, interesting, or funny things. Reddit's been in the news alot lately about a lot of cool things we've done, like a freaking AMA by the president. I'm sorry for being the part of reddit that is intolerant and douchebaggy. This isn't 4chan, or 9gag, or some other stupid website where people post things like I did. It's fucking reddit. Where some pretty amazing stuff has happened.

    I've read more about the Sikh faith and it was actually really interesting. It makes a whole lot of sense to work on having a legacy and not worrying about what you look like. I made that post for stupid internet points and I was ignorant.

    So reddit I'm sorry for being an asshole and for giving you negative publicity.
    Balpreet, I'm sorry for being a closed minded individual. You are a much better person than I am
    Sikhs, I'm sorry for insulting your culture and way of life.
    Balpreet's faith in what she believes is astounding.

Some thoughts:

1) She gave the troll such a gentle, graceful answer that he was moved to repentance. How often are Catholics able to accomplish this? It reminded me of one of my favorite proverbs:

Proverbs 15:1-2 "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly."

2) She explained "However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn't reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying 'mine, mine' and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us."

How does this compare with the Catholic view?  We believe that the body is a temple of the Spirit and not entirely our own to shape as we please. How does one distinguish between cases where one should just accept what they've been given and offer up their suffering and where we are allowed to use medicine and procedures to attempt to restore wholeness and health?  What about, for example, invasive, life-prolonging procedures for people who will most likely just die in a few years of something worse anyway?
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#2
I misspelled the Subject. It should say "Schools", not "School".  Doh!
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#3
Thanks for this, Iona Scribe.  It is a great story.
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#4
That's a pretty great story.

The Sikh view, as expressed here (I'm not that familiar with their, though the largest Sikh temple outside of Punjab is within 2 miles of me right now, and I can attest that they make good neighbors) is not really compatible with the Catholic view.  It is, really, the opposite error of the secular world we live in now.  To the secularist, the physical body and this life is all there is; to the mind-body dualist, the physical body and this life are empty.  The Catholic view is that our bodies are real, and important, though not all important as the materialist would have it.  But it is really refreshing in this day and age to see somebody stand up to the status quo errors, even if it is with an opposite and equal error.  I can hardly imagine what our society would be like if Catholics stood for the Faith with such a combination of firmness and gentleness!
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#5
I liked this story too, but, I can't help shake the thought that had this person been Christian, specificaly Catholic, this might have gone a different way.
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#6
Yes, I thought it was refreshing too. She was just so secure in her values and in who God made her to be that the guy's mean-spiritedness didn't even faze her. Thanks, Parmandur for the insights into Sikhism.

Ha, yeah, I fear that a Catholic wouldn't have been so well received. Still, it's something to aspire to. Sometimes I think God allows false religions to exist in order to remind us to be on our best behavior.
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#7
Wow! This story is amazing! What a good example that woman was, of how to defend your faith without foaming with indignation. Much more effective.  Smile And Way to go! to the guy for apologizing!  Makes you think that there's still some hope for modern society.  Thanks for posting this, iona_scribe!
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#8
cannot alter their bodies... hmmm...

you guys all know that those knives all sikh men carry, once drawn, cannot be resheathed according to their beliefs unless blood is drawn with tjem.
if they are drawn in error, a sikh will cut himself before resheathing his kukri. is this not self-mutilation?
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#9
That's probably why they keep them sheathed too.

What does reddit mean ?

tim
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#10
(06-16-2013, 08:48 AM)Gods Pitbull Wrote: cannot alter their bodies... hmmm...

you guys all know that those knives all sikh men carry, once drawn, cannot be resheathed according to their beliefs unless blood is drawn with tjem.
if they are drawn in error, a sikh will cut himself before resheathing his kukri. is this not self-mutilation?

Well, that's not cosmetic vanity.  That's a discipline to teach a man to think before he acts.
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