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6.26.2017

Idiot air passenger fears Sikh man is a terrorist

These snaps should give you a sense of what it's like for anyone who appears to be Muslim to travel by plane.



The thing about commercial air travel is that you never know what kind of weird or awful or questionable people you're going to be forced to fly with. For instance, this recent flight where a Sikh man boarded the plane. No, I'm not calling the Sikh passenger weird or awful or questionable. I'm talking about the asshole who freaked out over the sight of a guy with a turban and beard and broadcast his racist assumptions on social media.

Because a guy who looks like that could definitely be a terrorist, right? This jerk recently documented his ridiculous prejudice and paranoia on Snapchat, posting photos of the Sikh passenger seated nearby, taken surreptitiously over the course of the flight, chronicling his activities with fearful commentary like, "Please god just let the man sleep" and "Ok he just walk to the back of the Plane then to the front then to his seat."

Screen grabs of the Snapchat posts were shared on social media by educator and activist Simran Jeet Singh, who is also Sikh and is all too familiar with the "uncomfortable stares" of fellow passengers in an era of heightened Islamophobia. And yet Singh tries to show compassion even when faced with such ignorance.

"This series of snaps should give you a sense of what it's like for anyone who appears to be Muslim to travel by plane," Singh wrote in a series of tweets. "As a Sikh who flies frequently, I'm no stranger to the uncomfortable stares and misguided fears people have of me."









Sikhs, Arabs and South Asians have all felt the heavy scrutiny of "flying while brown" in the post-September 11 era. While Sikhs are not Muslims -- honestly, any reasonably educated person should know this -- they are often mistaken for Muslims and are targets of discrimination and violence, presumably because of their appearance. Sikhs wear turbans and grow beards in accordance with their faith. Unfortunately, ignorant folks like Brad Snapchat have somehow got it into their heads that this is what a possible terrorist looks like.

But even if the passenger in question was actually Muslim, this shit would be not be acceptable either. Put down your phone, stop acting like a shitty ignorant American, and learn something.