A comedic video educating Americans about the Sikh religion and the significance of the turban is gaining traction on social media.
The light-hearted video, “Diversity Day,” is made by the National Sikh Campaign in partnership with the digital comedic powerhouse, Funny or Die. It features Sikh Americans Sandy Kaur and Babbu Beard.
The opening shot of the video shows a group of people being led by a speaker discussing about O.D.M.U.S.A.B.A.W (Our differences make us strong and beautiful and wonderful). The speaker then goes on to ask if anyone would like to share their experiences about diversity in the workplace, before pointing at Harpreet, aka Happy (Babbu), who is wearing a blue turban.
Happy goes on to explain what the Sikh religion stands for and its beliefs. The back and forth between Happy and the speaker, who’s struggling to be politically correct, create light humor.
“I imagine your experiences with diversity probably revolve around the round, your…,” the speaker says while motioning to his turban. Happy clarifies that she can call it a turban.
“Yeah! Totally! That’s what we call it. It actually represents how we stand up against injustice,” Happy says.
(Kaur) explains why she doesn’t wear a turban, adding not wearing one doesn’t affect her faith in any way.
“Many Sikh women don’t wear a turban but that doesn’t change my faith…I’m a Sikh and gender and racial equality are core values of our religion,” Kaur says.
When the speaker, clearly fascinated by the turban, says, “It’s pretty cool. Maybe I should start rocking one,” Kaur interjects, “Or you could come to the gurudwara or Sikh temple on Sunday for service and you don’t have to be Sikh and you can get free food.”
“The Sikh turban is a symbol of religious and gender equality and worn as a declaration to stand up for injustice for all people. Due to ignorance of this most important feature of Sikhism, Sikhs and their young ones face negative and sometime hostile environment,” said Anjleen Kaur, executive director of the National Sikh Campaign and We Are Sikhs.
She added, “Working together with the phenomenal team at Funny or Die has been a hilarious adventure in helping eliminate ignorance through educating America’s youth.”
Gurwin Singh Ahuja, executive director of the National Sikh Campaign, said: “The video has also garnered support from high-profile American civil rights groups such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Center for American Progress, Rock the Vote, the Woman’s March as well as Sikh Instagram influencers.”
Ahuja added that this video is targeted towards millennials and Gen Z.
“It is critical for us to engage the younger people to help spread the message and help create a better environment for our youth,” he said.
“I was born and raised in a Sikh household with a turban wearing father and like many other first-generation Americans, I felt as though the world didn’t really understand me or my faith,” said Hans Sahni, director of the video. “We purposefully cast male and female Sikh cast members versus well-known actors for ‘Diversity Day’ as we wanted to portray what everyday life is like for Sikh Americans who are too often victims of harassment and bullying. I feel like this project, and everything the We Are Sikhs campaign is doing, can help today’s young people feel more comfortable, accepted and open in a way that I didn’t get to be.”
According to the National Sikh Campaign, a majority of Sikh Americans experience harassment and the numbers are worse for turbaned Sikh children: over two-thirds experience bullying. We are Sikhs said it believes that the antidote to intolerance is education and dialogue.
Watch the video here: