Sikh woman inspires apology after being mocked online
This photo, surreptitiously taken and posted to Reddit on September 21, 2012, shows Sikh student Balpreet Kaur waiting in a lineup at her college. The photo received a slew of online comments, including one from Kaur herself.
Published Thursday, September 27, 2012 8:49AM EDT
A Reddit user who thought he would get a few laughs out of posting a picture of a Sikh woman with facial hair ended up getting a little piece of enlightenment instead.
On Sept. 21, a user posted a picture of a young woman on a U.S. college campus who appears to be texting, while carrying a knapsack and waiting in a line at a coffee shop. Like many young women, she sports flip flops, yoga pants, and a T-shirt that says “Better Together.” But she also sports a turban, moustache and goatee, the apparent objects of the user’s mockery.
“I’m not sure what to conclude from this,” he wrote in the post.
Amazingly, the woman in the picture heard about the photo through Facebook, then looked up the Reddit post and responded herself.
“I'm not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positive] that this picture is getting because, it's who I am,” wrote Balpreet Kaur. “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.”
Kaur went on to explain that her faith requires her to focus on working on herself as a person rather than concentrating on her physical appearance.
“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,” she wrote.
But in a stunning about-face, the user responded himself, apologizing for trying to score ‘easy Internet points’ and admitting the post was childish and ignorant.
“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,” the user wrote in a new post on Sept. 25. “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.”
He went on to say he had read more about the Sikh faith after had been inspired after reading Kaur’s response.
A love-fest of comments ensued, praising both Kaur for her dignified and inspiring response, as well as the original poster for his heartfelt apology.
“Thanks for remind me that the people I see online are REAL PEOPLE with feelings,” wrote one user.
Another user called Kaur a “complete inspiration” and said she had been inspired to refocus her life on personal relationships.
By Thursday, the thread contained more than 1,200 comments and had spawned conversations on a number of other online outlets which praised both parties for renewing faith in the quality of online dialogue.