UPS: What If Your Name Really Was Terro R Ist?

Two steps forward and one step back. Just when you think we’ve made some progress in terms of creating awareness about who we are as Sikhs, you hear of incidents like this.Here’s the story on NBC’s KGET.

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A Bakersfield family says they were discriminated against by a UPS driver. Their neighbor e-mailed 17 News after he says the driver wrote a derogatory term on a tracking slip while dropping off a package.

Anant Singh says his father is a member of the Sikh religion and wears a turban. When his father signed for a UPS package last week, the driver asked for his signature as usual, the younger Singh said.

But the family calls what they found on the tracking slip days later both hurtful and upsetting.

I just happened to see it said signed by the word “terrorist.” So I was amazed. I printed the paper and read it again, and it said signed by a “terrorist,” Singh explained.

….

It suddenly struck me, oh my dad was wearing a turban. He wears a turban and belongs to Sikh religion, Singh said.

Singh says after September 11 some Americans began to associate turbans with terrorists.

Whether the guy belongs to Islam or Sikh or to any religion, looking at his physically appearance you should not make judgments, Singh said.

Singhs neighbor and friend emailed 17 News after he saw the tracking slip for himself.

Somebody is practicing their religion you can’t label them as a terrorist because they look like a Muslim or a Sikh to you, friend Teg Sidhu said. (Link)

While UPS has apologized for the event, more must to be done to ensure actions like this are not tolerated.

“UPS regrets that inappropriate action was taken to enter a name into our delivery records after a recipient signed for a package. We sincerely apologize to our customer for any offense. Documentation noted in our tracking network has been removed.” (same as first source above)

UPS’s own policy book states the following on human rights:

We recognize our responsibility to ensure that human rights are respected and protected in the workplace. We will seek to protect those rights in our business sphere of influence. (Link)

As UPS’s workplace extends to their delivery points, this incident plainly brakes the rules. The driver responsible for this stupid practical joke needs to be disciplined but also educated on the Sikhs. If he’s working in Bakersfield, he will like be dealing with Sikhs in the future. If I’m living there, I’d like some comfort from UPS that my grandfather isn’t going to be harassed if he happens to open the front door to sign for package.

Hopefully, one of our Sikh organizations can reach out to UPS and offer some cultural/religious education for their employees, preferably at a national scale.


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3 Responses to “UPS: What If Your Name Really Was Terro R Ist?”

  1. sizzle says:

    this story has now been covered on http://www.fark.com and http://www.digg.com, yielding a good number of comments. the comments at those sites are typically more enlightened than comments at actual newspapers or news sites, as the readers and commenters tend to be far more educated (geeky) and progressive than your typical average reader/commenter at a primary online news source. thus, whenever a an article concerning Sikh issues pops up, its fun to peruse the comments to get a sense of empathy and reactions.

    such comments, in and of themselves, aren't super enlightening. they are relative and require some degree of context. so if you go back to the digg and fark story links regarding the african american muslim woman who was jailed for not taking off her hijab at a georgia court room a couple weeks ago, the reactions are disturbing. the comments on the sites generally demonstrate a sense of good will and positive reaction towards Sikhs and Sikh issues, while comments and reactions towards Muslims are a bit more even keel or negative. thus, i can't say for sure if the comments would have been different had a Sikh been jailed for wearing a turban at a metal detector rather than a Muslim in a hijab even though the issue is identical.

    i mention this because had that case involved a Sikh, and had the comments been just as negative towards the Sikh as they were towards the Muslim, i'd be a bit concerned. the attitudes, overwhelmingly, reflected a sentiment towards a "freedom from religion" that the French courts have adopted – if the general rules say no head coverings, then you can't wear a head covering, religion be damned. thus far, in the united states, it is perfectly legal and acceptable to wear a head covering in a courtroom if it is for genuine religious purposes. the supreme court has ruled as such. there is no legal threat to the woman in the hijab or the sikh wearing a turban in such a scenario but for the burden of making such a case to an ignorant and abusive judge (it's happened a few times in the last few years in several states). however, in the battle of public perception and recognition of this very fundamental right, it seems that we'd lose the battle if the generally enlightened attitudes at these sites is any indication. and, quite frankly, at this point in history and politics, we should be primarily concerned with the battle of public perception and recognition.

    anyways, check it out. it's worth a gander and a bit of reflection. perhaps one of the bloggers at this site, via a post, can provide specifics details, links and a more thorough analysis of this very interesting thought experiment if they so found the time.

  2. sizzle says:

    this story has now been covered on http://www.fark.com and http://www.digg.com, yielding a good number of comments. the comments at those sites are typically more enlightened than comments at actual newspapers or news sites, as the readers and commenters tend to be far more educated (geeky) and progressive than your typical average reader/commenter at a primary online news source. thus, whenever a an article concerning Sikh issues pops up, its fun to peruse the comments to get a sense of empathy and reactions.

    such comments, in and of themselves, aren’t super enlightening. they are relative and require some degree of context. so if you go back to the digg and fark story links regarding the african american muslim woman who was jailed for not taking off her hijab at a georgia court room a couple weeks ago, the reactions are disturbing. the comments on the sites generally demonstrate a sense of good will and positive reaction towards Sikhs and Sikh issues, while comments and reactions towards Muslims are a bit more even keel or negative. thus, i can’t say for sure if the comments would have been different had a Sikh been jailed for wearing a turban at a metal detector rather than a Muslim in a hijab even though the issue is identical.

    i mention this because had that case involved a Sikh, and had the comments been just as negative towards the Sikh as they were towards the Muslim, i’d be a bit concerned. the attitudes, overwhelmingly, reflected a sentiment towards a “freedom from religion” that the French courts have adopted – if the general rules say no head coverings, then you can’t wear a head covering, religion be damned. thus far, in the united states, it is perfectly legal and acceptable to wear a head covering in a courtroom if it is for genuine religious purposes. the supreme court has ruled as such. there is no legal threat to the woman in the hijab or the sikh wearing a turban in such a scenario but for the burden of making such a case to an ignorant and abusive judge (it’s happened a few times in the last few years in several states). however, in the battle of public perception and recognition of this very fundamental right, it seems that we’d lose the battle if the generally enlightened attitudes at these sites is any indication. and, quite frankly, at this point in history and politics, we should be primarily concerned with the battle of public perception and recognition.

    anyways, check it out. it’s worth a gander and a bit of reflection. perhaps one of the bloggers at this site, via a post, can provide specifics details, links and a more thorough analysis of this very interesting thought experiment if they so found the time.

  3. rushessays says:

    This story was in the gossip on media channels for a long time but then suddenly it went off the news. This story is full with the suspense but we should avoid such crimes and avoid these types of peoples.