Raghead, really? Enough is Enough. Time to Mobilize

jakie.jpgI don’t believe I agree with much of anything when it comes to Nikki Haley’s politics. Nimrata Randhawa (her name before marriage) is currently a Republican gubernatorial candidate in the South Carolina. Again, I don’t care for her political positions, endorsements, that she converted to Christianity, or even if allegations are true that she had an illicit affair. Despite this, recent comments made by a Republic state senator – Jake Knotts – has me standing together with her about the problem with South Carolina politics in particular, but the general direction of American political discourse.

I have been called a ‘raghead’ for so long that I can’t remember. Now Jake Knotts felt it was okay to bring that type of hateful rhetoric in the public sphere. During the 2008 presidential elections, I wrote repeatedly about why Americans of all stripes, but especially Sikhs must stand together against the Muslimophobia (wrongly called Islamophobia) that was entering American political discourse. Now we see the effects for those that remain silent.

Although Jake Knotts has backtracked from the comments, it is not enough:

Republican state Sen. Jake Knotts later apologized for the slur, saying the remarks about President Barack Obama and state Rep. Nikki Haley were meant as a joke.

They came on Internet political talk show, Pub Politics. Co-host Phil Bailey said Knotts said, “We’ve already got a raghead in the White House, we don’t need another raghead in the governor’s mansion.”

No audio was available because of a technical problem, Bailey said.

“If it had been recorded, the public would be able to hear firsthand that my ‘raghead’ comments about Obama and Haley were intended in jest,” Knotts said in his statement. “Bear in mind that this is a freewheeling, anything-goes Internet radio show that is broadcast from a pub. It’s like local political version of Saturday Night Live, which is actually where the joke came from.”[link]

Such ‘jokes’ have no place in the American public discourse and should be condemned by all. South Carolina Republicans have already moved to distance themselves from the comments. I hope that ALL Sikh groups (Saldef, Sikh Coalition, are you listening??? Get on this), South Asian groups, Muslim groups, and just like-minded people come together to call for a real apology from Jake Knotts and not just some justification that it was just a joke.

You can email Jake Knotts a message directly here. Keep it clean AND professional!

Handled well, this may just be one of those ‘teaching moments’ beneficial for the whole country.

Below the fold, you will find the email that I sent. Feel free to use it, edit it, or right your own. Just make sure you do it!

Let’s make them hear us:

Dear Senator John Knotts Jr.,
I found your recent comments in reference to both President Obama and Republican gubernatorial candidate, Nikki Haley, in extreme bad taste. Your comments reek of racism, ignorance, and hate. While you may have believed your comments were only made in jest, such words have real-life implications and have no place in the public discourse in America.
As a respected state Senator, you bear the burden of holding high the dignity of your office. Your recent comments were shameful. Your subsequent justification, instead of an actual apology, is even more contemptible.
I hope sir that you will completely repudiate, unequivocally, your comments and advocate greater understanding amongst all Americans.
Sincerely,

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30 Responses to “Raghead, really? Enough is Enough. Time to Mobilize”

  1. Suki Dillon says:

    If Nikki Haley would win that would mean we would have 2 southern american governors of punjabi background. But since both Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal don't talk about being proud to be punjabi 24/7[Something way too many punjabi's do] they not good enough many other punjabi's in the West. Do Norweigan Americans judge Karl Rove or Italians Americans judge Nancy Pelosi on how they are.

    Last time I checked both Haley and Jindal are American first.

  2. Jodha says:

    @Suki

    No one on this website has ever accused Nikki of any of those things you listed. Your attempt at bringing up comments by others and then trying to mix them with the opinions of the bloggers on this site is disingenuous. Again, nobody on The Langar Hall has ever made any such comments in the past about Mrs. Haley or even Bobby Jindal.

    I haven't written about Nikki Haley, because I disagree with much of her politics. For other bloggers, they probably have their own reason.

    Many of the bloggers are American. Thus we comment on American politics. However, this blog does have Sikh lens (that is the intended perspective and audience) and Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley have both rejected Sikhi. They may have their reasons for doing so. That is their choice. But it is my choice whether I wish to write about them or not. Same goes for the rest of the bloggers.

    Finally, as you are a concerned American, I find it troubling that you too would be dismissive of the comment as just a 'stupid joke'. As an American, I would suppose you would also hope for the best out of the political representatives and hold them accountable. Instead, you are trying to hijack the thread with your personal gripes that are irrelevant to the issue.

  3. Suki Dillon says:

    If Nikki Haley would win that would mean we would have 2 southern american governors of punjabi background. But since both Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal don't talk about being proud to be punjabi 24/7[Something way too many punjabi's do] they not good enough many other punjabi's in the West. Do Norweigan Americans judge Karl Rove or Italians Americans judge Nancy Pelosi on how they are.

    Last time I checked both Haley and Jindal are American first.

  4. Suki Dillon says:

    Jodha I said other south asian blogs have bashed Nikki Haley whenever her name comes up, alot of them attack her for not being brown enough.

    I don't know if Langar hall has done a post by Nikki Haley. But I bet if you or one of the other bloggers had done a post about Mrs.Haley alot of the comments would be very negative and not all that different from from the comments last week about the sikh women who married the jewish man which were very negative. And I did say the comments made by Jake Knotts were beyond stupid.

  5. Jodha says:

    @Suki

    No one on this website has ever accused Nikki of any of those things you listed. Your attempt at bringing up comments by others and then trying to mix them with the opinions of the bloggers on this site is disingenuous. Again, nobody on The Langar Hall has ever made any such comments in the past about Mrs. Haley or even Bobby Jindal.

    I haven't written about Nikki Haley, because I disagree with much of her politics. For other bloggers, they probably have their own reason.

    Many of the bloggers are American. Thus we comment on American politics. However, this blog does have Sikh lens (that is the intended perspective and audience) and Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley have both rejected Sikhi. They may have their reasons for doing so. That is their choice. But it is my choice whether I wish to write about them or not. Same goes for the rest of the bloggers.

    Finally, as you are a concerned American, I find it troubling that you too would be dismissive of the comment as just a 'stupid joke'. As an American, I would suppose you would also hope for the best out of the political representatives and hold them accountable. Instead, you are trying to hijack the thread with your personal gripes that are irrelevant to the issue.

  6. Harjap says:

    Time for you Yankee Sikhs to accept a reality..USA may be the land of Honey and rich, but it is insular, pro white and the most racist western power in the world…I have noticed how all the mixed communitioes are on the coast, whilst middle america is KKK style…

  7. Harjap says:

    strangley you say they are american first , but on the section called about Punjab on punjabizm.com Jindel is listed as a famous Punjabi!!

  8. Harjap says:

    Time for you Yankee Sikhs to accept a reality..USA may be the land of Honey and rich, but it is insular, pro white and the most racist western power in the world…I have noticed how all the mixed communitioes are on the coast, whilst middle america is KKK style…

  9. Harjap says:

    strangley you say they are american first , but on the section called about Punjab on punjabizm.com Jindel is listed as a famous Punjabi!!

  10. Bik says:

    Does she need defending? How is it that we are quick to defend her yet she is someone who has rejected Sikhi as well as her Punjabi background. No doubt were it possible she would have bleached her skin to make her transformation complete. What is important is what she has done for Sikhs or Punjabi. Other communities care enough for their religion to reject the person who has rejected their religion but us Sikhs we go hyper because she has had some white guy chose to attack her background. Maybe this will show her how important religion and background is

  11. Jodha says:

    @Bik

    Do you ever bother to read the post or other comments before chiming in?

    Who is 'defending' her as such? She doesn't need others to defend her. She can defend herself.

    I am just pointing out that the usage of that kind of language and racial epithets in the American political discourse is wrong and should be condemned.

  12. Rajinder Singh Virk says:

    Well what's the harm,in india punjabi/sikhs use racial/ethnic epithets everyday.In usa they use deragatory language in reference to blacks,latinos andother minority groups.On this blog I have seen language used that can put a sailor to shame,used against hindus,muslims and christians and it is ok. by the administrators.So come on dont be so thin skinned,being called a raghead is not the end of the world,granted it is not sophisticated but its not illegal.

  13. Bik says:

    Does she need defending? How is it that we are quick to defend her yet she is someone who has rejected Sikhi as well as her Punjabi background. No doubt were it possible she would have bleached her skin to make her transformation complete. What is important is what she has done for Sikhs or Punjabi. Other communities care enough for their religion to reject the person who has rejected their religion but us Sikhs we go hyper because she has had some white guy chose to attack her background. Maybe this will show her how important religion and background is

  14. Jodha says:

    @Bik

    Do you ever bother to read the post or other comments before chiming in?

    Who is 'defending' her as such? She doesn't need others to defend her. She can defend herself.

    I am just pointing out that the usage of that kind of language and racial epithets in the American political discourse is wrong and should be condemned.

  15. Rajinder Singh Virk says:

    Well what's the harm,in india punjabi/sikhs use racial/ethnic epithets everyday.In usa they use deragatory language in reference to blacks,latinos andother minority groups.On this blog I have seen language used that can put a sailor to shame,used against hindus,muslims and christians and it is ok. by the administrators.So come on dont be so thin skinned,being called a raghead is not the end of the world,granted it is not sophisticated but its not illegal.

  16. A. Singh says:

    I despise that word used towards anybody, Sikhs in particular.

    Jodha, that was a good email you sent. Doubt that it is going to change the senators perception, but atleast it will put him on blast for a bit.

    On a side note I dont feel Nikki Haley displays any teachings, or connections to Sikhism. I actually felt worse that the president was called raghead then nikki was,

  17. A. Singh says:

    I despise that word used towards anybody, Sikhs in particular.

    Jodha, that was a good email you sent. Doubt that it is going to change the senators perception, but atleast it will put him on blast for a bit.

    On a side note I dont feel Nikki Haley displays any teachings, or connections to Sikhism. I actually felt worse that the president was called raghead then nikki was,

  18. Harinder says:

    Punjabs Raghead terminology

    1) Bihari :— "BHAYYA"
    2) Sechdule caste :—"CHUDA"
    3) Khatri :—" BHAPPA"
    4) Jatt :– "JATTAC"
    5) African :–"HABSHI"
    6) South Indian : "TAMBI / ELAD"

    Do we have the right ot CRIB ?
    Those who live in glass house must not throw stone at others.

  19. Harinder says:

    Punjabs Raghead terminology

    1) Bihari :— "BHAYYA"
    2) Sechdule caste :—"CHUDA"
    3) Khatri :—" BHAPPA"
    4) Jatt :– "JATTAC"
    5) African :–"HABSHI"
    6) South Indian : "TAMBI / ELAD"

    Do we have the right ot CRIB ?
    Those who live in glass house must not throw stone at others.

  20. Rajinder Singh says:

    Oil Spills and Jakie Knotts is what you get when you skip Fluid Dynamics to attend Band Class.

    Mrs Haley and Mr. Knotts are professional politicians. They will somehow manage. But Knotts is a bone head to try this. This doesnt even come close to my first grade experience. While I'm singing Mary had a Little Lamb, the Mary of my class kept calling me bun-bun for half a year! lol.

  21. Rajinder Singh says:

    Oil Spills and Jakie Knotts is what you get when you skip Fluid Dynamics to attend Band Class.

    Mrs Haley and Mr. Knotts are professional politicians. They will somehow manage. But Knotts is a bone head to try this. This doesnt even come close to my first grade experience. While I'm singing Mary had a Little Lamb, the Mary of my class kept calling me bun-bun for half a year! lol.

  22. iSingh says:

    @ Harinder

    Nice collection. Note that besides No 4 and maybe No 6, none are derogatory words by themselves. It's their connotation that has become such. Not true of raghead.

  23. iSingh says:

    @ Harinder

    Nice collection. Note that besides No 4 and maybe No 6, none are derogatory words by themselves. It's their connotation that has become such. Not true of raghead.

  24. Harinder says:

    All the words are used in derogratory sense though in different degrees.

    I have not mentioned words like

    a)Bania

    b)Baman

    c)Lala

    which are also used in derogatory context.

  25. Harinder says:

    All the words are used in derogratory sense though in different degrees.

    I have not mentioned words like

    a)Bania
    b)Baman
    c)Lala

    which are also used in derogatory context.

  26. Harinder says:

    Just for info
    Is not USA a secular country .
    Can a SIKH /Hindu /Buddhist /Muslim become a governor/Presidsent of USA?

  27. Harinder says:

    Just for info
    Is not USA a secular country .
    Can a SIKH /Hindu /Buddhist /Muslim become a governor/Presidsent of USA?

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