I’m no more offended by the photo than the story of yet another hate crime in our hinterlands. We still don’t know the entire story of what happened in Wisconsin and the Sikhs in the photo are aiming their resentment at our government with even less knowledge I’m betting. Both sides are stereotyping each other’s behavior, understanding of the situation, and reactions. Tit for tat. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Also, on a very different note, about a dozen readers noticed a strange similarity in the sword-bearing Sikh’s face. One reader spells it out:
Update from a reader:
I’m sorry, but there is no equivalence between a community angrily protesting the senseless slaughter of their own and the slaughter itself. To suggest otherwise seems psychotic. Is it wrong to condemn America as a nation for the acts of one gunman? Yes. But not all wrongs are created equal.
In case you haven’t noticed, in 2012 America, it’s fair game for our leaders and entertainers to spew xenophobic rhetoric at minorities. I’m sorry, it just is culturally acceptable to do this now, and if you think that this fact is unrelated to the massacre in Wisconsin, then your credentials to comment on world affairs are seriously in doubt. And if you think that people outside of America don’t also see this connection, then I don’t even know what to say.
I for one am glad about the choice for the Face of the Day. If it’s wrong to confront the reality that our xenophobia and predilection for violence can cause other people to hate us, then I don’t want to be right.
It’s very doubtful that the first reader was creating an equivalence between the protest in India and the shooting in Wisconsin. More likely the reader was drawing a connection between the protesters in India (who might mistakenly believe that most Americans approve of such slaughter) and reactionaries here in the US (ones who would, for instance, pick the label “Inspiring” for a Fox Nation article about the shooting). But yes, that first line about “yet another hate crime in our hinterlands” seems dreadfully unclear and a little unsettling. By the way, more details just surfaced about the sick motivations behind the shooting:
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, [Wade Michael Page] was a member of two racist bands named End Apathy and Definite Hate, “a band whose album ‘Violent Victory’ featured a gruesome drawing of a disembodied white arm punching a black man in the face.”
Update from a reader:
You wrote, “More likely the reader was drawing a connection between the protesters in India (who might mistakenly believe that most Americans approve of such slaughter…” Actually, it is not that complicated. The protesters are from a party called Akali Dal, which is quite powerful in the state of Punjab. This is a politcal statement for regional audiences within India. Political parties in India tend to use the same set of persons from their cadres for high profile events. Thus, the Andrew Sullivan look-alike whose face you posted has appeared in many other protests, as shown here, here and here.