This is the first in a series of quick updates. Quite a bit has happened since I last posted!
So Sarika Singh, a British Sikh girl who was not allowed to wear her Kara because it fell outside the bounds of her school uniform, took her case to the High Court in England and won.
Pretty cool. The following article includes a detailed timeline. Thanks Wales Online!
Sarika Allowed Back to School After Bangle Victory
Disney denied musician Sukhbir Singh a job because he did not have the “Disney Look,” so SALDEF has filed a landmark class action lawsuit. Now I think Disney is one of the world’s most creative and people-friendly companies in the world, so I’m a bit suprised that Disney forced the Sikh community to do this.
Here’s an excerpt from the official press release:
Mr. Channa, a practicing Sikh American, applied for a job with Disney in the Fall of 2006 but was not hired and was told that he did not have the “Disney look” – a negative reference to his religiously-mandated dastaar (Sikh turban). Witnesses have filed affidavits in his support. The lawsuit seeks financial damages and a court order barring Disney from ever discriminating against prospective Sikh employees.
On my last visit to Disney World, little kids, when they saw me, would say, “Hey look, it’s Aladdin!” So I think Disney’s position has no basis. I think Sikhs have the “Disney look” if average people confuse us for some of the popular Disney characters!
Disney, are you saying that if Aladdin were real, he couldn’t get a job at Disney?
Now I just want to be clear — Sikhism is a 550+ year old, distinct, peace-loving monotheistic religion that originated in Punjab in South Asia, and Sikhs like myself wear religiously mandated turbans as articles of faith. Sikhs have no relationship or connection to “Aladdin” beyond a distant similarity in choice of headwear.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out — word from some of the top people at SALDEF indicates there will be large amount of press generated around this story tomorrow.
Update 6/16/2008: Angry Asian Man coverage
Update 6/17/2008: Fox 7 News, Article and Video Report
Update 6/17/2008: Full complaint PDF
Update 6/18/2008: SALDEF latest Press Release
Update 6/18/2008: washington times article
Update 7/23/2008: WESH.com Article and Poll: Should Disney allow Sikh Workers to Wear Turbans?
So a recent post on sikhchic reminded me that I forgot to share my secret technique for swimming while Sikh. I’ve attached the following image, which should benefit anyone with long hair. I don’t claim to have invented this technique, but I hope the graphic gets the point across. You’re basically extending the size of a single swimming cap by making a ‘tube’ out of a second one. It creates a great seal and really does keep more of your hair dry!
A British school with a strict uniform policy has suspended Sarika, age 14, because wearing a kara violates the school’s policy. Sarika’s mom plans to sue the school citing basic human rights acts and legal precendents set for Sikh symbols in the 1970s. This should be an interesting one to follow.
Full Article at the Telegraph