An open letter to the South Asian Society of The George Washington University:
We are writing this letter in response to a component of the skit entitled “Punjabi Eye for the White Guy” presented at your Bhangra Blowout show on April 10, 2004. Instead of simply presenting an exciting Punjabi cultural show, you have chosen to denigrate and disrespect the Sikh faith for the second year in a row. Last year you chose to distort history. The program guide implied bhangra was associated with Shiva, a Hindu God, and included pictures of Sikh dancers on the cover. It is our understanding that a number of letters from various different groups were sent to your group in response to last year’s program. It is even more appalling that this year you went further by putting together a PowerPoint presentation mocking the Sikh articles of faith that are central to the religion’s practice.
It is surprising that your board approved the aforementioned portion of the skit. We are disturbed that the skit was presented as appropriate and even funny. Your student organization should be working to bring communities together and help spread understanding and acceptance of the variety of cultures and religious views represented on a college campus. Rather, judging from your actions, you clearly choose to single out and mock the Sikh faith. Punjabi culture encompasses many different faiths. Given that no other religions were mentioned in the skit, the display comes across as bias-motivated. What makes this situation so difficult for us to understand is that your presentation illustrates you are aware of the importance of the Sikh articles of faith that you chose to desecrate. Please do not think that your group’s ignorance is an excuse for your actions, nor will an apology be appropriate in easing the tensions you have caused.
-Executive Board of Sikh Students Association, University of Maryland, College Park