THE American Sikh Council (ASC) said on Friday that it is shocked at the xenophobic and unprofessional behavior of the two radio hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco when they addressed New Jersey’s first Sikh American Attorney General Gurbir Singh (Grewal) with a racist epitaph on Wednesday, July 25 on their daily morning radio show WKXW 101.5FM.
Dennis and Judy, the hosts referred to Grewal as, ‘Turban Man’. The hosts mocked the Attorney General during the segment saying they would never remember his name, only his turban. In response to the racist remarks, the station has suspended both hosts because of the immediate backlash that followed.
The vast majority of ordinary Sikh American citizens get targeted often for their distinguished religious attire by the public, starting from elementary schools to workplace discrimination. Being racially targeted and getting bullied is so insidious that it is extremely rare for a Sikh American to have never been bullied, said the ASC.
Now, as individual Sikh Americans are forging ahead to make a mark on society in public service [like Grewal], it seems to irk some people because he does not fit the ‘lily white beard deficient’ eurocentric mold that society has created while peer pressuring everyone to fit the same. It is ironic that our country which prides itself to uphold religious freedom does not have stronger laws to prosecute those that target and bully religious minorities. All the daily indignities from the micro aggressions to serious physical assaults cause long term mental stress, leading to various levels of PTSD, permanently,” added the ASC.
“Sikh Americans have been on the receiving end of societal bullying since the first pilgrims arrived in the late 1800s. In the current xenophobic and highly charged environment it has simply been amplified. The current administration in Washington has to step up its game in this regard and do much more to reach out and make sure religious minorities feel safe and protected as regular citizens without being afraid of society. Since the new President came on the national scene, close to one Sikh American has been vilified and / or assaulted every month across the nation in the last two years,” said the ASC.
American Sikh Council Vice President Jasbir Kaur stated, “It is not enough for Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco of Station WKXW 101.5FM to apologize, but they also need to go through religious sensitivity training at the minimum. Words to hurt and mock innocent citizens especially when broadcast to the public is completely wrong and should never be tolerated. There is absolutely no room for hate speech under the guise of free speech.”
What has been most encouraging is the immediate and overwhelming response in defense of the Attorney General. Top officials and leaders from both sides of the aisle, like Governor Phil Murphy, Senator Cory Booker, State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, Representative Vin Gopal and Bob Hugin immediately put out statements condemning these comments, the ASC noted.
“The American Sikh Council (ASC) is proud and thanks Governor Phil Murphy for taking a stand and calling out this incident ‘abhorrent and xenophobic’ in nature. Hate speech has no place in our country and every single individual citizen needs to feel safe to practice whatever belief they hold, as long as it does not impinge on others,” it added.