This is the first excerpt in my new series "Inspiring Examples of Resistance." My hope is that this will inspire people to have the confidence to say no, feel more comfortable setting personal boundaries, and inspire them to fully embrace the power of self-acceptance. This excerpt is about one woman's unique form of resistance to a more current phenomenon, cyber bullying. What makes this example of resistance so unique, in my opinion, is that it provides us an example that might seem counter-intuitive in our culture, demonstrating just how powerful non-violence can be.
Balpreet Kaur, the Sikh woman pictured above, was photographed without her knowledge and the person who perpetrated the cyber bullying began by posting this very photograph on Reddit.com which sparked a whirlwind of hateful comments ridiculing her physical appearance and questioning her gender. After being made aware of the thread on Reddit.com by a friend, she decided to respond personally (fully quoted below), and her non-reactive response to the poster prompted a response directly from the man who started the post, fully quoted below as well. Balpreet Kaur's tolerance, and "cheerful patience," completely disarmed not only the perpetrator of the cyber bullying, but turned the wave of hateful comments directed at her into a peaceful humility of posters inspired by Balpreet's example. This seems particularly relevant given the recent shootings over the summer at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, as the shooter targetted these peaceful people, we can only conjecture based on his activity in White Supremacy bands, simply because of hatred and intolerance of difference. The lesson here: fully embrace and love who you are, and you don't have to hate your detractors to do so. You too may be able to inspire 1584 people (or more) simply through the transformative power of resistance through self-acceptance!
Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I actually didn't know about this until one of my friends told on facebook. If the OP wanted a picture, they could have just asked and I could have smiled :) However, I'm not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it's who I am. Yes, I'm a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn't reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying 'mine, mine' and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn't important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. :-) So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello. I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I've gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this. Also, the yoga pants are quite comfortable and the Better Together tshirt is actually from Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that focuses on storytelling and engagement between different faiths. :) I hope this explains everything a bit more, and I apologize for causing such confusion and uttering anything that hurt anyone.
And then, THEN, something even more miraculous happened—the original poster apologized:
I know that this post ISN'T a funny post but I felt the need to apologize to the Sikhs, Balpreet, and anyone else I offended when I posted that picture. Put simply it was stupid. Making fun of people is funny to some but incredibly degrading to the people you're making fun of. It was an incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant thing to post.
/r/Funny wasn't the proper place to post this. Maybe /r/racism or /r/douchebagsofreddit or /r/intolerance would have been more appropriate. Reddit shouldn't be about putting people down, but a group of people sending cool, interesting, or funny things. Reddit's been in the news alot lately about a lot of cool things we've done, like a freaking AMA by the president. I'm sorry for being the part of reddit that is intolerant and douchebaggy. This isn't 4chan, or 9gag, or some other stupid website where people post things like I did. It's fucking reddit. Where some pretty amazing stuff has happened.
I've read more about the Sikh faith and it was actually really interesting. It makes a whole lot of sense to work on having a legacy and not worrying about what you look like. I made that post for stupid internet points and I was ignorant.
So reddit I'm sorry for being an asshole and for giving you negative publicity.
Balpreet, I'm sorry for being a closed minded individual. You are a much better person than I am
Sikhs, I'm sorry for insulting your culture and way of life.
Balpreet's faith in what she believes is astounding.