When the horrific massacre at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises went down at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, your Twitter and Facebook feeds probably went nuts, right? It was scary, it was dramatic, it was big, and it was semi-related to Batman. But does that make the lives of those lost in the Aurora shootings worth more than those lost in the Sikh shootings in Wisconsin and mosque burning in Missouri?
A comedian named Hasan Minhaj has taken to YouTube to vent about something not so funny: the lack of social media support for the Sikh shooting victims, in which six innocent civilians were killed, and one police officer was injured. Why are we–including us at Gurl–being so quiet about this?
“The fact that certain lives are valued more than others because of the color of their skin or their personal beliefs–that’s a problem,” Minhaj fumes, “and the black community has been talking about this for decades.” He’s absolutely right, and he may not even be voicing the half of it–these same attitudes are what led many to let slavery linger as long as it did.
Minhaj goes on to explain that because brown people were the ones killed, it looks like brown people are the only ones who care about it–and he points out, without explicitly saying so, that most cases of domestic terrorism are committed by off-their-rockers white dudes, yet those men aren’t the ones who get weird looks at the airport. Innocent, civilian lives were lost, and regardless of your color or creed, that’s always a tragedy. Watch what he has to say below:
So why have people been so silent? Is it because a movie theater hits more close to home for some–anyone and everyone goes to the movies, but not anyone or everyone prays at a gurdwara (which is pretty much just a different name for a church), and it may not resonate for that reason? It’s not like we at Gurl weren’t fully aware (and upset) about what happened–but for some stupid reason, it’s like we felt like we weren’t “qualified” to talk about what happened, because none of us on staff are a part of the Sikh community. And that? Well, that’s stupid logic on our part, because we ARE part of the same community of the people who were directly affected by this horrific event. We’re all part of the HUMAN community, and we’re all Americans. No matter our religious beliefs, no matter the color of our skin. And it’s our job to care for each other and support each other in times of crisis.
In any case, we need to talk about the Sikh shootings and why we aren’t talking about the Sikh shootings. The Sikh shootings were a massive hate crime, and there likely would have been even more casualties had the killer, Wade Michael Page, not been stopped so soon. This wasn’t just a large-scale hate crime, it was also a large-scale showcase of our own ignorance and thinly veiled intolerance.
We need to care, and we need to open our eyes wide enough to see past skin color and religion and begin to speak up for one another’s rights to live our lives equally.
Do you think the Sikh shooting gained enough media coverage? Why do you think the Aurora, Colorado shooting got more attention that the Sikh shooting in Wisconsin? Do you think racism and Islamophobia play a role in the general lack of support for the Sikh shooting victims? Tell us in the comments!