The Sikh Captain America


Photo: Fiona Aboud

Meet Vishavjit Singh, software analyst and cartoonist (over at Sikhtoons) by day and Captain America by night. Okay, not by night: Captain America just for one day - the turbaned and bearded version.

The idea came from photographer Fiona Aboud, who traveled the country capturing photos for her project, Sikhs: An American Portrait. The idea was to dress Singh up as Captain America, the most patriotic of all American superheros, and see how people would react.

Singh recounted the experience over at Salon:

People shook my hands, and a few literally congratulated me. The celebrity-of-the-moment experience was a little overwhelming. But I was jarred out of that trance by a few negative outliers. One man tried to grab my turban. Another yelled, “Captain Arab.” And yet another: “Terrorista!”

As we posed for a picture with one kid, he stuck his middle finger right in my face.

“So you are flipping off Captain America?” I admonished him.

He got red-faced, apologized and struck a smile instead. We carried on undeterred, and the overall crowd reaction was positive and friendly.

 An NYPD officer tracked me down to take a shot together on his smartphone. He said it would be his claim to fame.

In a follow up article, Singh told us the 10 things he learned from his adventure being the Sikh Captain America. For example:

3) If you stereotype people, then you have fallen victim of the malady itself. To all the people who have given me advice to stay away from white Republican places like Jersey, Florida, Texas and the South, let me say this. If I had stereotyped the world the way it may see me in my turban and beard, I would never have  walked out as Captain America. Stop projecting your insecurities. There are many good people all over America despite the political labels we wear. Intolerant asses reside all over the place. New York has its fair share. This Captain America is not a limited time offer in select locations. I was not transacting a deal. I was trying to make a connection with people. Thanks to the Army officer, Haitian American mother, woman who remembered her brief childhood encounter at a dance event with a turbaned boy in Detroit, woman from San Francisco who was inspired to dress herself and her boyfriend as Captain America, countless others who shared with me their memories, insecurities and moving encounters. Together we create super-heroic worlds.

Hari Kondabolu of Man About Town (from Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell) talked to the man:

via Boing Boing


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