Woman on racist rant gets shut down by Sikh politician
Despite what many might think, the world is not a tolerant place. You can say, "come on guys, it's 2017!" as much as you like, but it isn't going to change the fact that innocent people are still attacked for things as trivial as gender, race, and religion on a daily basis. Essentially, for as long as there is ignorance, there's going to be jerks who make it difficult for everybody else who's just trying to get by.
However, there is a way to deal with such ignorance. As hard as it may be sometimes, the best approach is to lead by example, and to show love and tolerance in the face of hatred.
Jagmeet Singh, a Canadian politician, did exactly that last week when he was challenged by an angry woman at a meet and greet. The woman, who identified herself as 'Jennifer', made racist accusations towards Singh in front of a large group of people at a campaign event in Brampton, Ontario.
Singh had not even got his microphone properly set up when the woman stormed out of the crowd and paced in front of him. "We know you're in bed with Sharia," she shouted, referencing the religious laws imposed by Islam. "We know you're in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood."
Now, the first thing to mention here - before we even get on to the audacity and hatred of this woman - is that Singh is actually a Sikh, not a Muslim, and so has nothing to do with Sharia law or the Muslim Brotherhood. Jennifer's accusations, as Singh would later comment on, seemed based on his appearance as a "brown-skin, turbaned, bearded man". With this in mind, the politician had every right to turn her away; but he didn't.
Instead, he let her continue with her tirade, calmly addressing the crowd as she did so.
Others tried to beckon Jennifer away, but she only became angrier. At one point she could be heard shouting, "Don't touch me! Don't anybody touch me," before threatening to call the police if anybody approached her.
Singh took this as his cue to address the matter, and said to her, "You are wonderful," and then to the crowd: "As Canadians, do we believe in celebrating all diversity?"
The woman did not let up, however, prompting Singh to talk over her with a more positive message:
"We believe in love and courage... We don't want to be intimidated by hate, we don't want hatred to ruin a positive event... So let's show people how to treat someone with love: We welcome you. We love you. We support you."
Singh repeated this mantra of love and support, prompting the crowd to chant "love and courage" (Singh's campaign slogan) to drown out Jennifer's ramblings.
At one point, somebody else in the crowd even made an offer to the woman, saying, "I'll talk to you, I'm a Muslim," to which she responded: "I have no time to talk to you". Clearly, then, understanding a Muslim point of view was never on her agenda - but attacking Singh was.
For four whole minutes, she ranted and raved about something that simply wasn't true, and showed no signs of actually listening to anybody who had an explanation for her. Eventually, though, she gave up on her abusive ranting and stormed out.
"You know growing up as a brown-skin, turbaned, bearded man that I've faced things like this before," Singh said to the crowd after she'd left. "There's going to be other obstacles that we're going to face and we're going to face them with love and courage."
It must have been incredibly difficult for Singh to face up to such aggression in that situation, but the way he handled it showed him to be the better person. His tolerance trumped her ignorance, and that speaks volumes for his message of love and courage.