The month of October is dedicated to raising awareness for bullying and how to stop it. It also happens to be Hispanic Heritage month. One might not think that heritage/culture plus bullying in the same sentence would equal anything uplifting, but just last week I came across an article on Yahoo! about a case of culture-related bullying that had a happy ending that I just had to share.
According to the article, (read it here) the bully snapped a photo of Balpreet Kaur without her knowing and posted it on Reddit with a caption that said “I’m not sure what to conclude from this.” The man was referring to Balpreet’s relaxed and casual clothing, the turban that hid her hair and some facial hair on her cheeks and chin.
Comments on the unnamed man’s post mocked Balpreet, but in an empowering turn of events the young Ohio State University student did not let them faze her. Instead she responded to her bully using her Sikh faith to explain why she does not remove her facial hair, saying “’I'm not embarrassed or even humiliated by the attention that this picture is getting, because it's who I am... [My] body is a tool for service, [I] have to maintain and take care of it while cherishing its original form.’” Balpreet said that as a Sikh woman she is not allowed to alter her body in any way, including cutting her hair, but is instead supposed to love it so that she can care for and serve others. Prompted by Balpreet’s response and the praise she received from others, Balpreet’s bully apologized.
This was really inspiring for me to read because I think that one reason people bully others is because they don’t understand them and that we can stop these types of bullies by teaching them about their victims. The man who posted Balpreet’s picture admitted to being “ignorant” and “closed-minded,” so perhaps if we all took the time to learn and expand our minds and encouraged others to do the same like Balpreet, we would have less cases of bullying. If we cherished and maintained our original forms (from our bodies to our cultures) as well as those of others, there would be a little more love to go around. And who wouldn’t want that?