After Sept. 11, Vishavjit Singh felt uneasy and unsafe in New York City. His turban and beard, articles of his Sikh faith, drew angry glares from his coworkers almost immediately after the attacks. With the understanding of his boss, he was able to leave Westchester county, where he worked as a software engineer at a telecommunications company, to go back home to Connecticut, where he would stay for a few weeks. In his mind, by then, things would have cooled down and he would no longer be at risk because of his appearance.
“When I went back to work, people in passing cars on highways rolled down their windows to yell at me and flip me off,” Singh said. “Out on the streets, people gave me angry and anxious looks. It was almost everyone. Women, men, white, black, young and old. It was one of the most unsettling times of my life.”
“This is coming from someone who has survived a genocidal massacre as a young boy in India in 1984 that consumed the lives of thousands of Sikhs.”