Punjabi-American Darsh Singh made history as the first turbaned Sikh American to play NCAA basketball — at Trinity University in San Antonio — so naturally someone made a dumb racist joke about him.
See, I told you it was dumb and racist.
Anyway, Greg Worthington wasn’t about to let his buddy be the subject of a dumb racist joke, so he took to Facebook to set things straight:
I know this guy and his name’s not ‘Muhammad.’ He’s not Arab, he’s Punjabi. He’s not even Muslim, he’s a Sikh. His name is Darsh Singh and he’s a US citizen, born and bred. That jersey he’s wearing in this pic, it currently sits in a Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC because he made US history as the NCAA’s first turbaned Sikh American basketball player for Trinity University in my hometown of San Antonio. He was co-captain of that team when he played there. He’s worked in US Intelligence with the National Security Agency in the past and currently manages financial portfolios and hedge funds for some of the most compassionate companies in the US. Above all those things, he’s a really nice guy, very funny, and he’s a great friend of my younger brother whom I was more than happy to befriend myself.
Worthington’s post quickly went viral, and now Singh has penned an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News thanking Worthington for his support:
Greg’s commitment to his Christian values compelled him to speak up when he saw something he felt was wrong. By voicing his thoughts, he was combating hate, fear and ignorance through education.
Never before did I realize the power one node in my network could have in creating a more compassionate society. The post went viral, with over 35,000 likes and 13,000 shares. I witnessed hundreds of friends, old and new, rally around shared values of truth, education, and compassion. …
Silence sends a message to those who are suffering from prejudice that you believe they should be victimized. It also sends a message to the perpetrators that you agree with their actions. By speaking up and engaging in thoughtful dialogue with groups that have very different backgrounds than us, we can break the walls of ignorance in our communities and connect with each other on a deeper level.
In turn, this strengthens our local neighborhoods through personal relationships and increases the resilience of our community.
The story has spawned a #BeLikeDarsh hashtag on Twitter and serves as a reminder that social media can do good things every once in a while and isn’t merely a repository for bad jokes and cat videos.