The Spurs had just defeated the reigning NBA champs, Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 103-74.
Simran Jeet Singh, a Spurs season ticket holder was among those fans streaming out of the Arena in a real good mood, but a loud voice rang out over the chatter of happy fans that shattered the positive vibe.
The San Antonio Express-News reports an apparently inebriated fan yelled “(expletive) Muslim” at Singh and his father, also a season ticket holder.
It wasn’t anything they hadn’t heard before. He says he heard racist language directed at him four times last year while running the New York City Marathon. He’s heard it at airports, at grocery stores and in everyday life.
Singh ignored the taunt, but fears its only a matter of time something worse happens.
“We are not realizing our whole potential,” he said, “because we’re not engaging with one another as we should.”
Such acts of racial and religious hate is in danger of becoming normalized in society. Singh is not Muslim. He’s Sikh and wears a turban. It doesn’t matter. Hate is hate even when its misdirected.
Near Kansas City, an Indian American man was shot and killed in a bar allegedly by a man who screamed similar racist sentiments. In Washington state, a Sikh man was shot by a man who blurted “go back to your country.”
Then there are assaults that don’t involve physical violence like the one Singh experienced. These incident inflict injury to the heart and soul, but largely go unreported by the media.
“At the end of it, I point out to people that anti-Muslim sentiment is another form of racism, and in our society racism is immoral,” he says.
(An earlier version of this story named the wrong city in the murder of the Indian American man. We apologize for the error.)
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