J Singh Kapur, a Sikh student of Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa in US, won the 2017 National Speech and Debate Tournament in the category of original oratory -considered to be the most prestigious high school speech and debate competition in the US. Taking off with a jig on a Punjabi song, […]
J Singh Kapur, a Sikh student of Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa in US, won the 2017 National Speech and Debate Tournament in the category of original oratory -considered to be the most prestigious high school speech and debate competition in the US.
Taking off with a jig on a Punjabi song, the speech titled `Let’s Dance’ exposes the tendency of building simplified narratives and ignoring the complexities of the past as well as contemporary times.Both his style and content are attracting admiration or reaction.
His speech is rocking social media and radio channels are inviting him for talk shows.
His speech takes off from the Bollywood films’ disconnect with reality and its simplified narratives.
“We are a story-telling society. We each seek to provide our scattered and confusing experiences with a sense of coherence, by arranging the episodes of our lives into stories. But our problem arises when our complex realities do not match the narrative.”
Apart from quite a few other examples of simplified narratives, he narrated his experience to highlight the stereotyping of Sikh and Muslim identities post-911. He told the audience that he was two years old when 911 happened and (as his parents told him later). His family was watching the horrific tragedy unfold on TV when he shouted `Papa’ after seeing an image on the screen. “The image was that of Osama bin Laden.My father told me that this was a moment of profound fear for him as he realized that Americans may see his beard and turban and think he’s a terrorist.”
JJ, who bagged thee first prize, won a scholarship of $2,000.
In his blog “Story of a Sikh American”, JJ tells how a group of teenagers at restaurant shouted “hey Osama go home”. “There have been times when I’ve been tempted to remove my turban and to cut off my hair, but my father encourages me to strengthen my roots,” he wrote. In the light of such provocations, this high school student co-founded “The Iowa Sikh Turbanators” in January 2017.The forum is being run by youth Sikhs dedicated to raising awareness about Sikhism. The goal of the Iowa Sikh Turbanators is simple: to “turban-ate” the negative stigma surrounding the Sikh faith through community service events.
Source- Times of India