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A few weeks ago I happened to hear a bunch of residents going back and forth about Hopkins, a new TV show with underlying themes similar to most medical TV shows: trauma and drama. Although I groaned after I realized it was also a glorifying advertisement for the institution, the characters in this series prevented me from outright disliking it. They include Herman Singh Bagga, a fourth-year medical student at the time of shooting. ABC proudly displays his synopsis on its site: “He says being a Sikh puts a special responsibility on him because he may be the only member of his group an outsider meets. He views wearing a turban as an advantage because it makes him easy to remember.”
Born and reared in Erie, Pennsylvania, Herman is now at UCSF for his internship and residency. Awesome to see the Sikh identity intact and its representation held strong and celebrated in full force from schools, hospitals, resident banter, and TV screens coast to coast.
See? The answers are there… you just have to know where to look. Just like Scully said in the pilot episode. I can’t vouch for the recent release, but watching the progression of Scully’s deep skepticism and unwaivering belief in science in Season 1 morph into tolerance of her faith and ultimately a belief in the unknown by Season 6 was fascinating. A neat review of the movie in The Christian Post concludes “that our future is found in joining both heart and mind, reason and faith, science and religion to address all aspects of life is a message that this new X-Files [film] graphically presents.” Looks like the movie may be worth checking out.
A probing public service announcement made by the folks at rethinkbias.org/A More Perfect Union/Virginia Interfaith Center (probably with the help of both SALDEF and Sikh Coalition) is being streamed on TV stations across the Virginia/D.C. area.
Dramaticized? Reactionary? Exaggerated? Yeah, a little bit. (And perhaps I showed my own ignorance when I first saw it and thought hey, why is that Jack Bauer/Kiefer Sutherland dude being such an awful character?) But it relays the message clearly to the viewer: education and outreach are the answers to ignorance and intolerance.
I was this close (yes, this close) to tearing the media (the Times in particular) apart to shreds. I nearly got sucked into the drumbeat of outright war. CBS, however, prevented the escalation (and my own public embarrassment from future regret) from coming to light with the documentary “In God’s Name” premiering tonight at 9 PM EST.
The Jathedar of the Akal Takht, the Sikhs’ highest authority, is one of twelve spiritual leaders interviewed. Personal moments of prayer and family are included in promotional photographs as seen below:
The directors describe him as “speaking out strongly for women’s equality in the Sikh faith.”
So let me get this straight: a major media outlet interviewed, photographed, promoted, and reflected positively on Sikhi and its leaders. Yes, the photos above are placed at the end of the slideshow on the site and perhaps some of the other spiritual leaders will get more air time, but unlike other news that is supposedly fit to print, CBS acknowledged Sikhism as one of the world’s major religions. Although we may be a young faith, they recognize that more folks practice Sikhi than Judaism.
Someone deserves a high-five. Thank you for helping to initiate a temporary halt to my media bashing.