Various instances of racism against Sikh community have been and continue to be reported in Australia and pockets of the US. Many are forced to chop their hair and get rid of their turbans for safety reasons. And this is exactly what Melbourne-based activist Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa highlighted during her performance for the reality show Australia’s Got Talent.
On February 8, Khalsa recited a spoken word poetry depicting how the community is treated in Australia, injustices they constantly face, called ‘terrorists’ and asked to ‘go home to where we came from’. Before starting her performance, she asked the audience to click whenever they truly feel what she feels. Inevitable as it was, the 21-year-old received a standing ovation at the end of her performance.
In fact, judge Eddie Perfect agreed with Khalsa’s depiction and said, “The voices of bigotry and hatred in this country are so loud and noisy… but this is something that needs to be heard and I am glad we’ve got Prime Time to say it.”
As soon as the video was uploaded on Facebook, it went viral and has garnered over 500,000 views. Kaur has received massive support from across the world. Even the judge Kelly Osbourne tweeted to support her.
— Kelly Osbourne (@KellyOsbourne) February 8, 2016
Later, she took to Twitter to acknowledge all the wishes she has been receiving for her poetry.
— Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa (@SukhjitKhalsa) February 8, 2016
And no wonder she was unanimously voted to the next round.
Full text of her poem:
“If you’re not in Australia, ‘where the bloody hell are ya?’ Remember the Bingle jingle, inviting the world to mix and mingle?
Where a fair go was your welcome mat, unless you’re of caramel descent and then ain’t nobody got time for that.
You see, rocking up for my first job at Coles, was like a scene from Border Patrol.
What makes you Australian?
Is it a Southern Cross Tattoo or wombat stew crumbled with a Dunkaroo?
Do you think of a time when Australia’s learnt to share and care and dare to wear its heart on its face, fully aware that most of us in this place are far from fair, but brown and black and slow to attack?
But quick to embrace a warm Australia.
I’m confused as to why, on Australia Day, when the night sky spews bigot bile, I’m left traumatised.
When a teen rips off my uncle’s turban, I’m an enraged flame of pain and shame and sorrow, for tomorrow when a hooning ute throws a rotten peach at my dad and screams ‘go home, ya bloody terrorist.’
I plead to you Lara, where the bloody hell are we?
My people, the Sikhs, came here in 1860 with camels and carts and courageous hearts and look at the maxi Taxi, we’re still driving and steering this country in offices and hospitals and even on stage.
So when people tell me and my family to go home to where we came from, I reply with a smile, tongue-in-cheek, ‘mate, we’ve been right at home for the past 150 years!’
I’m not the one that’s a freak, I’m fully Sikh.”