GlobalMichigan and MGoIndia — two official accounts of University of Michigan programs — said some really ridiculous things last week when me and other members of the South Asian community criticized them for erasing Sikhs from the langar meal hosted on campus.
For context, a langar is a communal meal usually served Sikh gurdwaras to “uphold the principle of equality between all people regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status.” The meal in question was organized by a group of university students who had studied abroad in India for 3-4 weeks. When I originally saw the event pop up on Twitter, I was thrilled. As I read more, the enthusiasm diminished. As you can see above, the flyer doesn’t even mention that this “communal meal” at the Golden Temple is from Sikhism. While this could have been a perfect opportunity to collaborate and build awareness, the Sikh Students Association at the University of Michigan was not invited to plan the event.
While an online article and video explained the roots of this practice, all of the University of Michigan’s social media promotion and interaction erased the religious connections. “Free lunch!” declared the messages, reducing the sacred thousand-year-old practice into an opportunity to grab a free chickpea wrap while walking to class.
“The primary goal is to get people to come and experience the meal,” said a University representative, tweeting to me from the GlobalMichigan account when noted that advertising the event as a “free meal” undoes the rich religious and justice-driven tradition behind the meal. Other individuals on Twitter received similar responses.
The MGoIndia account also used the presence of current Sikh student to validate the event — without asking for her consent. I initially shocked by the hard-headed defensiveness from the university, but later unsurprised considering my alma mater’s rich tradition of obscuring voices of people of color in the past few years.
The event was created with the intention of sharing the experiences of a group of students who had the privilege of spending six weeks at Harmandir Sahib through the University. The focus of the students’ trip was sustainable food use, specifically through the concept of langar. We are glad that the University has chosen to support such events, but we also hope that they will continue to also shed light on the communities from which these traditions come from. Most of all, we are disappointed in the manner in which GIEU chose to frame the trip solely as a conversation on sustainability, and advertise the event simply as a “free lunch,” erasing the rich history and faith tradition behind the concept. We look forward to working with organizations, such as GIEU and Center for South Asian Studies, to prevent misunderstandings like this in the future. It is with this unity of identity and purpose that we move forward as an organization.
As one Michigan student commented over Twitter, “Today I learned you can’t expect people to care about your traditions unless you make it about them & free food.”
THEY LOOK THE SAME THEIR FACES ARE THE SAME BUT?????
“Twins of the different race are produced if the parents are of mixed race, and when their sperms and eggs are fused and fertilized gives a mixture of genetic codes for black and white skin. Their skin color is determined up to seven different genes working together. The chance of a mixed race couple of having twins of different colors are a million to one. If the twins are inherited from mixed race parents, one can be white, fair-haired and light skin and the other can be black and have dark hair.”
Serena Williams Wins 2014 U.S. Open Title and 18th Grand Slam Title
Serena Williams beat Caroline Wozniacki, 6-3, 6-3, at the 2014 U.S. Open, her 3rd consecutive U.S. Open title and 18th Grand Slam Title. (Photographs from Nike,The Boston Globeand Fox.)
According to TheAssociated Press:
Williams equaled Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with 18 major singles titles, the fourth-most in history. Williams also matched Evert’s total of six championships at the U.S. Open and became the first woman to win three in a row since Evert’s four-title run from 1975-78.