Because some people need to see this particular superhero in a turban before realizing Americans come in all different colors- and practice all kinds of religions.
I say Muslim-looking because many of those facing discrimination were actually Sikhs, which is a different religion altogether. Still, most Sikh men grow long beards, and Bin Laden used to wear something resembling a turban, so whatever, right?
This kind of ignorance was something cartoonist Vishavit Singh has had to deal with every day since the 2001 attacks. He told Michigan radio this week that he stayed home for a few weeks after 9/11 because he faced “near-unanimous animosity from fellow Americans…good people, young and old, who were confused.”
Singh came up with the idea of dressing up as Captain America. He was nervous, saying he had issues with body confidence, but after a while he decided to go for it. Singh wears the full costume, complete with a blue turban decorated with an ‘A’. Then he goes out on to the streets of New York to “fight intolerance,” saying his superpower is “changing perceptions.”
Although Singh’s parents came to America from India, he was born in the USA– and whatever his religion, he’s as patriotic as anyone else. Pointing out this (often invisible) prejudice, Singh says in the video:
America is an amazing, diverse place and it brings from all over the place different views, color, different languages. And yet, even here- in the biggest and most diverse city in the country, people have a very narrow perspective on what an American should look like.”
In the video, Singh goes out on to the streets of New York to ask passers-by where they think he’s from.
“Queens,” answers one open-minded lady, but the majority assume his religion is tied to his nationality: he’s got to be from India or Pakistan, most guess. Someone even covers two massive continents to increase their chances of being correct: “Africa or Asia?” they ask hopefully.
At the end of the day, having taken a ton of selfies and explained his goal to a few doubtful kids, Singh believes he’s been successful in his mission. “They think, Oh, he’s got a beard and a turban, but he’s expressing his patriotic fervour”, he says. “They realize I’m one of them.”
Then the superhero leaves Americans with some wise words of advice:
Captain America can represent any American, It can be a woman, a man; old, young, white, black- that’s what America is. Imagine whatever you can imagine, dont let anything hold you back, and think outside the box.”
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