This Sign From The Science March Perfectly Claps Back At Ignorance And Racism

"Are you nervous to see me on your flight?"

In an age of increasing unrest around the world, protests and rallies are becoming a weekly occurrence. Citizens of the world have protested proposed immigration reform that seems to target specific nationalities and religion, the treatment of women and trans people, and more. This past weekend it was all about the importance of science.

As a response to the current administration's lackadaisical attitude towards climate change and other scientific truths, The March for Science — a series of worldwide rallies and marches — took place in Washington, D.C. and more than 600 other cities across the world on Earth Day, April 22. And much like the rallies before it, The March for Science gifted us with some pretty fierce signs.

A pointed sign gaining some traction online is one that was held by a gentleman at the March for Science in San Francisco, California. The sign, shown below, plays on the instances of in-flight racism and Islamophobia that have been making headlines of late.


With his placard, this unnamed protester, pictured wearing a turban akin to those worn by many Sikhs, countered bigoted stereotypes and turned them on their head with humor.

"Are you nervous to see me on your flight?" his sign reads. "Worry not for the software I wrote is bug-free." The sign suggests that the protester is a software engineer that has worked on multiple Boeing models.

The photos of this sign eventually found their way to Reddit, and while the conversation was dominated by the difficulties of coding and a debate as to whether or not software can ever truly be bug-free, several users made some very important points.

A user named xander76, who says he took the original photos, writes, "I'm psyched this guy (whose name I unfortunately don't know) is getting recognition for his creativity and his work, and it's been really heartwarming that folks connect with his message. Yay, humans!"

The March For Science in San Francisco on April 22, 2017.

And after some debate over whether the protester in question is Sikh or Muslim, another user steered the conversation back in a more productive direction. "The message is don't fear brown men with stuff on their heads. Doesn't matter if he's Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, or whatever," downvotersarehitler writes. "I'm Indian and get mistakenly attacked with anti-Muslim and Middle Eastern stuff a lot."

While it certainly shouldn't matter what religion this man practices, the reality is Sikhism and Islam are often conflated. According to a 2015 survey from the National Sikh Campaign, 60 percent of Americans admit to knowing nothing at all about Sikh Americans, and when Americans see a picture of a man or boy in a turban, they are far more likely to assume that he is Middle Eastern or Muslim than he is Sikh.

As forguit, a user who identified himself as Muslim put it, "Sikhs are some of the nicest, most peaceful people I know. They deal with misdirected Islamophobia even better than many Muslims I know. Much love to them."

In an effort to combat religious intolerance, the Sikh community worldwide has taken part in a variety of initiatives in an effort to raise awareness and educate others about their faith. For example, Turban Day 2017 spread awareness about Sikhism in New York City, and a few weeks ago The National Sikh Campaign launched a $1.3 million ad campaign called "We Are Sikhs," which shows Sikh Americans talking about the importance of their religion and the shared values between their faith and other groups.


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