Not only are people susceptible to racist remarks and bigotry, but so are corporations as the retailer The Gap soon realized after an advertisement for their “Make Love” campaign that featured an Indian Sikh was defaced in a New York subway. The vandals that defaced the advertisement changed the slogan “Make Love” to “Make Bombs” and wrote the comment "Please stop driving taxis." In response to these negative comments, The Gap placed the advertisement as their twitter background photo.
As this new story made international headlines, Tellwut decided to poll their staff and find out their opinions regarding this situation. When asked whether panel members felt it was good that The Gap changed the photo of their twitter background to the image of the Sikh male model, survey results revealed that 35% of voters felt that it was good decision for The Gap to do this, while 19% of voters did not think it was good that The Gap choose to put this photo up as their twitter background and the majority of panel members 46% were undecided regarding this question.
As this situation indicated that the individuals that vandalized this advertisement currently hold a negative view about Indian Sikh men, Tellwut decided to poll their panel members and ask them whether they think there is a perception that men who wear turbans are associated with terrorism or are a threat to society. When presented with this question the survey results revealed: 22% of voters do not think the this perception prevails, while an overwhelming 58% of voters think that this perception currently prevails and the remaining 20% of voters are undecided as to whether this perception reigns in society.
Panel members were also asked whether they were uncomfortable to be around men who wear turbans and the results indicated that 26% of voters were in fact uncomfortable being around men who wear turbans, while 58% were not uncomfortable being around men who wear turbans and the remaining 16% of voters have remained undecided.
Although the amount of individuals that feel uncomfortable to be around men who wear turbans is much lower, it is still evident that the tragedy of 9/11 has still affected the way in which individuals view Indian/Middle Eastern men in American society. According to panel member marie889209:
“It is sad but true, people are afraid of the unknown. It is a simple, however ignorant, fact. We are the great American pot, but somehow instead of embracing and assimilating our differences as of late so many only seem to point them out and use them to divide us [...].”
As Americans and the rest of the world continue to live with the tragedy of 9/11, the hope is that we will eventually come to embrace and live in unison with the people in this world without living in a state of fear and judging those we know little about.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” -Nelson Mandela