Film Inspires Students, Adults to Consider ‘Who is an American?’

May 4, 2007

Author: George Derringer

Source: Swampscott Reporter

Swampscott - Valarie Kaur didn’t know anything about making films and, at age 20, just a little about America but that didn’t stop her from crisscrossing the country after 9-11-2001.

A Sikh and a third-generation American, Kaur watched in horror — well, actually she hid in her bedroom in California for several days and read all of the Harry Potter books then published — as anyone wearing a turban was declared “an enemy” and subject to persecution and, in about 20 cases, death in the weeks after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Most Sikh men and some women wear turbans.

They are not Muslims, which is not the issue, Kaur says.

And they’re not terrorists either.

But what began as Kaur’s quest to explain Sikhs, of whom there are about 500,000 in the United States, when she left her bedroom turned into something far larger: A mission to determine “Who is an American?”