He was the face of a racist online meme. And now - rightfully- the Internet has turned him into a hero.
Darsh Preet Singh single-handedly broke down barriers to become the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) very first turbaned Sikh-American basketball player, something many would agree was no mean feat.
Unbeknownst to the world, however, someone then made this racist meme about the Trinity University - in San Antonio, Texas - graduate which began to do the rounds online:
Mr Singh’s friend, Greg Worthington - a student of educational policy and planning at the University of Texas - took to Facebook and, in a sensational post, highlighted “why this s**t isn’t funny.”
He wrote: “I know this guy and his name’s not ‘Muhammad’. He’s not Arab, he’s Punjabi. He’s not even Muslim, he’s a Sikh. His name is Darsh Singh and he’s a US citizen, born and bred. That jersey he’s wearing in this pic, it currently sits in a Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC because he made US history as the NCAA’s first turbaned Sikh-American basketball player for Trinity University in my hometown of San Antonio.”
Putting the world to rights in the rest of the post - which has, so far, received over 35,000 likes and more than 13,300 shares - he concluded: “Do the world a favour and educate yourself. Get to know people who are different than you and learn about them as much as you can.
“Knowing one or two - or even 15 people different than you - is not enough. You need to be networked with groups of people who are not like you to begin to truly understand just how much this stuff hurts people like Darsh.”
Even better? The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Centre, this week, went on to launch a rather successful social media campaign called ‘I Want to #BeLikeDarsh’ in which people are being encouraged to aim high in life, no matter what their background.
Mr Singh’s response to the situation couldn’t have been more dignified as he simply thanked people for their love and support, adding: “Sikhs believe everyone and everything has the potential to embody divine love.”
Darsh, we salute you.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies