Coworker alarmed by a man in a turban

A coworker just gave us the heads-up that a guy has been sitting on the bridge next to our office for a couple of hours. He’s not fishing; just sitting there looking around. And he’s wearing a turban. Being at a port, security is an issue; so she asked our receptionist to ask our landlord to send someone out to check him out.

I looked out her window and said immediately, ‘He’s a Sikh.’ Nothing to worry about.

OK, but what’s he doing there? Is he a jumper? Headgear doesn’t make someone a person of interest, but neither does it make them uninteresting either. If sitting on that bridge for 2 hours is abnormal, someone should check it out no matter what he looks like.

Why the landlord? :confused:

Who do you call for a fire? The cable company?

Interestingly, this story just showed up in yesterday’s Huffington Post:

I suspect your average American wouldn’t realize a person wearing a turban is likely to be a Sikh. We don’t have enough of them around.

It’s not that high a bridge, even at low tide. Nothing wrong with sitting in a bus stop-like shelter on a fishing bridge, even if you’re not fishing. The coworker only got nervous because of the turban.

The landlord is in charge of security for the facility where we rent our space.

And it’s part of their religion that their turban is the source of their pride and honor. Every time we ask them to remove it we are basically dishonoring them. I wonder what the hubbub would be if we asked Jews to remove their yarmulkes all the time, or Christians to remove their crosses?

But because they are brown, it’s okey-dokey!

I too wonder why a man might be sitting on the bridge for two hours but I wouldn’t jump to terrorism, if only because a) I know what a fucking turban is, and b) what a slow and lazy terrorist!

Of course I speak fluent Punjabi so I might just idle down there and say Sat-Shri- Akal! (Hello!)

Lots of Sikhs up here. (The office is in Seattle.) There’s even a temple (‘baba’-something) in the rural area where I live up at the top of the state. Not to mention the Sikhs who come down from Canada to shop. When I lived in L.A. I saw Sikhs around all the time.

Perhaps he was seeking something?


Oh come one. You can hide a bomb under a yarmulke but not behind a tiny little cross on a necklace.

You have a Sikh sense of humour.
The guy is no longer sitting out there. I reckon he was just sitting on a dock of the bay, watching the tide roll away. Just sitting on a dock of the bay, wasting time.

Air India flight 182.

I know what a Sikh turban looks like too. However sitting there that long is potentially getting recon for something in the future. Interestingly, if he had a camera I would have probably written it off as a boat/ship spotter.

Do you seriously believe that wearing crosses is any sort of requirement for Christians?

As for Jews and yarmulkes, they have been required to remove them in certain circumstances. Since you didn’t even realize this, I guess the hubbub wasn’t too big.

So if he doesn’t have a camera but just hangs out he’s a potential terrorist, but with a camera and he’s just a tourist? Seriously? I think if I were a terrorist planning an attack on a port facility I’d take a few pictures. Might, you know, help me plan my terrorism.

On the way out to get some lunch (a variety of yummy raw fishes) I noticed a lot across the river with many trucks in it. I’m guessing that he was a truck driver who was waiting for a ship to dock or waiting because he was too early to get into the port for another reason. My coworker disagrees because she said a truck driver would just sleep in his truck instead of sitting outside in the cold.

Obviously I exaggerate a little.

I actually had heard of this. I think it all stems from the same source of paranoia. I remember being out with some colleagues and we heard sirens, and they looked at each other and one said “I hope it’s not another terrorist attack”.

For her to jump straight to that conclusion…I had a hard time not rolling my eyes. Seriously? It couldn’t just be some asshole lifting a car? And the Sikh on the bridge, probably watching the world go by. God knows I’ve done that. I’m waiting in my car for a meeting right now. I must be a terrorist!

I don’t know what the solution is. I just know that " man in turban" is not equivalent to “terrorist”. Neither is yarmulke!

Lemur866, I agree, & maybe I should have used “Paradoxically” instead.
IF I was going to do something nefarious, I’d want good pix & intel. OTOH, I know of train & plane spotters who, given the choice, would rather see a new/rare model or a new airline/paint scheme over having sex & will spend countless hours along the tracks/off the end of the runway in search of their elusive photo. You can find countless YouTube hits on their good fortune. I presume this applies to boat spotters, too. Not my cup of tea, but I understand it & it raises less suspicion than someone there w/o a camera.

The issue I see in the OP is that people see a turban and immediately think OMG a Mooslim!

Not that Sikhs are more or less likely than anyone else to commit the criminal mischief of loitering, but that their headgear is panic-inducing because of an entirely specious connection.

Loads of Sikhs, and Muslims, and brown people in general here just on the other side of the border from Johnny L.A.. I see turbans every day. And now more Syrians! If the co-worker is inclined to freak out at any of this, I hope he / she avoids the Bellingham Costco in the future…

A lot of the border guards going north are Sikh, as well.

Hmmm, a person predisposed to see terrorists spots something unexpected and thinks terrorist?

I wonder if there’s some homily about this type of thing?

Something like “look and you will discover” or “search and you will uncover”

So… Next Tuesday is Turban Tuesday at your place of work, right?