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University of New Mexico

The Sikh's public relations problem

The Sikh's public relations problem

In 2013 the popular retailer GAP featured a turbaned Sikh actor in a major advertising campaign. Sikh-Americans were thrilled. When the company responded to the vandalism of the ad in New York by using the original photo as the background of its Twitter page, Sikhs' spirits were buoyed even further.

Sikhs' reaction to the ad and to GAP exhibiting solidarity with the community makes sense. But, as a Sikh myself, I wondered: Was this ebullient reaction justified? Is there any basis for the assumption that the ad made a difference? Worse, will the self-congratulatory impulse that consumes the community's online activists lead to complacency and an avoidance of more effective...