Sikh Men Post-9/11: Misidentification, Discrimination, and Coping

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After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, there has been strong anti-Islamic and anti-Arabic sentiment in the United States, which has been generalized to all those who "appear" Muslim and Arab. Many men in the Sikh community were targeted because of their appearance (e.g., turbans and long beards) and have been victims of verbal attacks and physical harm because of misperceptions and ignorance regarding their identity. Multicultural competence requires psychologists to understand the experiences of diverse groups, including Sikh men, and yet there is a gap in the literature in that there are no published research studies on this population. This qualitative phenomenological study focuses on the experiences of five Indian American, Sikh men post-9/11 in the New York City metropolitan area. Participants engaged in semistructured interviews on their understanding of themselves and their experiences. The themes that emerged included: Defining one's identity as a Sikh, Misidentification as anti-American, Oppression and discrimination, and Coping internally and externally; each theme included subthemes within. Implications for practice are discussed.



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