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Sukhmandir Khalsa

Bridging the GAP

By November 19, 2013

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Featured: GAP Ad With Waris Ahluwalia and Quentin Jones

Bridging the GAP or widening the Gulf?
My son messaged me this photo (below) he took of a GAP ad featuring Waris Ahluwalia that he discovered downtown at our local mall. I found it interesting and thought," Cool the Sikh turban is on its way to becoming main stream," To tell the truth I sort of forgot about it, but apparently the ad has stirred controversy in the Sikh community. This is mainly due to the efforts of one who will not be named. Nope, not to protect him, but because he is out to make a name for himself as a trouble maker with a vendetta to widen the gulf by causing divisions amongst Sikhs primarily with a holier than thou focus on American converts (which he himself happens also to be). His conjecture is that the photo is a disgrace because the female model is touching the turban disrespectfully, but truthfully, he's just looking to put somebody (in particular) down. But enough about he who will not be named.

All of us tend to make up stories based on bits of information, and that story also tells a good deal about where the mind is at which made it up. So here's my story, and the way I see things when I look at this ad.

GAP Ad With Waris Ahluwalia and Quentin Jones

GAP Ad With Waris Ahluwalia and Quentin Jones
Photo [Sat Simran]

The story I see is a candid moment of a sister helping out a brother, tucking in that stray bit of turban, buttoning up that jacket, before he goes out, because you know, guys just aren't good at that. Yup, in just one more minute she will be tying up her kes (hair) and donning her own dastar and heading out with him to their local GAP store where maybe, just maybe, if they are lucky enough, they will be to able to find jeans that actually fit, because we all know how challenging that is.

When I look at this ad beyond the story, I see someone here who cares enough to wear a turban and keep his beard intact no matter what he's doing, where he's going, who he's with, or how famous he becomes. So I say, "Thank you Waris for keeping up."

OK now that you know my story, I'm curious about yours. What do you see? What do you think? Does this ad serve to bridge the gap of acceptance and broaden understanding in our communities, or does it widen the gulf of misunderstanding?

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Comments
November 19, 2013 at 8:19 pm
(1) Indrani says:

There is controversy in everything done. I think your interpretation is right.

November 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm
(2) Faythe @GrammyMouseTails says:

I just see it as a beautiful photo. But someone always has to stir the pot of controversy.

November 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm
(3) Sue St Clair says:

I voted! I think it is an image of two beautiful souls and I like it :)

November 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm
(4) aquariann says:

Interesting take. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed the ad – I usually steer clear of GAP because they’re so pricey.

November 19, 2013 at 11:36 pm
(5) Reno, the Biggest Little City says:

The more we see different cultures and beliefs in every day life, the less likely we are to react, particularly in a negative way, to the many differences among people all around us.

November 20, 2013 at 2:12 am
(6) Sukhmandir Khalsa says:

Thank you Gap for being cool enough to feature a Kesh dhari Sikh in your ad campaign….It is nice to be seen as a non terrorist who actually co-exists with modern society and still maintains his form… Bravo

November 20, 2013 at 6:07 am
(7) Angel says:

I think that GAP (a very widely spread and known chain) is helping remove the social stigma of wearing a turban. I know how hard it must be for him being a top male model let alone a top Sikh male model. The standards the modeling system has for both sexes is absolutely ridiculous so thank you Waris for helping to show America that there is beauty everywhere.
I see no problem with her touching his turban, I’ve found that individuals who are sexually depresses see sec in everything so maybe he who must not be named just needs to get a life….or a wife ;)

November 20, 2013 at 9:57 am
(8) Susan says:

I like your story! I probably wouldn’t have imagined a brother-sister relationship, but it’s sweet. The diversity that we now have in advertising is definitely a step forward.

November 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm
(9) Parvati Kaur says:

Yes, I very much like the brother/sister take on the picture. It is a sweet sentiment. I think that this will help to at least put more planks on the bridge that will unite the two sides of this cultural gap. He who will not be named, and other naysayers’ secret agenda is attention on themselves by throwing gasoline on the barbeque whenever they get a chance. I applaud this ad, even though I do not shop at Gap. ;)

November 20, 2013 at 8:23 pm
(10) imaddy says:

I just see an ad that is nice to have different ethnics.

November 21, 2013 at 10:49 am
(11) Trudy Kretschmer says:

I like that ad. I think some people will think they are Muslim, but so what. I thought husband and wife actually. It’s nice at any rate. I think more diversity in “beauty” is good.

November 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm
(12) Deep Kaur says:

I loved this pic/ad the moment I saw it! Props to Waris and GAP. Yes she is touching the turban. So what? That just shows there is nothing to be afraid of. It’s not going to bite you…LOL It shows the care and closeness of the relationship whether it’s brother/sister or husband/wife. I know I wouldn’t touch any mans’ turban, but at home we women do help groom our men. Whether they are brothers, husband or sons. I like your story Sukhmandir Kaur Ji. There will always be controversies, but I think the ad helps bridge the gap.

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