let's say it

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Feb 04 2014

Sikh In A Kiss Makes News....So Let's Say It Again....

(by Sonal Kulshrestha)

 After the much talked about Sikh in a Gap ad, corporations are learning to broaden their horizon, but are the people learning to broaden their outlook? What do you think when you see a picture of a Sikh couple on a New York Subway kissing each other? As Indian Americans, chances are you go, "Wow, that's bold, but how nice to see Indians in mainstream culture." What do you think most Americans think? "They're Indians, aren't they? What a lovely couple." Full marks so far. But if you guessed, it will evoke a viral response ranging anywhere from  the above two responses to actual nasty anti- Muslim remarks, you did still be right. Because that's exactly what happened when on January 31st, Axe, uploaded this picture on it's Facebook page, with the caption PDA for good. (in case you're wondering, PDA=Public Display of Affection)

(Photo Credit: Axe FB Page)

But let's start from the beginning. It all started when Axe launched it's new line of products, called AXE Peace, including traditional male grooming products like body spray, deodorant, antiperspirant stick, shower gel, etc. Anyway, so to promote this new line, Axe joined hands with 'Peace One Day', an international non-profit that supports peace on earth, to rally the nation around love and help support World Peace Day (that is September 21st). How? They called upon the social media savvy generation to 'find a willing partner to kiss, snap a photo of the moment, share it to twitter with #KISSFORPEACE for the chance to have your photo featured on a billboard in Times Square, NYC!'

Did we mention that at the center of the campaign is a film by BBH London that essentially conveys the message- 'In a world filled with war, the greatest weapon is love. Make love, not war with new AXE Peaceā„¢'.

let's say it

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Anyway, even as countless #kissforpeace images started surfacing, Axe uploaded the picture in question. From there, the make love not war campaign, took the by-now predictable turn- there were people showing their 'love' for the good looking couple and those declaring 'war' on 'turban', muslims or whatever it was that they would prefer to continue to dislike rather than educating themselves. We'll not post the negative but by now we already know there were references to 'towelheads', 'bombs', 'terrorist', etc.

Some of the 'Love' comments went like-

Sarah Mendenhall Look at the love in their kiss. It's so romantic.
Brandon Dewade Wow, there is a lot of hate here. Being an Iraq and Afghanistan vet all I see is a guy w an epic beard kissing a beautiful girl.
Kevin Massey All I see is two people who love each other the rest doesn't matter.
Gerard Isaiah Bringas Before you speak, learn about a religion and heritage. Sikh are all either serving or assisting the US military. Ignorance is what makes you come off as the Village Idiot.
Joe Cantu I pray for most of you all. I hope your children learn to love & not hate as you do here.
Samuel Glenn Dagal Anderson Just a normal Sikh dude kissing his girlfriend. And a bunch of backwards #### behind their keyboards. Is all I see

Some tried to do their part in educating-

Randy Chanthavong FYI, Sikhs wear turbans, not Muslims. The ignorance and racism here is astonishing. Smh...
Natasha Grewal You people are so pathetic and ignorant it's disgusting. What if we decided to say all black people are gangster and all white people are red neck hicks? How the #### would you feel? The guy in this picture is a sikh not a muslim. We don't go around blowing #### up and neither do all muslims. Every race has people that do stuff we don't approve of, but that doesn't make the entire race bad so shut the #### up and go educate yourselves you f*******!
Arthur Frausto Mistaking Arabs & Indians is like mistaking a Mexican & Canadian
Paulie Dhaliwal this guy is west indian, punjab sikh,i hes not even muslim...come on its 2014 fellow humans, educate yourself...u have the worlds knowledge on your smart phone so use it
Cassie Keefer I love going out in public with my boyfriend and getting the stares from strangers. I'm a fair skinned white girl and he's a handsome brown skinned Indian. Ignorant people don't know what to do with themselves when they see us happily walking hand in hand so they just stare in disbelief. And then, we'll kiss in front of them on purpose. Talk about an epic ####. The ignorance and disdain for other cultures in this country disgusts me. We shouldn't be afraid of what's different. We should educate ourselves, embrace others, learn about their cultures, understand where they come from. It's a beautiful thing to expand your knowledge of the world...

As to who are they? One 'commenter' leaves a clue behind-

Gobind Sahi That's my brother-in-law & his wife, both strong, good-looking Sikh Americans, so anyone who wants to hate keep doing it, it only diminishes you! This is still the greatest country in the world because America allows everyone to come, work hard, & succeed regardless of Race, Religion, Creed, Tribe, Sexual Orientation, or any other defining characteristic. Let the haters keep on hating, Sikhs are going to keep on succeeding

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