Darsh Preet Singh made history as the first turban-wearing Sikh-American basketball player in the NCAA, and his jersey hangs in a Smithsonian Museum. After a photo of him playing was used to create racist memes, friends and supporters resolved to change the narrative and fight hate with the #BeLikeDarsh hashtag.
The turnaround started on Sunday (December 6), when Greg Worthington, a friend of Singh’s, posted on Facebook, saying that he noticed his friend’s likeness in a racist post that read: ”Nobody at school wants to guard Muhammad, he’s too explosive”:
In the days since, #BeLikeDarsh (a play on “Be Like Mike”) made waves on social media, often accompanying the same images of Singh playing used in racist memes, to celebrate Singh’s legacy and historical achievement:
— Smithsonian APA (@SmithsonianAPA) December 9, 2015
— Simran Jeet Singh (@SikhProf) December 9, 2015
— Lakhpreet Kaur (@LakhpreetK) December 9, 2015
The last of the tweets above came from Singh’s wife, Lakhpreet Kaur, a writer and activist who wrote about her and her husband’s experiences with racism for NBC News last year.
Singh, who has a background in national security work and serves as a fellow with the Truman National Security Project, posted to his Facebook on Monday, December 7, to thank supporters and advise them on how else they can help fight racism:
Note: Piece has been corrected to reflect that Greg Worthington was not a Trinity University Classmate of Darsh Singh, as was previously stated.