Nikki Haley: Reformed Sikh, Proud Tea Partier

Guest post by Justin Woo (whom I asked to write a post-election piece, after watching his asshole-chapping slam poem about Nikki Haley)

Okay, so I’m all for more Asian representation damn near everywhere. Movies, TV, films – Though I’m not angry about the whole Last Airbender thing anymore because at least people can’t blame us for that crap now.

Oh wait. Shit.

But POC in the GOP bears way too much resemblance to a certain Dave Chappelle skit.

Which brings me to Nikki Haley. Not only is she a Republican, she’s a proud member of everyone’s least-favorite sect of xenophobic wackjobs, the Tea Party. Her birth name was Nimrata Randhawa, and she is/was an Indian Sikh. She used to play up her Sikh faith and Indian background as a state legislator, but during her gubernatorial run, she played up her conversion (at 24) to Methodism. Way to strike a blow for liberation, Nikki.

If you go to her website, you can see her lecturing on “economic prosperity” while standing in front of a palm tree at what looks like a country club. I’m particularly revolted when she starts talking about the 12% unemployment rate in her home state, then cites ever-popular, incredibly misleading “right to work” legislation to “keep the unions out” and gets applause. She also talks about passing “business friendly legislation” – which is secret conservo-code for “fuck the poor.” We’ve seen what business friendly legislation looks like, and it is NEVER good for working people, particuarly POC.

On the flip side, her rambling video about smashing abortion rights repeats the word “life” no less than six times in 41 seconds, revealing the dearth of ideas and logical arguments in this theocratic stance. But at least Nikki yaks in a much less enthusiastic way. Maybe because her womb is punching her in the gut for so eagerly ceding control of her body to the state? Who can say? She’s obviously an educated, well-spoken woman, despite her crazy ass ideas. I’m hoping on some level, she realizes what an insane stance she’s promoting here, and is only doing so to become a viable candidate in her zany party.

And speaking of that party – regarding Haley’s candidacy, South Carolina Republican state senator Jake Knotts said, “We’ve already got a raghead in the White House. We don’t need another raghead in the governor’s mansion.” That kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it? Maybe Nikki Haley has some kind of secret urge to be beaten and humiliated, but that’s not properly “Christian” enough, so she gets her abuse by staying Republican instead. I don’t know.

But the cyanide cherry on top of the turd sundae is the fact that Nikki has received the “Strom Thurmond Excellence in Public Service and Government Award” from the “S.C. Federation of Republican Women.” I think the only thing more ironic than naming a good government award after Strom fucking Thurmond is giving it to a POC who, if Strom had his way, wouldn’t even be able to use the same bathroom as white women. I mean let’s be real here – this guy staged a 24 hour straight filibuster against the Civil Rights Act. If that’s your idea of good government, what the hell counts as bad government?

This comes to a larger issue – why is it that Asian Americans are only getting visibility in the most stupidly conservative positions? Why do they have to change their names to get elected? (Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, I’m looking at you!) Do we have to endorse the absolute worst, most racist kinds of American policies and ideas to get any kind of representation in the higher echelons of government?

The only comfort I get from this whole shitty situation is that my slam poem about Ms. Haley will be good for another 4 years at least. Then again, her moronic policies will probably ensure that her state remains piss poor with a higher-than-average-unemployment rate, and my Northern tax dollars will continue to flow into her big-government hating state.

Hey, Nikki – you can criticize us “tax and spend liberals” when you pay for your own fucking stop signs, okay?

Justin Woo is a writer, spoken word artist, theatre artist, and DJ in Jersey City, NJ. He writes cranky screeds with hopes of changing the world. Also, for the lolz.


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4 thoughts on “Nikki Haley: Reformed Sikh, Proud Tea Partier

  1. I’m a Sikh American, and a writer, and while I agree with the overall sentiments in this piece, I don’t know if it is some orientalist tendency to want to insert the word Sikh every time someone mentions this women, be they on the left or the right. She has clearly thrown her Sikh faith out the door, and from a lot of young Sikh Americans’ perspectives, does not have an ounce of our loyalty, nevermind her crazy political affiliations. So, why does everyone else keep assuming it is ok to call her a Sikh? (I don’t want to get into a religious conversation about the many reasons why she is not a Sikh. For the sake of the plainly informed, she herself says she is not one.) Why do we have to carry such people on our turbanned heads as dirty laundry??? Please don’t embarrass us further, the TSA is busy occupying our time with public airport indignities as we speak.

    Just wanted to write something because even though I am so on your side, I’m offended by the title, the pretense. She’s not a Sikh by any far reaches. We have no concept of reformism. Her religion is the Tea Party. Why can’t we just say that?


  2. Hi PK!

    Thanks for reading! It’s always much appreciated.

    You raise a good point. I wrote the article and CBruhs wrote the title (as I’m lousy at that). I can understand that you don’t want to carry this woman around as part of your religion (I sure wouldn’t), especially since she converted to Methodism.

    The “reformed Sikh” remark in the title is meant as a joke. We realize that she is not a Sikh anymore, and the “reformed” was meant as a sarcastic dig at her conversion, which I believe is simple political opportunism (it was done at age 24, when political calculations were surely part of her decision).

    In my eyes (CBruhs can feel free to clarify her intent), “reformed Sikh” was written not to reference some kind of non-existent “reform Sikhism” but rather to mock the hell out of her for bailing on her ethnic and religious heritage. It’s one thing to assimilate (I’m pretty damn American, being 2nd Gen on one side and 3rd Gen on the other) and it’s quite another to basically join the jackasses who are oppressing brown folks all over the planet, particularly at home.

    If anything, your attitude towards her is exactly how I feel about her (I’m not a Sikh, but I am an Asian-American, and it annoys me that she and Bobby Jindal are the only representation we have on the national stage.)

    That being said, if someone finds the title offensive (particularly someone who I seem to see eye to eye with on politics), I’m more than willing to change it.


  3. “This comes to a larger issue – why is it that Asian Americans are only getting visibility in the most stupidly conservative positions?”

    Haley and Jindal have gotten a lot of press, recently, but there are plenty of notable Asian American politicians who are not conservatives: Norm Mineta, Mike Honda, Gary Locke, Daniel Inouye, and the recently elected Judy Chu are all Democratic Party politicians with national stature. And, locally, there are innumerable liberal Asian Americans in California State government and local municipal governments.

    And as odious as I find Haley’s politics, I think she has the freedom to make the individual decision to be what she wants to be. Just because she was born Sikh does not mean she has to remain Sikh in order to not be a “sell-out.”

    If she believes what she believes — and there’s no evidence to the contrary — then she’s not a sell-out…she’s just an arch-conservative jackass.


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