Friday, June 4th, 2010

Tell South Carolina Senator Knotts You Are Not a “Raghead”

June 4, 2010 (Washington, D.C.) — This morning the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) called upon South Carolina State Senator Jake Knotts to apologize for racist remarks he made yesterday. On a local internet talk show, Pub Politics, Senator Knotts said,  “We’ve already got a raghead in the White House, we don’t need another raghead in the governor’s mansion,”  about President Barack Obama and a candidate for governor in the upcoming elections in South Carolina.

Join SALDEF in asking South Carolina Republican State Senator Jake Knotts to apologize for the unmerited and hate filled comments that he made yesterday referring to both President Barack Obama and South Carolina State Representative and Gubernatorial candidate Nikky Haley as ragheads.


In an attempt to backtrack from his outlandish comments, Knotts went on to say that “My ‘raghead’ comments about Obama and Haley were intended in jest. Bear in mind that this is a freewheeling, anything-goes Internet radio show that is broadcast from a pub. It’s like local political version of Saturday Night Live.”

In another failed attempt to rationalize his comments, Knotts said, “Since my intended humorous context was lost in translation, I apologize. I still believe Ms. Haley is pretending to be someone she is not, much as Obama did, but I apologize to both for an unintended slur.”

“There is no place for comments like this is any situation, especially by political officials and public servants, and we are disappointed in Senator Knotts,” said SALDEF Associate Executive Director Jasjit Singh. “Such divisive comments only serve to further weaken the diversity that has made our country so strong. Racial slurs are unacceptable no matter the supposed intent of humor. We call on Senator Knotts to offer a real apology for his divisive comments and recognize the hateful nature of the term ‘raghead’.”


Since the tragic events of 9/11, Sikh Americans and others have been the victims of discrimination, bias motivated attacks, and hate crimes because of their perceived ethnicity or religion.  Terms such as “raghead” have been a common feature in these incidents of harassment.

SALDEF is deeply concerned with comments like these that consistently try and categorize Sikh Americans, or anyone of Arab, Muslim or South Asian descent, as being un-American or having intentions to harm the country.

Read More about this Issue:
-    Knotts’ slur stirs the Haley storm (The State)
-    Knotts’  ‘Raghead’ Remark: Haley and Obama Called Racial Slur (Huffington Post)
-    SALDEF Press Statement
-    SALDEF Letter to Sen. Knotts

7 Responses to “Tell South Carolina Senator Knotts You Are Not a “Raghead””

  1. Ragheads ! says:

    [...] Ragheads ! SALDEF is on top of this one! Check it out at Tell South Carolina Senator Knotts You Are Not a “Raghead” SALDEFReference:: Sikh Philosophy Network (Ragheads [...]

  2. Rudy says:

    Sen Knott: you and your ilk are so far behind the forces in South Carolina. Nicki Haley is of South Asian descent with a proud heritage of diversity and democrcay and for you to belittle her candidacy shows that you deserved to be retired post haste. Hope my wish comes true.

  3. Hardas Singh says:

    As a Sikh and a conservative I am very disappointed in your childish comments. Sikh values are conservative values in my opinion that is why I vote for the same party as you do, so why are you trying to convince voters to NOT choose your party? Nikki Haley is a Republican as well so I hope she will be able to prevent the damage you have caused to the conservative image and more importantly to the Sikh community regardless of whether they are South Asian or came to Sikhi from another background. I will not allow my brothers and sisters to be disrespected like this…

  4. RealGentleman says:

    What was that I heard about “Southern Gentlemen”?

  5. C YNGVE says:

    The Republican’s have said REPEATEDLY that they are not racists. Every time they get caught by the public making a boneheaded ethnic slur they apologize. They are sorry (they got caught)! How many passes do you get before you admit to being backward bigots and racists? An apology from a good ole’ boy, is like shampoo instructions; rinse, lather, repeat. Except for them is seems to be; racebait, feign apology, repeat. How about…go, and slur no more? That would be a novel approach for all the ‘I’m not a racist, I just play one in sound bites’ Conservatives.

  6. [...] On a sidenote, a pagh salute to our brothers and sisters at SALDEF for hearing the calls and giving a statement. [...]

  7. Tom says:

    Sometimes I hate being a white southerner. Sen Knotts is the reason why.

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