He talks about the racism he faced growing up in Derby.
16 JUN 2020
A Derby school worker has revealed how he grew up having to cope with racism.
Kalwinder Singh Dhindsa, a science technician at Littleover Community School, says he was pilloried for having a traditional Sikh “top knot” hairstyle – but then when he cut it off, says he felt he lost his sense of identity.
He has also spoken about living in Normanton and how some “blinkered” people thought because of that, he would be associated with crime.
Kalwinder says writing about his experiences have helped him cope – and he has penned a stinging rebuke to the racists and bullies in the shape of a poem called “Paki”.
Kalwinder speaks about various experiences including racism, growing up in Normanton, his heroes and coping with the death of his father and feels the lockdown has helped him to engage with more people and can help others to cope with any of the same experiences.
Man with beard and brown skin.
“Mr Khan”, they laugh and grin.
Silly little fools without a clue.
Laughing at me is laughing at you.
Show some respect an observe our faces.
We’re all pakis to ignorant racists
The 40-year-old said: “My poetry allows me to identify topics that are relevant and I feel a lot of my listeners can relate to them.
“I spent 28 years of my life living in Normanton, and the stigma that is attached to living in the area is something I have experienced first hand.
“I experienced racism from a young age, I was called names and because I wore a top knot due to my religion, people would often call me a girl and even though it was a symbol of my faith, I had a lot of resentment to my culture.
“I then decided to cut my hair when I was 15 and lost a sense of my identity, I tried to fit in but people would not identify me as being a Sikh and would be called other horrible names.
“Growing up, racism has evolved, there have been instances where I have gone for job interviews or told people which area I live in and they instantly assume I am bad or I’m involved in criminal activity.
“This is wrong and I know so many others like me have experienced this, I want people to talk and share their problems so we can help and encourage positivity and help people steer away from mental health issues.
“During lockdown, I have been doing Facebook Lives and they are going really well, I talk about identity, religion and history and connect it back to my home city of Derby.
“I am proud of where I come from and my poetry reflects that, especially with what is currently happening in the world with the Black Lives Matter protests, I am happy people are speaking up and identifying what’s happening in the world.”