Minority Minsters in Media: A Study on Digital Representations of Canadian Sikh Politicians in Mainstream Media and Their Effects on Race Relations in Canada by Sohela Suri

Dec 2017
Abstract
Abstract: Focusing on Harjit Singh Sajjan and Navdeep Singh Bains of the Trudeau
Administration, this project analyzes the effects of popular digital representations of Canadian
Sikh Ministers, in daily news, on race relations in Canada, as quantified by representations of
hate crimes. These representations are analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively; this study looks
to how many representations in major media there are as well as what the specifics of certain
representations do. This research draws on scholarly journals and theoretical articles for
analysis; it uses them to determine the significance of specific representations and
representations generally. It also examines primary sources, such as images from newspaper
articles from the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and Metro News about Minster Harjit Singh
Sajjan and Minister Navdeep Singh Bains to discuss the importance of positive representations
of Sikhs and explore how positive stereotypes are employed. The study finds that positive
digital representations of diasporic communities in politics are key to evoking social change and
affecting social life. Moreover, this study undermines the notion that political participation
alone is sufficient to cause social change, as digital representation of participation is integral.

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Sohela Kaur Suri graduated from Michigan State University’s James Madison College with a Bachelor’s
degree in Comparative Cultures and Politics with an emphasis in Canadian Law at the age of 19. While
completing her undergraduate degree Sohela made the Dean’s List multiple times. She also won first
place in the Global and Area Studies division in the MSU University Undergraduate Research and Arts
Forum for her research on hate crimes and post‐9/11 racialization of Sikh men. Also, while completing
her degree Sohela worked for Michigan State Representative Stephanie Chang, the MSU Office of
International Students and Scholars, and Wakulat Dhirani LLP. In addition, she was involved with campus
organizations like MSU Asha for Education, an organization which fundraises for impoverished schools in
India, and MSU C.A.R.E, a community oriented volunteer organization which facilitates service projects
throughout the greater Lansing area. Sohela intends on pursuing a career in international trade and
business law; she is currently an executive legal assistant at White Law PLLC, a top litigation firm based
in Okemos, MI. She is currently assisting on People v Howard Croft (Case No. 16TC2850‐FY), one criminal
proceeding in the Flint Water Crisis where the Defendant is being charged with Manslaughter and False
Pretenses, and Lindsey Lemke et al v Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics et al (Case No. 1:17‐
cv‐00257) the civil proceedings resulting from the University’s negligence in the Larry Nassar scandal.
Sohela is from Grand Rapids, Michigan.