Nina Davuluri, Miss New York, made history when she was crowned Miss America. She is the first Miss America to be of Indian decent and, unfortunately, this brought out the worst qualities in many Americans: racism and ignorance.
This backlash mimics the 1983 crowning of Vanessa Williams, the first African-American Miss America, and the 1945 crowning of Bess Myerson, the first Jewish Miss America.
Miss America is not supposed to be judged on her race. The categories of the Miss America competition are talent; evening wear; lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit; private interview; and on-stage question.
Of course, people took to the Twittersphere to voice their opinions on the crowning, and the haters voiced their opinions in numbers.
Rather than rejoicing in such a cultural stride, they cast a shadow over the win.
One Tweeter, whom we chose not to name, wrote “congratulations Al-Qaeda. Our Miss America is one of you. Miss America is a terrorist. Whatever. It’s fine.”
This guy needs to brush up on his facts. Davuluri is in fact American, as she was born in Syracuse, NY.
She is also not affiliated with the terrorist group nor is she Muslim or Arab as many other tweets proclaim. She is Hindu.
Another wrote “I swear I’m not racist but this is America. Have we forgotten 9/11?”
Besides just being flat-out incorrect, these small-minded people are the face of what is wrong with America.
Even Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes, @toddstarnes, tweeted about the judges’ decision. One of his tweets said, “the liberal Miss America judges won’t say this — but Miss Kansas lost because she actually represented American values.”
Nothing against Miss Kansas, but does Davuluri not represent the heart of American values? She embraces her heritage and ethnicity, yet is proud to be an American.
It may be cliché, but it is important to note that our country is built on diversity and many would argue that is the beauty of it.
How has a piece of this country so dramatically rejected the fundamental American ideals, yet ironically claimed to be more American than others?
For those people who still insist Miss America is a big enough platform to criticize, find something legitimate to pick her apart for, such as her reported comments proclaiming that the previous Miss America is “fat as (expletive).”
All in all, though, this is just a pageant.
If you want to fight for something, find a cause that may actually impact people in some way. Miss America’s race is not one of those fights.
“Americans come in all ethnicities and skin colors. We need to remember that,” one tweeter wrote in support of the crowning.
Fortunately, in the larger context, this is just a piece of the American opinion.
Miss America 2014 just goes to show we are embracing a growing multicultural makeup and are proud of it.
“I’ve grown up with so many stereotypes about my culture, I just knew that [racial equality] was something I needed to advocate for,” Davuluri said. “A lot of the remarks weren’t meant to be malicious, but just due to the fact of ignorance.”