When I was watching this year’s Miss America competition, I recall being impressed by lots of things. For example, that last year’s queen wasn’t a teeny little twig, but a beautiful, fit, and curvy woman. Or that some of the girls during swimsuit had strong thighs and bootys! And that Miss Arkansas was a veteran who refused to hide her tattoos; miss Florida made it to ithe top five in a bedazzled knee brace and sans heels; that miss New York was the first Indian-American woman to represent her home state.
As the judges whittled down to the final two, my mom mentioned that it was awesome that two women of color were vying for the title, and how far we’ve come since she was my age.
Call me naive or progressive, but I immediately thought that Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, being crowned Miss America was a good thing. Actually, a great thing – I was proud that my country, so often criticized for its bigotry and racism, picked a beautiful, educated, and talented woman to serve as a role model to its young girls. Not because of or in spite of her color, but because she was the right choice.
Needless to say, I was pretty shocked when social media exploded with ignorant, racist comments claiming that “this is America” as if miss New York isn’t an American. America is a nation of immigrants; we all came here from some other place at some point in time.
Secondly, there’s a difference between ethnicity and nationality. If your great-great-great grandparents came from France, you’re ethnically French. Since you’re a citizen of the U.S., though, your nationality is American. Believe it or not, “American” is not an ethnicity. Miss Davuluri’s family came from India; regardless of where your family came from, both of you are legit Americans.
As to those claiming the lovely Nina Davuluri is an Arab or a terrorist – if you can’t point out India on a map, you’re probably not in a place to be hating on anyone. Especially someone talented and successful, and assuredly much more proficient in basic geography.
So, congrats to the only, true, real Miss America this year. Regardless of the racist banter across twitter land, I’m still proud that a woman of color will serve as Miss America 2014. Our nation is moving forward, just with coinciding growing pains – which are only highlighted by social media’s ability to give anyone, even ignorant idiots, a bigger voice.
I wish the professional media would act a little more professional and focus on the fact that this is a huge step for our country. This is Miss Davuluri’s time to shine, not whatever racist bumpkin happens to have a twitter/Facebook account.
Congrats Miss New York! You’ve got a tough (but still awesome) year ahead of you.