Racist reactions to the winner of Miss America

COMMENTARY BY:
BY ERIN McCORKMICK

The 87th annual Miss America pageant was held in Atlantic City, N.J., and Nina Davuluri, Miss New York, was crowned the winner Sept. 15. As the first Indian-American woman to win the competition, she broke down barriers for a whole new demographic of young women. Davuluri, who graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012 with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science, plans to become a cardiologist, which augments her status as a role model for girls across the nation.
However, not everyone around the country thought so.
Many who were less than satisfied with the decision took to Twitter to voice their misspelled and geographically inaccurate outrage:
“How the [expletive] does a foreigner win miss America? She is a Arab! #idiots”
“Miss New York is an Indian.. With all do respect, this is America”
“9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America?”
Davuluri was born in the United States, in Syracuse, N.Y., to immigrant parents. She has always been an American citizen. She was raised in the Hindu faith. These facts are contrary to those who saw her dark skin and non-European surname and assumed otherwise. Dark skin, shockingly, does not necessarily mean that someone is Muslim, Middle Eastern and/or a terrorist.
The heavy backlash from those who seem to be left speechless at the fact that Americans are not always white demonstrates a deep-seated problem in American society today. In our society, it is (thankfully) very frowned upon to show any trace of prejudice or racism to African-Americans. Yet the reaction of those to an Indian-American winning the pageant shows that we have not entered into a fully post-racial society just yet. Of course this is not true everywhere, or even in most places in the U.S., but it is often much more acceptable to demean South Asians and Middle Easterners based solely on their races and nothing else. As this specific demographic continues to grow in America, so does the issue at hand. Because until the nation learns to accept each and every race, we will still be stuck in an era that we had supposedly left in the past.

Contact the writer:
erin.mccorkmick@scranton.edu

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