The racial hatred toward Nina Davuluri — the first contestant of Indian heritage to be crowned Miss America – was swift, relentless, and ugly.
“How the f–k does a foreigner win miss America? She is a Arab! #idiots,”’ one man tweeted after Davuluri’s historic moment.
“If you’re #MissAmerica you should have to be American,” another woman wrote.
“9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America?” said another man.
I guess the racists forgot — or don’t care — that Davuluri is actually an American citizen with a college degree. But all they see is a woman of color who reminds them of terrorism. And her skillful performance — a classical Bollywood dance during the Miss America Pageant’s talent segment – sent the bigots completely over the edge.
“This is America, not India.”
One called Davuluri “Miss 7-11.”
“Nice slap in the face to the people of 911. How pathetic.”
The events of September 11 were undoubtedly tragic and horrific, but Davuluri didn’t have anything to do with it.
Davuluri graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science. She was born in Syracuse, New York, and when she was four years old she moved to Oklahoma and then Michigan with her family before returning to New York six years ago. Her parents immigrated to Missouri from India in 1981.
Davuluri says her father, a gynecologist, inspired her to pursue a career in medicine. She wants to be a cardiologist.
Americans should be proud that Davuluri was crowned Miss America instead of vilifying her. She is intelligent, focused, accomplished and, as a doctor, she wants to help save lives.
Seems to me that Davuluri should be hailed as a role model for young women – regardless of skin color. And she also manages to brush aside the racist assaults with dignity.
“I have to rise above that,” Davuluri said about the racist backlash. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”
“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” Davuluri added. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”
It’s difficult for racists to embrace diversity, which is sweeping the nation and changing the racial landscape for generations to come. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 50.4 percent of America’s population younger than age 1 are minorities.
Simply put, America is becoming blacker and browner – and less white. For many white Americans, it’s a harsh reality that some refuse to accept.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States, says there are 1,007 known hate groups operating across the country, including neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, black separatists, and border vigilantes.
Since 2000, the number of hate groups has increased by 67 percent, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. This surge has been fueled by anger and fear over an influx of non-white immigrants, the diminishing white majority – and the election of President Barack Obama.
“I’m not a racist,” one woman wrote about Davuluri in an online blog. “She is representing America doing an Indonesian dance. If it was a Miss Universe pageant it would have been cool.”
America’s racial demographics are changing. Get over it – or get out of the way.