On Sunday September 15th the Miss America Pageant crowned Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, as the 2014 Miss America. After her win there was an immediate onslaught of hate speech all over social media. Complaints of her being Arab and a terrorist were common as well as outrage over this happening so close to the anniversary of 9-11 echoed all over twitter accompanied by general racism.
Not only were people voicing their dislike of our new reigning Miss America but also many people voiced their support for Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail. The masses voiced their opinion that Miss Vail was a “Real American woman” and deserved the titled over Miss Davuluri. Vail is White and blonde and Davuluri is of Indian descent but both are very much American.
Not only am I deeply offended by these comments as a woman of color and as a fellow member of the A/PI community but also I am appalled by the sheer ignorance of people. How can people hate one person so much but not even know her actual ethnicity? Frankly, I would be surprised if most of these people remember her name today after writing such terrible things about Davuluri just two days before. I cannot comprehend what drives this type thinking and how someone would think that such hate is acceptable.
What can we do, people who identify with Nina Davuluri being so excited for her triumph just to be ripped to shreds? Do we yell back, fill the Internet with our own accusations and slurs? Do we wait for it to blow over (I mean twitter can’t take away her crown)? Or like Nina Davuluri do we choose “to rise above that” and keep working to be successful role models for others like us?
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