Racists comments flood Twitter after Miss America pageant


Natalie Gray

Although we live in the land of the free, home of the brave, America is still fearing what we don’t understand. 

Twitter exploded last week with tweets from ignorant people making appalling comments regarding Nina Davuluri, the first contestant of East Indian heritage to become Miss America.

This shows racism isn’t dead in America. 

Twitter feeds filled with comments like: “And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic” ,“This is America. Not India”, “9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America?”, “Miss America right now or miss Al Qaeda?” and “More like Miss Terrorist #MissAmerica.” 

The people who wrote these comments fail to realize a rather big point – she is American and she is not the first culturally diverse winner of this pageant. 

“There’s definitely some history behind those comments – those opinions are coming from somewhere,” said Multi-Cultural Center Program Coordinator Jessica Castellon. “I think that the anxiety people are feeling from the demographics changing is coming from historical stereotypes. But coming specifically after 9/11, her phenotype was demonized and grouped together. Even if she identifies with a different culture, what makes her un-American?”

America was not built on the hard work of white, blonde hair and blue eyed patriots. It was built on the slavery and exploitation of Native Americans and descendants from northeast Asia. 

So this American dream being shoved down everyone’s throat is really just for a bunch of ethnocentric racists who can’t accept that our country is not one big race and culture, but the compilation of many races and cultures, which came here to make a better life. 

“America is an immigrant society,” said philosophy professor David Denman. “We’re a miss-mash of ethnicities and cultural traditions. I think of being American as having a certain citizenship and being committed to a kind of idea. 

“I added citizenship here because I don’t think it’s just Americans that are committed to this idea and the only way to distinguish the American from the non-Americans committed to this idea is by citizenship. Being committed to this idea doesn’t preclude you from maintaining traditions from “the old country” or practicing non-Christian religions. In fact, arguing that Americans should conform to a particular cultural practice or religion seems very un-American.”

Davuluri’s pageant platform was celebrating diversity through cultural competency. What an amazing concept that we are all capable of letting go of outdated ideas of what it means to be an American. 

Cultural competency can be broken down into four components: awareness of one’s own cultural worldview, attitude towards cultural differences, knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews and cross-cultural skills.

In other words, it’s based on the idea that we can set aside cultural biases and interact effectively to make the world a better place for everyone.

During an interview with Fox News, Davuluri said, “I have always viewed Miss America as the girl next door, but for me the girl next door’s evolving as the diversity in America evolves. It’s not who she was ten years ago, and she’s not going to be the same person ten years down the road.”

In a Facebook discussion between a few students and professors, Denman elaborated on the issue in the following dialogue. 

Dan Bennahmias: “There’s a difference between racism and being proud of your heritage. Obviously the word, ‘America,’ carries some historical, ethnic connotation to the people mad at the Miss America results. They believe a woman whose veins pump American blood should’ve won and I kind of agree. Indians didn’t find and civilize this land. They might have helped but they have Asian heritage, not American heritage.”

David Denman: “Ignoring issues about Native Americans here, the civilizations you’re talking about was, initially, a slave and indentured servant based economy. We’ve always been an immigrant society. That civilization of this land you’re talking about was mostly done by immigrants and by taking advantage of Africans, Native Americans and Chinese. So, by your reasoning, we should have a problem here because she’s too white.” 

Unfortunately, this was not the first time social media fanatics used the Internet as a public forum for their racism.

Some examples are when Cheerios aired a commercial with a black dad and white mom and their child, or when the “Hunger Games” character Rue was played by a black actress, or when a latino boy singing the national anthem during an NBA game in San Antonio.

Calling Davuluri an Arab-muslim terrorist, only furthers the incorrect assumption that someone is less American because their ancestors came from Europe, Asia or Africa, etc. The sad thing about this assumption, is the blatant disregard for the fact we all descend from immigrants.

“People attached an identity to her,” Castellon said. “They consumed mass amounts of media and made assumptions based on stereotypes by calling her muslim, terrorist, etc. 

“If she came out and said ‘I am Christian’ people might have said oh well she’s brown but she’s christian so I’m okay with it. They think that if someone fits into the old American ideals and values, they are suddenly validated as a true American. This is a country of immigrants. Every variation, color, religion, gender, class – that’s what makes America.”

After being crowned, Davuluri spoke at a press conference in Atlantic City where she said, “I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity. I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”