Last night, a group of ambitious young women competed for the title of Miss America. These women not only came from different states, they represented an eclectic mix of culture and ancestry representative of the America I am proud to live in today.
The diversity of contestants definitely added to the contest’s appeal, though I thought most of the introductions, made by the women themselves, were uncomfortably topical. However, I was locked into the contest until after the formal wear portion when I turned in for the evening, so I did not find out who won, or about the resulting fallout, until this morning when I scrolled through Twitter on the bus to work.
When I saw that Indian-American Nina Davuluri, Miss New York, had earned the "Miss America" title, my momentary sense of “Hey, alright!” was replaced by disgust when I read how some of our fellow Americans reacted to the decision.
I will not post derogatory comments that were made, but you may be able to guess that they were racist, bigoted, and came from a place of ignorance. Some were ignorant enough to link Ms. Davuluri to "terrorism."
Instead of celebrating the differences that make America a great country, these people sullied their fellow American’s newfound honor. Unfortunately, racism and bigotry is not unique to the several viewers who flocked to Twitter in an effort to make their voices heard.
Ms. Davuluri confidently said that she would rise above the comments and she should be applauded for that. Unfortunately, it appears that she will continue to deal with racial nonsense, and that is tragic.
This year’s contest was novel in many senses of the word. The first contest to bare tattoos and serve as an active-duty member of the military competed late into the night. The talent competition included traditional Irish dancing, a miraculous Bollywood-inspired dance number from the winner, and reflected many subcultures that make America a true melting pot.
Today’s America is more diverse, multicultural, and worldly than ever. The fact that an Indian-American woman won the Miss America contest is evidence of this step in the right direction.
The winner of Miss America is someone who should be celebrated because the person is dedicating themselves to a year of public service, making other people feel better about themselves, and acting as a role model for children across the U.S. Though the contest is often criticized for its reflection of women, this year’s cast of contestants were some of the most American I have seen. I wish Ms. Davaluri well during her tenure as Miss America because she earned the title and is as American as the next citizen.