Monday, September 16, 2013
Miss America (behind the backlash)
Yesterday, history was made in my country.
The first woman of Indian descent was crowned Miss America.
As an American who also has Indian blood, I was incredibly proud. But that taste of victory was short-lived. From the moment Nina Davuluri was named the winner, articles started to appear all over the Internet revealing racist tweets against the 24-year-old.
There was no time to smile. No time to feel pride. Nope. It was here's the crown, and then a barrage of hate.
What really pisses me off is that these racist tweets only represent a tiny, pathetic little fraction of the United States (.005 % of the population) but when you put all those tweets together, they seem like the entire country is on a full-blown rampage against brown people. Because the media magnifies it and blows it entirely out of proportion.
What a lot of people don't realize is these articles are meant to shock other Americans by saying "Look! There are still people in this country who are jaw-droppingly ignorant!". That's all.
But, unfortunately, now the entire world is horrified of people in the United States. They don't understand that these tweets represent a tiny percentage of uneducated Americans.
I think it is very important that people all over the world understand that most of these racist people on Twitter do not really hate Indians in particular. It's a general racism which stems from something much more abstract and complex. These people are uneducated. They were raised in a hateful environment. These are people who can't afford to go to college. They are not book smart. They couldn't point out France on a map. And seeing more and more brown people come here and do incredibly well (i.e. become doctors living in huge houses) makes them bitter.
These racist people were not raised to do well in science and math. They were not encouraged to do well in school. The only jobs they could find were menial work (like tele-marketing) and then those jobs got shipped over to India.
Oh, and then the 9/11 terror attacks happened. Brown people all look the same to these racist people. They don't know the difference between Iraq and India. A brown person with a funny name is an Arab to them. A Hindu is a Muslim. Even with the world at their fingertips, they don't bother to educate themselves about these things online because they DON'T CARE. They just want to hate.
What is more ironic is that the way the majority of Americans view these hate-spewing rednecks is the same exact way the majority of Muslims view the terrorists. They're disgusted, horrified, and angry. But, the rest of the world clumps them all together anyway.
Please don't clump all Americans together. These tweets do not reveal reality. They reveal circumstantial stupidity.
What breaks my heart is that these few people who tweeted racist remarks are stealing the spotlight away from the winner.
Our Miss America plans on being a doctor. Did you know that? Probably not.
There are millions of little girls out there, of Indian descent, who watched television last night, mesmerized by a dream coming true. Proud of where their parents and grandparents came from. Excited for the future because another Indian-American girl proved right there on camera that anything is possible.
You can be Miss America. You can be beautiful. You can be a doctor.
That's the real story.