Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

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.


Andrés Corella said...

I´m so happy she won, such a beautiful woman. Its to bad about the tweets..but you know is not just about brown people I think its something about foreigners all together...or at least what that specific group of haters consider foreigners because I remembered what happened when Marc Anthony sang the anthem and all the hate comments that spawned from that act...someone pointed out that is like an aversion to everthing that is not considered american by some wierd standards, for example if they were not born there, or have an "american" name, or are not white, etc...It is just sad these things are happening.

The Dainty Dolls House said...

I think it's really sad. We shouldn't let the small majority of small minded people stop the celebrations. I am happy and proud that she won. Being brown skinned (mixed raced) I got mistaken for every race under the sun except the ones I am growing up and people thought I was bad and a terrorist because of my tanned skin, it's obvious that all the bad people look the same...they just have brown skin. Ignorance isn't bliss unlike what they say & people need more education and time taken to teach people our differences, but also our likenesses. America is a big melting pot of all races & they needs more emphasis. I'd love to see all races win these awards & maybe one day there won't be a need to comment on their race, but just be happy for the person that they are. xx

Tanvi said...

Well said!

Upasna Kakroo said...

think it's always easier for the media (and all else) to pick up stories that are offensive- just because it gets more eyeballs. So unfortunate. But I also find it weird that so many Indians (and the Indian media) is picking on the story as if it's insulting to India in some way, while the story is, that it is an American girl (whatever the descent) in an American show. Perhaps, though, it will help Indians see that you don't need to be obsessive about fairness.

Upasna at Someplace Else

Kim Alston said...

I was so happy to hear that she won! I didn't watch it, but when I saw all of the reports I was like yessss! HAHAHA I went to sleep and when I woke up this morning I heard about all of the racist comments. THAT made me sad. Jen, there's a lot of racism in America. It's not just the poor, but it's also the middle class and rich. I've experienced it growing up. When I had non-professional jobs one person refused to put money in my hand (because he didn't want to touch me) and a really affluent person of New Orleans refused to work with me because she said black people don't have style. Professionally, people have been jealous of my salary and what I make. So I've experienced it all. Unfortunately, people have been much nicer to me from International countries than my own. I love my country, but not everybody in it.

Nia Langley said...

I completely agree with you. In fact, I quoted you on my blog post.

The Grande Dame said...

I completely agree with you. And it's so irritating that media will repeat and re-tweet the hurtful things people say just to sell their own publications. I try to pay attention to the positive. It's also annoying from my perspective to see such stupidity from another country splashed everywhere because I would love to visit the USA and at times it does seem like all I'd meet would be the stupid people, which is so obviously not the case!

Barry said...

Beautifully said Jen. She's smart, gorgeous and obviously had everything it takes to win. I think it's wonderful that she was chosen and I don't see what all the fuss is about.

Oh to Be a Muse said...

So I don't really watch pageants. I only found out that Miss America was on and that an Indian girl won because we're friends on Fb. I saw her photo and thought she looked beautiful and more power to her. Then I found out (via the intanetz) that people were being racist. This was super annoying to me mainly because of what you said--people are now putting all the attention on the small group of silly people who had racist things to say. Most people don't feel that way. And you can guarantee that there will always be backlash when anyone wins a big contest like this who is not from the majority race...simply because people like to stir for no damn reason.

So let's put the spotlight back on Nina and congrats to her!

Oh to Be a Muse
Shop Layered Muse

Laia herrero said...

I diden't know anything about those tweets and this sad situation with these poor indian girl, you and the indian community of the USA should be proud of her and don't pay attention to "stupid and uneducated" people around the world.
Really happy to back to read you Jen.
Well said!

Shybiker said...

Racism = ignorance. I'm sorry the idiotic remarks of a few diminished your joy and pride in this nice achievement.

When I read this story in the newspaper, my reaction was "Oh boy! She's from New York!"

beingFab said...

Absolutely correct. Those haters are just desperate attention seekers anyway, out to steal that pretty girl's thunder.

Aditi So-Saree said...

Jenny, this is such a beautiful post. Thnx for writing it..i love u even more now..!


SG Angela said...

regardless i am happy she won. those hateful racists are just ignorant bunch.

sherene said...

i feel thw same
Megan Young of the Philippines was recently crowned Miss World 2013 and this certain Divina Diva told she was surprised we can do anything else adide from
being a maid.
What a racist:(

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