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Why Miss America Nina Davuluri Should Be Celebrated, Not Condemned

After Nina Davuluri was the first Indian-American to take the title of Miss America last night, we thought society had finally taken a step in the right direction in accepting women of all nationalities as pageant winners. What we didn’t see coming was the atrocious, racist backlash on social media denouncing Davuluri as a “foreigner” who didn’t deserve to win an all-American competition.

Not only are these claims completely ignorant (some shockingly mislabeled her as a Muslim), but they go against the very ideals that make us the proud country we are today.

What makes America “America” is the quintessential melting pot of different cultures. We’re a country built on diversity that prides itself on being tolerant of all kinds of humans, no matter their race, sexual orientation, or heritage. If anything, an Indian-American is way more representative of the United States today than the standard Protestant Caucasian that was the norm decades ago.

Our new Miss America is a testament to the “American Dream.” That a minority individual can compete and go on to win such a prestigious title should give us hope that we all have a chance to succeed. Especially when racial and ethnic minorities comprise about half of the under-5 age group, it’s important that we have a role model who reflects this progressive shift; yet instead, we have angry Tweeters, putting arbitrary restrictions on who is deemed “fit” to be the American poster child.

Whatever happened to being a well-rounded nation? We have a black president, females in Congress, and now we have an Indian-American as our Miss America. The negative responses to her crowning are just appalling, disgusting and perpetuate the hate and bigotry that threatens the livelihood of the millions that make up our country. To slander Miss America is to slander your own nation.

What should have been a shining moment for Miss America history was trashed by the bigots hiding behind social media. Shame on them and shame on anyone who tries to define what parameters make someone a “true” American. If we can’t accept an Indian pageant queen than how can we accept the other 116 million non-white citizens of this country?

It’s important to remember that we all came from somewhere. Whether we were born here or immigrated here, the fact is that we’re all present and we’re all members of this society, regardless of how we got here. Exotic blends will always be more interesting than one-note vanilla.

Photo credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

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Laura Argintar

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