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Memo From Middle America | The First Indian Miss America—“Too Dark” To Be Miss India?
Nina Davuluri, Miss New York, 25, was recently crowned Miss America. [New York's Nina Davuluri crowned 2014 Miss America, NY Daily News, September 15, 2013] She was born in Syracuse, New York—her parents immigrated from India in 1981. That made Nina the first Miss America of Asian Indian ancestry.
What a step forward!
And think of this – it was in 1983, exactly thirty years ago, that the pageant crowned its first black Miss America, Vanessa Williams! (Also from Syracuse!!)
The Miss America pageant is definitely on the cutting edge, isn’t it?
Wikipedia’s Miss America page even has a list of “Miss America Firsts for Minorities”!
In other words, identity politics trumps all. The Main Stream Media goes on and on about the first XYZ Miss America, the first XYZ astronaut, the first XYZ President of the United States—you name it.
And as a result, even the white contestants too are now promoted by their “firsts.” Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, was touted as the first pageant contestant to show off tattoos in the swimsuit competition!
Miss Montana was the first autistic contestant! Miss Iowa was the first contestant to be born without part of an arm!
Just being a pretty girl is passé these days.
In hyping the Indian Miss America, the MSM stressed two points:
- The First Miss America of (Asian) Indian ancestry—what a milestone! Translation: “Look how far we’ve come.”
- The supposed racist backlash against the Indian Miss America, perpetrated by racist American whites who don’t like Diversity. Translation: “Look how far we still have to go.”
So what sort of horrible abuse was visited upon Miss Davuluri?
- Was she physically attacked, as many white American women are by minorities?
- Was she hanged in effigy? That’s what somebody did with a dummy of Sarah Palin.
- Was she kicked out of the pageant, as John Derbyshire was kicked out of National Review, Pat Buchanan off MSNBC, and Jason Richwine out the Heritage Foundation?
No, Miss Davuluri, Miss America, was at the receiving end of some ugly “tweets”.
Horror of horrors! Not the tweets!
Let’s allow the Washington Post to explain this outrage to us….
….As soon as Davuluri was declared the first Indian American titleholder, a chorus of jerks on Twitter expressed their outrage that Miss America could be a “terrorist,” mistakenly saying she was of Middle Eastern origin and making clumsy leaps from there. The racist jokes about 7-Eleven convenience stores seemed to get her heritage right but were no less offensive.
WaPo hastened to assure us, however, that the new Miss America was handling this situation well, even using it to promote multiculturalism:
As her new job requires, Davuluri handled the onslaught with positivity and poise, and related it back to her platform, conveniently called “Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency.” She’s also launched “Circles of Unity,” a social-media campaign to promote multiculturalism and civil discourse.
Miss America fights post-pageant racism with a beauty queen’s poise, By Maura Judkis, Washington Post, September 22, 2013
Yes, the Indian Miss America is going to use her position as a platform to educate retrograde Americans, as CNN assures us:
The fact that her win Sunday spurred a torrent of racist reactions online—many along the lines that she doesn't represent what the United States is—didn't surprise Davuluri. She'd experienced it on a smaller scale when she became the first Miss New York of Indian descent. Davuluri sees it as her mission to tackle such stereotypes head on. It's why the daughter of two Indian-born parents has a pageant platform of "celebrating diversity through cultural competence." "I wanted to be the first Indian Miss America, to be that symbol of a new face for the organization," she said Wednesday. "And to let younger girls know that regardless of race, their socioeconomic status, their religion that anyone can become not only Miss America, but anything."
First Miss America of Indian descent embraces discussion on diversity, by Greg Botelho, CNN, September 19, 2013
You know that part of the pageant, near the end, when there are only two contestants left, and when they play up the suspense before announcing the winner?
At that point, the two contestants were Davuluri, the Indian-American contestant—and Chinese-American Miss California Crystal Lee!
Davuluri gushed that ”We’re both so proud.We’re making history standing here as Asian Americans.” In fact, MSNBC told us that “This year’s Miss America pageant featured five Asian-American contestants—the most in Miss America history.” Miss America crown goes to an Indian American for first time, by Traci G. Lee, MSNBC, September 16, 2013
Of course, in the post-pageant press conference, the newly-crowned Historic First Indian Miss America proclaimed that “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.” Just because she performed a Bollywood dance routine in the pageant (photo here) doesn’t make her less American! Speaking on Good Morning America she emphasized that historical first too:
It was the first time Bollywood has ever been performed on the Miss America stage, and it’s such an honor for myself and my family, and the Indian community as well.
If you view America as something other than a real country, with a real culture and history, then indeed, America is just anything that anybody brings to it and there is no typical America or American. During the pageant itself, during the “interview questions”, Davuluri said that “I have always viewed Miss America as the girl next door, and the girl next door is evolving as the diversity in America evolves.”
So when Davuluri says she is “first and foremost an American” she actually means “American” in the sense of “the diversity in America”.
And the tweets? Just how bad were they? Here is a sampling which were considered “some of the worst tweets”:
- “I swear I’m not racist but this is America.”
- “If you’re #Miss America you should have to be American.”
- “WHEN WILL A WHITE WOMAN WIN #MISS AMERICA? Ever??!!”
- “And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic."
This tweeter was confused about Davuluri’s ancestry: Indians aren’t Arabs and Arabs aren’t Indians. Try calling an Arab an Indian or vice-versa.
Some of these dastardly tweeters were confused about Nina Davuluri’s religion, thinking she was a Muslim:
- "Well they just picked a Muslim for Miss America. That must've made Obama happy. Maybe he had a vote."
- "Congratulations Al-Qaeda. Our Miss America is one of you."
- "9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America?"
A couple of the one I saw though, did get her Indian background right:
- "Miss America? You mean Miss 7-11."
- "Even Miss America has been outsourced to India. #NinaDavuluri!"
What can we say? I mean, this is America, isn’t it—“the land of the free and the home of the brave”, “free speech” and all that?
Do people not have a right to express their opinions—good, bad, or ugly?
Or does that only apply to the purveyors of Leftist multiculturalism?
Besides, how many of these offending tweets were actually posted? I’ve never seen an actual count, but according to Miss America herself, there probably weren’t that many:
For one negative tweet, I received dozens of positive tweets and support from not only Indians, but the American people across the country and ... the world for that matter. It's been such an honor."
It sounds like the MSM is blowing these tweets out of proportion to support the Narrative–America is making progress! But there are still plenty of racists out there, so we need to redouble our efforts!!
Here’s an interesting question, though: suppose that Nina Davuluri’s parents had stayed in India? Suppose she had been born in India, the same person with the same genetic material and the same appearance. Could she have won Miss India?
(And there are many Miss Indias. The annual Femina Miss India contest has three winners, sending each to a different international pageant).
In fact, some tweeters were bold enough to ask that question:
- What’s interesting is Miss America Nina Davuluri would never win pageants in South Asia because she’d be too dark to be considered beautiful. (tweet by Anna John)
- The question is whether a girl as dark as Nina Davuluri could possibly have won Miss India? Knowing our fascination for fairness, maybe not! (tweet by Kushan Mitra)
Buzzfeed even ran a piece entitledIs Miss America Too Dark-Skinned To Ever Be Crowned Miss India? (by Rega Jha, September 17, 2013) pointing out that “With very few exceptions, Indian pageants have tended to reward fairer-skinned contestants.”
To illustrate this, the article includes photographs of the top three contestants from the 2013 Miss India contest; from 2012; and green-eyed Aishwarya Rai, (above, in red sari) a Miss India who was named Miss World, current Miss India Navneet Kaur Dhillon (Femina Miss World India 2013), and contrasts them all (below) with Nina Daruvuli.
The article also quotes anthropologist Susan Runkle, then a cultural anthropology candidate at Syracuse University, who sat in on Miss India training sessions ten years ago, and reported that “Every single one of the young women was taking some sort of medication to alter her skin, particularly in color”.
This issue has been taken up on various websites, on the Daily Beast by Tunku Varadarajan Miss America, Meet India’s ‘Dark’ Side (September 17, 2013) and the Indian website First Post Miss America Nina Davuluri: Too ‘Indian’ to ever be Miss India (Lakshmi Chaudry, September 16, 2013) :
“That gorgeous chocolate may play as exotic in the West, but in India, we prefer our beauty queens strictly vanilla—preferably accessorized with blue contact lenses.”
White Americans are constantly excoriated as racist, yet many Third World countries (including Latin American nations, as I’ve pointed out before) openly favor whiter- beauty queens.
So why are white Americans constantly obsessing over not offending non-whites—even when it goes against their group interests?
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) recently moved back to the U.S.A. after many years residing in Mexico. Allan's wife is Mexican, and their two sons are bilingual. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here ; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.