Home Social Justice Opinion: People take to Twitter over Miss America Pageant

Opinion: People take to Twitter over Miss America Pageant

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Fury. Confusion. Outrage. Demand for recall. Racist remarks. Equation with terrorism. These words and ideas purportedly plagued the new Miss America Nina Davuluri. Davuluri is the first woman of Indian descent to win the competition, and was greeted after her victory in the competition with putrid remarks all over social media.

Now, there is nothing wrong with having hoped that Miss Kansas would win the competition, as many people did. Theresa Vail set out with a purpose in her quest to be crowned Miss America.

Vail, who battled depression and suicidal thoughts, was set on empowering women. In an interview with Fox News’ Nicki Gosten, Vail stated that her message in the competition was to “empower women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers.” She said that women are “placed under certain convictions, and we feel we have to stay under them. I want people to know, it doesn’t matter what society says. It doesn’t matter what the ‘rules’ say. You can do whatever you want, whatever you set your mind to…that’s what I did when I showed my tattoos.”

Vail is a drill sergeant in the U.S. Army. Vail has tattoos, is an avid hunter who can shoot a gun as well as a bow and arrow, and apparently embodies what many would like to see in Miss America pageant winner.

Many Americans like to think that they exist in a post-racial society in which race and ethnicity no longer matter. But as some of the tweets indicate, this isn’t true. People are taking issue with the fact that Davuluri is of Indian descent. Evidently, one is not a “real American” unless they are white.

America is supposed to be a melting pot of ideas and traditions. Davuluri performed a Bollywood fusion dance in homage to her heritage. This does not make her any less American. By expressing her ties to her heritage, she is showcasing something as American as anything. Americans like to consider anything non-white, non heterosexual, non-cisgendered as “diverse.” But that tells everyone else that there are normal standards and that anyone who doesn’t fall into said standards is diverse. So to say “I’m all for diversity,” but then noting that it’s an insult to have a non-white woman crowned Miss America, well, who knows what that says about the dissenter.

 

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