So on September 15, 2013, a cultural revolution took place in America which geared varying responses across the world and mainly in US. An Indian American who was born and brought up in US itself, was crowned Miss America 2013 after being titled Miss New York the same year.
Originally from Andhra Pradesh, she was born in Syracuse, New York and attended the University of Michigan and has won several scholastic honors including the Dean’s List, Michigan Merit Award, and National Honor Society Award. She graduated with a degree in Brain Behaviour and Cognitive Science.
Whilst many consider her to be a beauty with brains and noted this title as a milestone for the Indian-American and the Asian-American community as a whole, there were many who opposed this decision. Many tweets flew in, moments after she was crowned. She was quoted to be the ‘Miss al-qaeda’ and ‘Miss 9/11’. Some even said that Nina being an Arab did not deserve to win the title. Probably those people spent more time of their schooling on TV shows rather than on the history class. So the honest mistake. (:P)
One of the flippant racists who can’t even get his racism right, went on to call a Hindu-identified South Asian-American woman a Muslim terrorist. Just because we all look the same, I just don’t buy this racist comment. In America where it is publicly acceptable to be racist against people who are assumed to be Muslim, I actually expect nothing but this very attitude from them. Nothing new you know!
The very Americans who think they are the “chosen-one” but can’t even differentiate between your and you’re, have no right to decide on such things. I mean Miss America has always been a spectacle and since its inception, the title has emerged to be everything that America stands for. Miss America is meant to represent the values Americans are supposed to hold dear-a female face and body to project onto the hopes and dreams of the nation. Ideas about what kind of woman could adequately represent America have evolved over time. Originally, non-white women were not allowed to participate in the contest. It wasn’t until 1970 that a black woman competed. It makes sense that some might consider the increasing racial diversity in the pageant to be a sign of progress. But I would argue it’s not really progress when the role of Miss America is so deeply limited in possibility and scope. The restrictions might have been limited, but social acceptance is still a big worry.
Now the next question that arises is that whether the South Asian girls must feel better about themselves on seeing a beauty queen that they can relate to? The answer is No, as the title is fundamentally about objectifying women and limiting their possibility to what they look like in a bikini. So be it an African-American or an Asian-American, the scope of the title doesn’t change and if still these people can’t stop being racists, then God bless them!
Not only Nina, but many instances of veritable contributions of people of Indian origin who have dug their heels in and worked hard to achieve and contribute to the American economy, can be quoted here. Despite all odds, this is a recognizable community as it continues to leave its mark on US as a nation – they have rejoiced and mourned alike depending on occasion. And when people like Nina, who are so patriotic about being an American, receive such sort of comments, it actually makes me wanna swear on ‘brain-drain’!
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.