For the most part, our country has always prided itself on being an example of freedom and diversity. The foundation of our citizenship constitutes the right to be whoever we want.
That being said, there are people in this country who refuse to accept others as their equals. In this year’s Miss America beauty pageant, what should have been a historical celebration was turned into a brittle hazing when Fox News & Commentary host Todd Starnes tweeted discriminatory remarks towards this year’s winner, Nina Davuluri.
Something that people tend to misunderstand is that by the time our generation has grown to know the world, minorities will have become the majority. Like it or not, the world is progressing faster each year and with that, people’s understanding of the rights and privileges that go hand in hand with being an individual.
Davuluri, a 24-year-old Syracuse native, is the first ever Indian-American woman to become a Miss America winner and while most pageant advocates congratulated her on this accomplishment, others took to the web to express their dissatisfaction.
Twitter users from throughout the United States launched into a swarm of discrimination by calling Davuluri “Arab” and “Miss 7-11.” They also said that one of the finalist, Theresa Vail deserved to win because she “looked American.”
There is no doubt that this kind of prejudice is casting a shadow over Davuluri’s accomplishment.
In an article published by the Miami Herald, Davuluri told reporters that she has to “rise above the criticism,” an honorable stance for the winner who embraces herself as “Miss Diversity.”
And although racism is not necessarily a new subject, it is one that is still in the process of change.
Liezle Lingasin, a senior at California Lutheran University ,started competing in pageantry in 2007. Lingasin said she wanted to do something that would allow her to work on her confidence. Although she only competed for two years, the senior finished as the first runner up in her first year of competition followed by a title in 2008.
“Where I’m from is a predominately white area. So, I was among the handful of queens to be of color. It didn’t seem to be a big deal to any people in my town that I was Filipino and not white.
I did get many comments on my exotic look, but it was usually a friendly way to start a conversation,” Lingasin said.
In light of the situation, Davuluri has risen above the criticism and demonstrated a great sense of dignity.
“I’m really impressed with how Miss America has been handling everything. Instead of playing up the drama with those opposed of her title and acting out for the media, she held her head up high and continued on with her duties as the new Miss America,” Lingasin said.
There is no question that Davuluri deserved her title in this year’s Miss America pageant and it is sad that our nation has still not progressed fully in regard to racial equality. The actions taken by Davuluri and the pageant committee shine nothing but good light on the future of our country.
Alix Moise, CLU junior, expressed how he too believes this recent racial profiling to be just another example of a bigger problem in our country.
“Being an African-American, or any other kind of ethnicity for that matter, in a predominantly white setting definitely adds some extra pressure. I think our country is progressing quickly but there is still a lot of change that is yet to come,” Moise said.
It is important to remember situations similar to that of Davuluri in order to keep moving forward as a nation. We’ve always been told that mistakes are made in order for us to learn and as soon as we can start preventing these kinds of mistakes permanently, I believe our country will truly be landmark for diversity and equality.
Published Oct. 2, 2013