I didn't watch Miss America, but now I wish I had. Monday morning I woke up to a fascinating news feed about backlash on the winner, Miss New York, an Indian-American, and a first. But just as her mascara-punctuated tears began to flow as the tiara graced her perfect coif, the haters on Twitter reared their narrow-minded heads. Here's an example of the media coverage, from CNN.com, with the headline:
Miss America Crowns 1st Winner of Indian Descent; racist tweets flow
The Tweets included this racist one from Todd Starnes, host of Fox News and Commentary: "The liberal Miss America judges won't say this - but Miss Kansas lost because she actually represented American values. #missamerica"
Many, many Tweets protested her being "Arab" (really?!), Muslim (she's Hindu) and not American (she was born in Syracuse, NY and has lived in Oklahoma and Michigan as well).
In spite of cringe-worth flaws of the pageant [like the bikini-in-heels (aka "swimsuit") competition], Nina Davuluri, the new Miss America, probably represents some of the best qualities and aspirations of "modern" America. Here's why:
When headlines all over the world proclaim Nina Davuluri as Miss America, this stops anti-Americans in their tracks. They see that the USA can live up to its values, as the land of the free, home of the brave. It's where dreams for a better life come true. It's where diverse people are welcomed. It's full of beauty and sparkles and anything is possible. Millions of dollars in weapons couldn't convince youth in Iraq or Afghanistan or Egypt of this fact, but Nina's smile just might.
Follow Homa Sabet Tavangar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/growingupglobal