Monday, September 16, 2013

Hey, Miss America Haters - Chill!

Nina Davuluri, Miss New York, took home the Miss America crown in yesterday's pageant. While the winner usually earns congratulations from people, this Miss America was faced with unfair criticism...regarding her ethnic background.

Image from EOnline.com
Nina Davuluri is of Indian descent. She is also an American, just like any other American. She lives here, she studies here, she works here. She's done great things and some probably not so great things - all here in the United States.

So why did people freak out when she won Miss America? It isn't right, that's for sure. Some of it must have been lack of knowledge, like calling Ms. Davulari a Muslim or an Arab. (Which, by the way, should not be used as an insult either, but that's not the point here.) Some of it was that people think Miss America should fit the perfect cookie cutter image. (But haven't we fought against that as we've claimed that beauty pageants favor the stereotypical, traditional American beauty standard, rendering them unfair?) And some of it was probably because of the media stir around Theresa Vail, the tattoo-clad blonde who serves in the US Army, who became a fan favorite and won the viewer's poll.

The point is, it's not fair to ruin Miss New York's victory with unfair criticism. She clearly was a strong candidate for the crown, and her Bollywood dance displayed her natural talent. Just because something is unfamiliar to you or not your style doesn't make it bad. Even if you're not into her particular style of music or dance, you can still see her talent. Would it really be fair to make her do something that she's not as great at just because it's more comfortable for viewers? That wouldn't be right. And as we've seen throughout the years, some Miss America contestants sing, dance or twirl to more typical American stylings, and it doesn't always turn out well.

Besides, ff we didn't give cultures other than the 'typical' American style things a chance, we'd miss out on so much. We'd lose sushi, Zumba, the chance to learn multiple languages, certain styles of ballroom dance and so much more. These are things we love that are engrained in our culture, because our culture contains a mixture of wonderful things.

That aside, Nina Davuluri being Indian shouldn't even be an issue. We should focus on how she's a smart, great representative of the United States and how she'll represent us in positive ways. We shouldn't focus on the negative.

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