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Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri Brushes Off Racism, Ignorance

(ABC screen grab)

(ABC screen grab)

The winner of Sunday’s Miss America pageant is brushing off a host of ignorant and outright racist social media attacks, saying she must “rise above” the level of those who are calling her a “terrorist” and, in the case of one Fox News host, un-American.

Miss New York Nina Davuluri, 24, was crowned Miss America 2014 at the end of Sunday night’s glitzy pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Davuluri, the second Miss New York to win the premier prize in American pageantry in as many years, is the first Miss America of Indian descent. She is also the second Miss Syracuse to win Miss America– Vanessa Williams, the critically acclaimed singer and first African American to win the contest (1983) before relinquishing her title because she once posed nude for Penthouse, is also a former Miss Syracuse, the city where Davuluri was born.

But to many observers, Davuluri is something less than American enough to be crowned Miss America. The ignorance and racism on display on social media sites, especially Twitter, following her victory on Sunday night ranged from wrongly identifying Davuluri as a Muslim and an Arab, to linking her to the 9/11 and 7/11 terror attacks, to a Fox News host claiming any winner besides the gun-toting, deer-hunting, prayer-tattooed army sergeant he and many conservatives favored was deficient in ‘American values.’

BuzzFeed reported on the Twitter torrent of racism and ignorance that followed Davuluri’s win. Some samples:

Ignorance of the difference between Indians (specifically, Telugu) and Arabs was a common theme...

Ignorance of the difference between Indians (specifically, Telugu) and Arabs was a common theme…

... as was a seeming inability for many Tweeps to comprehend that someone of Indian ancestry could be born in the USA and be as American as anyone else born in this country...

… as was a seeming inability for many Tweeps to comprehend that someone of Indian ancestry could be born in the USA and be as American as anyone else born in this country…

Being that Davuluri is an "Arab," it only follows that she would be linked by some to the tragic events of 9/11...

Being that Davuluri is an “Arab,” it only follows that she would be linked by some to the tragic events of 9/11…

... and branded a "terrorist"...

… and branded a “terrorist”…

Some even linked Davuluri with another prominent American who many, especially bigoted conservatives, claim is actually a Muslim foreigner. “Well they just picked a Muslim for Miss America,” one person tweeted, according to Sky News. “That must’ve made Obama happy. Maybe he had a vote.”

Others lamented the fact that Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, was passed over for the crown in favor of the ‘un-American’ Davuluri:

Twitter To many, Miss Kansas Theresa Vail is a 'real American woman' who deserved to win.

Twitter
To many, Miss Kansas Theresa Vail is a ‘real American woman’ who deserved to win.

Even the corporate mainstream media got into the act. Fox News radio host Todd Starnes implied that Davuluri, or anyone but Vail, does not “represent American values” like blond-haired, blue-eyed, hunting enthusiast from Kansas, who also happens to be an Army National Guard veteran who speaks fluent Mandarin. That’s Chinese, for those who didn’t know.

“The liberal Miss America judges won’t say this, but Kansas lost because she actually represented American values,” Starnes tweeted on Sunday.

“Americans were backing Miss Kansas, but the liberal Miss America judges were not interested in a gun-toting, deer hunting military veteran,” Starnes wrote on his Facebook page. More than 3,600 people ‘liked’ Starnes’ comment. There were many comments supportive of Davuluri, but there were many more blasting the Miss America organization’s lack of American values and hailing Vail as “America’s choice.”

Then there was this meme making the ‘Net rounds following the pageant:

To many, Theresa Vail is a "real American woman" who deserved to win Miss America more than Nina Davuluri because... because... because?

To many, Theresa Vail is a “real American woman” who deserved to win Miss America more than Nina Davuluri because… because… because?

Miss America 2014 seems to be taking this alarming outpouring of racism in stride.

“I have to rise above that,” Davuluri said in response to the ignorance and racism directed at her. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”

Davuluri also expressed her appreciation that the Miss America organization “has embraced diversity.”

“I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America,” she said at a post-pageant press conference.

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