WASHINGTON: The tiara had barely been placed on her head and customary tears of joy had just emerged when racist taunts erupted on social media, marring the moment of triumph for the first ever Miss America of Indian origin.

“And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic,” tweeted @Granvil_Colt minutes after the usual final flourish ended in the crowning of Indian-American Nina Davuluri, the current Miss New York, as the new Miss America. “Ummm wtf? Have we forgotten 9/11?” asked @anthonytkr, associating her with the terrorist attack on the United States. Some called her Miss Al-Qaidaand others dubbed her Miss Terrorist. “How the fuck does a foreigner win miss America? She is a Arab!” followed up @jakeamick5.

Davuluri, for the record, is very much American, but of Indian origin, just as sundry racist tweeple are of European and Caucasian extract. Daughter of Indian immigrants from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, she was born in Syracuse, New York, and grew up in Oklahoma and Michigan.

But in a flaming demonstration that an egalitarian, non-discriminatory United States, like with India, is a work in progress, bigotry and bias kept popping up on social media for hours after the event. Mindless racist stereotyping raced ahead of the ideals professed by many Americans. “Miss America? You mean Miss 7-11,” sneered one racist individual, referring to the widespread ownership and management of convenience stores by people of Indian-origin. “Miss America is brought to by their sponsors PF Changs and 7-11,” jeered another.

It’s another matter that the Davuluris fit the Indian-American profile of what the US Census says is the academically most-accomplished and highest-earning ethnic group in the United States, “native” white Americans included. Nina’s father Davuluri Koteshwara Choudhary, who migrated to the United States in 1981, is a gynecologist in Fayetteville, New York; Nina herself has a degree in Brain Behaviour and Cognitive Science from the University of Michigan, and aspires to be a cardiologist, a goal for which she pledged the $ 50,000 prize money she won with her crown.

Such accomplishments were lost on a bigoted minority that, as usual, raked up President Obama’s background, calling both him and the new Miss America Muslims and questioning their “American-ness” and loyalty to the US. The attacks embarrassed many Americans.

“Wow the hate that has come out since an Indian American won #MissAmerica is sad. Guess we haven’t come that far afterall,” someone tweeted apologetically. Some Indians lashed back. “Dear America, be the racist you want to be but at least get your geography right,” read one tweet, mocking the inability of bigots to distinguish between countries and regions.

Miss Davuluri herself preferred to stay above the much, telling the Associated Press she always viewed herself as first and foremost American.

“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity… I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America,” she said during her victory press conference.

source: times of india