By Chris Hoenig
Nina Davuluri was the first Miss New York of Indian heritage. On Sunday night, she became the first Miss America of Indian heritage, too.
But immediately after Davuluri was crowned, a barrage of racist hate began to appear on social media. The Indian Country Today Media Network compiled a list of 20 vulgar tweets, many from accounts that have since been deleted or suspended.
Many of the racist rants include mentions of al-Qaida and terrorism, with several uninformed tweeters calling the 24-year-old “Arab” or “Muslim.” Others expressed shock at Davuluri’s victory because “this is America.” (But isn’t that the point)
Tweets that were deleted (or had the account suspended or deleted) include:
@MereditRoanell: “This is Miss America… not Miss Foreign Country”
@EJRBuckeye: “Well they just picked a Muslim for Miss America. That must’ve made Obama happy. Maybe he had a vote”
@Not_MissAmerica: “More like Miss Terrorist #MissAmerica”
@Granvil_Colt: “And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic.”
@JPLman95: “Miss America You mean Miss 7-11.”
@SHANN___Wow: “Miss America right now or miss Al Qaeda”
@JTomes84: “Miss America is brought to by their sponsors PF Changs and 7-11.”
@kalebistoocute: “Man our president nor our new Miss America isn’t even American I’m sorry but Miss Kansas I salute you your the real American #MissAmerica”
@_AudreyAnn: “Miss America is a terrorist. Whatever. It’s fine.”
@ColtonSEvans: “Egypt dancing This is America. #MissAmerica”
@NateBerard: “Asian or indian are you kiddin this is america omg”
Davuluri brushed off the comments during her first full day as Miss America. “I have to rise above that,” she told reporters after dipping her toes in the Atlantic City surf, a Miss America tradition. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”
Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency
Davuluri’s pageant platform was personal: Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency. Her father is a gynecologist who emigrated from India 30 years ago, and Davuluri—who performed a Bollywood fusion dance during the talent portion of the competition—has studied with famed Bollywood choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan.
“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” she said. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”
Health is a primary focus for Davuluri. She fought obesity and bulimia when she was younger, and now plans to use the $50,000 scholarship that comes along with winning Miss America to follow in her father’s footsteps by going to medical school. The New York native holds a bachelor’s degree in brain behavior and cognitive science from the University of Michigan.
As part of her Miss America duties, Davuluri will work with the Department of Education as a STEM (science technology, engineering and mathematics) spokesperson, according to a Miss America press release.