Historic Miss America pageant reflects diversity
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 02:09
The Miss America Pageant is known for showcasing beautiful ladies who are smart, poised and philanthropic.
The pageant promotes scholarship and the unique women that comprise the United States of America.
A new Miss America was crowned this past Sunday night making history, but the sparkling crown was barely sitting on the new winner’s head before controversy surfaced.
It was the first time an American woman of Indian heritage, Miss New York Nina Davulari , claimed the title. During the pageant she said, “I always thought Miss America was the girl next door and the girl next door is evolving as the diversity in America evolves.”
The Miss America organization is embracing diversity, but unfortunately some people outside the pageant world are not.
As the news broke that she won the title, racial slurs popped up all over the Internet like: “Man, our president nor our new Miss America isn’t even American. I’m sorry Miss Kansas you’re the real American,” said a Twitter user.
Ignorance and hate were not limited to just Twitter, comments linking her to terrorism and references about convenience stores were expressed through other media sites as well.
Miss Kansas, a top 15 finalists, a European American who fits the stereotype of the girl next door, was the fan favorite to win the crown.
To some, she fit the standard of what the winner of Miss America should look like. ABC News described the pageant’s history as an all-white cookie cutter affair from 1921 (its inception) until 1970.
Fourteen years later, Vanessa Williams became the first African American Miss America. Since the historic crowning of Williams, seven other African American women, and one Asian woman, have won the Miss America crown. This statistic shows the long history of the lack of diversity in the pageant.
Dulvari’s win is a reflection of how diverse America has become and that people are becoming more willing to embrace the true portrait of America. Despite the negative comments, some people tweeted and posted comments on Facebook supporting the new Miss America
States are showing growth by crowning more minority women than ever before, particularly southern states who have been slow to select minority women as the face of the state. But Arkansas remains one of the few states with a low number of minority title holders with a total of two African American women crowned winners of the “America” title and none on record as the winner of the “USA” title.
Since the backlash, blogs have emerged stating the media should not focus its coverage on the racist comments but the historical factor. The spotlight should be on the historical moment and her plans to make a difference in the world because racist reactions are not new and unfortunately are repetitive. She is an American with a responsibility to make a difference in society through the pageant platform.
The makeup of America is changing and will ultimately be reflected. The youth needs to see more of what America really looks like without a skewed view. This is not the first and certainly won’t be the last historic event involving minorities.