Last night, the first Indian-American Miss America was crowned and opened the door for many racists to complain about her skin color and reveal their troglodyte-like understanding of geography and religion. These racists showed that Americans are not only capable of being racists, but also very un-educated racists. Here are some of the night's racist comments and just how sad America can be:
Racism Fail: "An Arab/Muslim Won Miss America"
Nina Davuluri is Indian-American. She was born in Syracuse to parents of Indian ancestry. She has has lived in Oklahoma, Michigan, and now New York City. She is not an Arab. The actual distance between Saudi Arabia and India is over 3,000 miles—about the distance from Georgia (the state) to Bolivia.
Also, the country from where Davuluri is from (the United States) is not a predominantly Muslim country (and it shouldn't matter if Davuluri is Muslim or Arab). The part of India where Davuluri's parents hail from, Andhra Pradesh, is not predominantly Muslim, either. It's around 88.8 percent Hindu.
Racism Fail: Miss USA Is Not a Part of Al Qaeda Because She Is Indian-American
There are claims that Davuluri is an Al Qaeda plant. These people don't seem to honestly believe Davuluri is a member of Al Qaeda (but hey, who knows), but are making the claim because they want to call her patriotism into question by equating her with terrorists who they mistakenly believe are the same ethnicity as her. They don't seem to understand that Al Qaeda is not a race or ethnicity. Again, take note of the map above and remember that the majority of 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian citizens. They were not American. They were not New Yorkers. They were also not Indian.
Racism Fail: Bollywood-style Dances Are Not "Egyptian"
Davuluri performed what she called "Bollywood" dance, which is the name for India's extremely long, musical-and-dance heavy movies. These are modern-day dances which have evolved over time. That, on the right is a
sari gagra-choli or lenga-choli and it is very different from a burqa. And the headscarf Davuluri is wearing is worn very differently than a hijab.
Racism Fail: Miss America Should Have Been Miss Kansas Because She Likes 'American' Things
A meme is going around proclaiming that Theresa Vail a.k.a. Miss Kansas should have been the "true" Miss America because she likes hunting and has tattoos — signs that are she is representative of America. These are all actually metrics of being in a minority. Only 12.5 million people (the U.S. population is over 300 million) aged 16 and older hunt according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. When it comes to adults with tattoos, Pew Research found that only 36 percent of adults aged 18-25 have a tattoo, and that the number increases to about 40 percent in adults aged 26-40. In short, there are still more people without tattoos than those who have them.
There's an implicit message that Vail should also be American because she is white. American, however, is not a skin color. Right now, 49.9 percent of all American children under the age of 5 are not white, the Census Bureau reported in June. According to the AP, a majority-minority shift could take place within the next 30 years.
So what's the most worrisome thing about Davuluri being crowned Miss America? Well, we don't want to be the ones to explain Miss Universe to these people.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.