SOAPBOX:

MISS AMERICA IS, BY DEFINITION, AN AMERICAN

 NarasPrameswari

NARAS PRAMESWARI

ngprameswari12@ole.augie.edu
 

Social media, mostly Twitter, was flooded by reactions as Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America on Sept. 15.

“If you’re #MissAmerica you should have to be American,” Twitter account user @m_spurlock96 tweeted.

“This is Miss America… not Miss Foreign Country,” @MeredithRoanell said.

Other tweets included comments accusing Davuluri of being an Arab, a terrorist and a Muslim.

Fellow Twitter users found those tweets racist and offensive, and due to the amount of angry replies, the owners deleted those Twitter accounts.

I searched online about Davuluri’s background to see if what a lot of people have been saying about her is true.

Davuluri was born in Syracuse, New York, of Indian parents with Hindu faith. That makes the comments about Davuluri being an Arab and a Muslim false.

To addres the comments about how Davuluri should have not won Miss America because she has Indian heritage and is not American, I came up with a question: how is someone considered American?

Before I go any further, I need to define this vague term, “American.” Does being American mean that one has to have fair skin color and light-colored eyes and hair?

Aren’t Brazilians, Mexicans and Colombians also considered American, since they live in South and Central America?

I found out that the word “American” is defined as the inhabitants of the United States of America. No matter what background one comes from, one is considered as American as long as one resides in the United States.

I also looked up the definition of a United States citizen. According to the Fourteenth Amendment, United States citizens are “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.”

Since Davuluri was born in New York, I am positive that she is a U.S. citizen.

Moreover, one of the criteria of being in Miss America is that one must “be a United States citizen,” but not be a certain race or have a certain heritage.

Davuluri was eligible to enter and to win Miss America because she fulfilled all the requirements and specifications needed.The whole argument that Davuluri should not have won, or even entered Miss America, is invalid.

Although it seems that a lot of United States citizens were upset about Davuluri winning Miss America because of her heritage and skin color, I found it interesting how Indian Americans also commented that Davuluri would not win Miss India if she participated in it.

“What’s interesting is Miss America Nina Davuluri would never win pageants in South Asia because she’d be too dark to be considered beautiful,” @suitablegirl tweeted.

I searched the pictures of former Miss India winners on Google and I found that most winners had lighter, medium-tone skin.

Then I remembered that the same thing happens back in my home country, Indonesia. Indonesians always consider having lighter skin to be more beautiful and desirable, hence the skin-whitening product advertisements everywhere.

It is interesting how in these countries (the United States, India, and Indonesia), lighter skin is more desired.

Back to the point, I think every contestant has an equal opportunity to win.

It is nice to have someone from a different racial background than former winners to be crowned Miss America, because it shows that the U.S. embraces its diversity.

There is nothing wrong with having light skin or dark skin, or with being from any racial background. The point of being Miss America is to represent the United States as an educated and talented young woman who can reflect the good and the quality of her country.