With the ongoing Syrian crisis, a lot of hatred has rippled through the Internet this week, but no one would expect to see such ugly reactions to a beauty contest.
Previously known as Miss New York, 24-year-old Nina Davuluri made history when she was crowned Miss America 2013 Monday night. Davuluri is the first crowned winner of Indian descent.
“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” Davuluri said when first addressing a press conference immediately following the competition in Atlantic City. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”
Unfortunately, Twitter didn’t have the same gushing reaction.
Internet trolls all over the blogosphere took to their smart phones and laptops to announce their ignorant opinions on this groundbreaking moment in history.
The tweets ranged from 140 characters of racism to disdain for her accomplishment. One Twitter user even went as far as to call the Indian American woman in a ball gown a terrorist.
With no credibility, a Twitter user had the guts to take it one step further and accuse the newly crowned beauty queen of having ties with Al Qaeda, completely overlooking that Al Qaeda is an Arabic terrorist group, and Davuluri is not Arabic.
If only Twitter followed Wikipedia’s example and hired a fact checker.
Social media has been an extremely important advancement in technology embraced by the upcoming generation in this country. Why do people decide to take their powers for good and join Darth Vader on the dark side? Racism isn’t funny. Public humiliation should not be worth a re-tweet and a favorite.
In the years since Sept. 11, Internet trolls across the web have already forgotten the lesson we all learned from the tragedy: unity, love and support for our fellow Americans.
Davuluri took the controversy with the true grace of a deserving pageant winner.
“I have to rise above that,” she said to the Associated Press. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”
Miss Kansas also received quite a bit of attention in the competition. Sgt. Theresa Vail stirred up controversy in the swimsuit portion by exposing two large tattoos.
Vail was running on a platform that was breaking stereotypes everywhere.
Both Vail and Davuluri are proving that this year’s competition have taken a progressive next step. This is an empowering movement that is working to close the gap between done up beauty queens on stage and the everyday American strutting her confidence for the world to see.
As Stephen Colbert so wittily pointed out, “705 people saw a woman in a bikini and thought, Muslim extremist.”