The world we live in
Published: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 22, 2013 17:09
I don’t normally pay attention to the Miss America pageant, but last Sunday’s show gave me a reason to.
Nina Davuluri is the first woman of Indian descent to win the Miss America crown. This supposedly proved the United States has come to embrace diversity in all places. I assumed these pageants were a representation of our culture.
Or so I thought.
Unfortunately, whether or not Davuluri is the woman to embody America for 2014, it became apparent that our culture is still stained with subtle tones of racism.
The next day, tweets came out regarding Davuluri that brought me back to what is still disturbing about our country.
“How the f*** does a foreigner win miss America? She is a Arab! #idiots”
“Miss New York is an Indian.. With all do respect, this is America” (I suppose this one tried to retain some politeness.)
“Congratulations Al-Qaeda. Our Miss America is one of you.”
However much Davuluri’s win was monumental, the ignorant remarks made me feel like we constantly take strides in the wrong direction toward racial equality.
There will always be people who are apathetic about either side and dismiss the whole debacle because it was “just” a beauty pageant. I don’t even particularly care to indulge in watching these shows because they have their own set of problems – but that’s a whole other story.
This event is bigger than itself – it extends beyond beauty pageants. The importance of this seems fairly insignificant when you consider events like the Syrian conflict.
But this came to my attention, like it did to so many others, because we know it’s wrong to call an Indian woman a terrorist. We know that most of us would never engage in such ignorance, so we want to tell the world, “This isn’t me.”
It might sound selfish to seem like we’re only concerned about our reputation, but the morals we show the world are a step toward spreading the right ones.
Buzzfeed published an article highlighting the various racist tweets following Davuluri’s win. I think because it was written, we became aware of a fundamental problem that still exists in our world. It also created a platform for us to fight back. And only when we are aware of racism – or anything else that is terrible in the world – can we fight.
This idea isn’t a new concept. People are and have been aware that people are racist and they say terrible things.
We need to practice being actively and consistently aware. Being conscious is one step but putting that into action is difficult and something we don’t often do.
We grow indifferent to things that happen around us every day, but we recognize it when a highly publicized event gets backlash. Maybe we should recognize the same things happening in our daily lives.
I understand that racism exists and probably will for a long time. But is that a reason to not speak out against it?
The importance of Davuluri’s win is a sign that race is only just starting to become less of an issue. So is the fact that three of the top five contestants were of Asian descent.
Being Asian and living in America, I am constantly aware that I am a minority, and this isn’t something that frustrates me. But it saddens me when racial ignorance still persists. Sometimes I hear stories that are so bad that I don’t think equality is a view of the majority anymore.
But I give myself hope with the environment in which I surround myself. Many of the people I know, here at UB and at home, share the same views as me and I see that awareness is growing. It lets me know that one day, we might not have a need for articles to remind us of these problems.