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Diversity trumps racism on Twitter after historic Miss America victory

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2015 12:33 p.m. MDT

Miss New York Nina Davuluri, center, reacts after being named Miss America 2014 pageant as Miss California Crystal Lee, left, and Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan celebrate with her, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Atlantic City, N.J. (Mel Evans, Associated Press) Miss New York Nina Davuluri, center, reacts after being named Miss America 2014 pageant as Miss California Crystal Lee, left, and Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan celebrate with her, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Atlantic City, N.J. (Mel Evans, Associated Press)

People say a lot of mean things on Twitter every day. But Nina Davuluri’s victory Sunday night in the Miss America pageant sparked an outburst of racist tweets notable not only for their intolerance but also their ignorance.

“Nina Davuluri … happens to be of Indian descent. In fact, she's the first Indian-American to be crowned Miss America,” Leslie Bentz reported for CNN.com. “But the tweets that followed the 2014 pageant in Atlantic City on Sunday night didn't focus on how it's the second consecutive year that a Miss New York has taken the crown, or about the judge's questions (including inquiries about Miley Cyrus and Syria). They were about Davuluri's heritage.”

On the feminist blog Jezebel, Laura Beck wrote, “Racists got so mad, they started mixing up Indian, Indian-American, Arab, Muslim, and everything in between. It's (literarily) a most impressive display of dumb mixed with intolerance and even more stupidity.”

Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri poses for photographers before engaging in the traditional dipping of the toes in the Atlantic Ocean the morning after being crowned Miss America, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Atlantic City, N.J. Davuluri represented New York.   (Julio Cortez, Associated Press) Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri poses for photographers before engaging in the traditional dipping of the toes in the Atlantic Ocean the morning after being crowned Miss America, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Atlantic City, N.J. Davuluri represented New York. (Julio Cortez, Associated Press)

Davuluri, 24, wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a medical doctor. Her pageant platform was “celebrating diversity through cultural competency.” On Sunday night she took the high road regarding the insensitive tweeting, and after the dust settled a significant contingent of Twitter users voiced support for her.

“After the (winner was announced), some users tweeted that Davuluri was not ‘American enough’ to win the title while others went as far as to say she ‘looks like a terrorist,’ ” the Associated Press reported. “But the 24-year-old native of Syracuse, N.Y., brushed those comments aside.

“ ‘I have to rise above that,’ she said. ‘I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.’

“Many users agreed, coming to the newly crowned Miss America’s defense.”

Miss New York Nina Davuluri talks to the press during a news conference following her crowning as Miss America 2014, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Atlantic City, N.J. (Mel Evans, Associated Press) Miss New York Nina Davuluri talks to the press during a news conference following her crowning as Miss America 2014, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Atlantic City, N.J. (Mel Evans, Associated Press)

Email: jaskar@desnews.com

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