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Updated: September 19, 2013 05:02 IST

Storm in a beauty cup

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Miss America Nina Davuluri
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Miss America Nina Davuluri

The online hysterics surrounding the crowning of Telugu girl, Nina Davuluri as Miss America, once again proves the ephemeral nature of our wireless world

When Nina Davuluri became the first Indian American to win the Miss America title, the social media erupted with hurtful comments and tweets.

The irony is inescapable — it is a beauty pageant and these are comments by random people on platforms that have gained currency thanks to the telecom revolution. The democracy of internet is that multi-headed hydra that ensured anyone can say whatever they want. So there are all those comments against Nina and as many if not more people coming to her defence. Bina Hanchinamani Ellefsen, a lawyer from Seattle says she’s “disturbed by racist comments about an Indian American Miss America. We are no less American because our ancestors are from India and not Europe!”

Fashion management professional Nimisha Gandhi says: “It’s sad that a country that is otherwise so advanced is still backward in its thinking. And through social media, no stone is left unturned when it comes to putting someone down on the basis of colour and creed. I feel sorry for the strong, intelligent and beautiful girl who has been called hateful names. Yet, I’m happy the American jury didn’t let racial difference affect their judgment.”

Content writer and blogger Divya Sehgal states: “It is definitely shocking to see so many racist comments on Twitter, and appalling to know that Asian Americans are still not considered Americans. But having said that, I still think it is just a small minority who has such thoughts and reactions. If you were to scroll down through the article on Buzzfeed, you’d notice how many Americans are also quite shocked by the racist comments. So while the racism is deplorable, I’d like to believe that it is only a tiny drop in a vast non-racial ocean.”

Not fair

While most of us Indians are saddened by what has happened in America, entrepreneur and author Varun Agarwal had about 600 people concur with his post that read “You know what’s ironical? A dusky girl like Nina would have never become Miss India. At least she became Miss America.”

According to psychologist Jamuna Tripathi, “Unfortunately we live in a world that perpetuates stereotypes. Society has made people with darker skin feel apologetic. The good thing is that Nina has been so gracious through it all. Her self confidence and maturity definitely make her a winner.”

And stating that it’s time to rise above all that’s been said and done, former Miss India and Miss Earth 2010, Nicole Faria asserts: “Each of us is entitled to our opinions, and in beauty pageants, since beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, each may have a different view from the other. The good thing is the result is final, and even though some may have other views, my view is that the verdict is out there. Nina won the crown and three cheers to her. As an Indian I feel an extra twinge of pride. Let’s remember that beauty and goodness have triumphed, and let nothing dull that glow of victory for a worthy winner.”

Remember, it is just a beauty pageant—let us move on to the next inane thing to trend on social media. Probably goldfish objecting to jokes on their tiny attention spans?

Well done, Nina. Glad that the new Miss America is taking the downside
of being a celebrity in her stride. While the world will celebrate her
victory... everyone will not take it the same way. That is what makes
us human... that we are able to have our own unique viewpoints on

Any success comes with its share of challenges... and that is the
price celebrities pay for their position on the pinnacle of
achievement. More power to the WINNERS!!!

from:  Ian Faria
Posted on: Sep 18, 2013 at 22:45 IST

It is indeed a remarkable achievement by Nina Davuluri - at the outset, one should recognize that it is the judges who selected her as being the best representative of the qualities of Miss America. Next, it is very true that Nina would not have achieved this crown in India, as India is remarkably hypocritical and biased against the darker skin and against South Indians in general. One has to see Hindi movies form the 60s onwards, to unfortunately, South Indian movie-makers themselves who prefer to "import" North Indian actresses, partly for their fairer skin color, and partly because actresses are expected to do such raunchy acts that the conservative South would refrain from. My daughters and I watched the show here in New York - we do feel that the tipping point for all the negative comments in the US is mainly due to Nina's choice of a Bollywood number for the dance routine, something that is overdone by Indians in the US and certainly is not representative of Indian culture.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: Sep 18, 2013 at 17:29 IST

Indeed it is a proud moment for India to have seen her girl as a winner of Miss America. But what followed had always been a matter of concern, and nothing seems to tackle it.
It is unequivocally acceptable that racism in West still prevails. It is not the first time, Shilpa Shetty had faced racism in UK show "Big Brother" by the show mates and at last was declared the winner and that followed by apologizes by the same racist of the show.
Even president Obama and US celeb Winfrey are often seen to struggle over racism they face, let alone Indians.
It is not us who decide the colour of our skin, there is no race which is superior than other, we all are human.
May God give them intelligence......

from:  Sachin Gupta
Posted on: Sep 18, 2013 at 15:48 IST

At least the cops didn't come and arrest the people who posted racist or
discriminatory comments similar to what happened to Pune girls comments
on facebook.

from:  bzach
Posted on: Sep 18, 2013 at 15:21 IST

One should not take the comments of a few seriously. If anyone studies the comments
on videos concerning the President of the U.S. Obama there are always a few that are
really cruel and mean put in by white supremists. On the TV live interviews of passer
bys on the streets of America, all the responses were positive and most felt that she
was a beautiful girl and that Asians born here had every right to win. Just like our
country is still bogged down with demands for fair and lovely brides...color racism in
India FAR SURPASSES racism in any other country. Sad the Hindu gave notice to the few denigrators that exist in the U.S.

from:  angeli alvares
Posted on: Sep 18, 2013 at 13:50 IST

Ground reality is everywhere including our own India is no less in
showing racial comments! Right from the day, one understands language
spoken around, less coloured people go through these sort of racial
bouts. Everywhere whether it is shool or public place or college or
workplace and in our own family. People who overcome this, only can
achieve something! so don't be exponential about west. Ours is also
the same and every Indian knows this!

from:  sundari
Posted on: Sep 18, 2013 at 10:08 IST

At a time when we Indians differentiate each other by color (north and south), we should not talk or comment about what happens outside India. Rather than making a mockery of her achievement, lets hail her and the society that chose her for the crown. When will we grow up?

from:  Arunan
Posted on: Sep 18, 2013 at 08:51 IST

Science says that first human skin colour is black and it changes according to climate changes and nothing more that.Though USA is developed country and requires long way to accept developed in all aspects.However every indian is proud about Miss Nina overcome her physical ailments and become Miss America and the judges to be congradulated about their impartial verdict.

from:  D.S.SoundaraRajan
Posted on: Sep 18, 2013 at 07:23 IST

Dear sir,
It is not surprising that the new Miss America has had hurtful comments.many people outside
USA think that America is a far advanced country and Americans are not racists.
It is not so.Majority of white Americans do not like the blacks.
They do not like Hispanics. Without the help of Hispanics Americans can keep thei grass
trimmed and can not build homes.
They are needed for most of the basic jobs. Next they don't like the brown skinned people
and they don't like the Chinese.
Outwardly every one thinks Americans are forward people. To me they are not.
These things will never change.

from:  Narayanan
Posted on: Sep 18, 2013 at 02:41 IST

Congratulations to Ms. Nina Davuluri. Being the first Indian-American to win the Miss America crown is an amazing accomplishment. Nina is a smart, articulate, gracious, and humble person whose inner self is as beautiful as the outer appearance. She ran on the platform of promoting cultural competency by embracing diversity. She has made us all, Indians, very proud. I wish her all the very best.

from:  Tyche
Posted on: Sep 17, 2013 at 23:47 IST

Even though I am not a fan of these beauty contests, I am happy to see a dark skinned girl of Indian origin crowned as Miss America.
But do you think its possible for dark skinned girl in India to become Miss India any time. I am wondering when will we Indians leave our
illusion that light skin is better off. Time for introspection.

from:  Nanda
Posted on: Sep 17, 2013 at 23:03 IST

It is said that white colour can hide several deficiencies. So kudos to a brown skin girl who has won the Miss America title against odds.

from:  B Natarajan
Posted on: Sep 17, 2013 at 22:28 IST

USA is a land of opportunities to all with talent. The verdict in the beauty contest has
proved that once again. It is rather difficult to please all in this world and there will be
Some who oppose everything, just for the sake of opposition. The charges made by a
Minority group should be considered like that. Prayers for Nina in her onward march to
Play the ambassadors role to project the two great democracies in the world.

from:  C p Chandra das
Posted on: Sep 17, 2013 at 21:34 IST

Is it really a storm? or its just media generated? Looks at any comments on Indian by Indians in any popular indian websites, there are hatred filled messages against one group or other including name calling etc. What happened here is of 300 million people, there are less than 1000 tweets (ignorant fraction) that showed hatred and its a big deal. Wake up media. Don't give it bigger coverage than it is and take away what is so special in this women's life - winning Miss America pageant.

from:  ReallyaStorm
Posted on: Sep 17, 2013 at 20:24 IST

In a country that promotes "fair and lovely" I find the tears from Indians highly hypocritical. How many girls from the North East Region have been allowed into the Femina Miss India line up,let alone the last 12. How many girls from South India with dark skin make it to the finals? How many girls with Dark Skin from South India make it to Bollywood? They are told go to Tollywood, don't come here. Racism is instutionalised in India.

from:  sathyavrath
Posted on: Sep 17, 2013 at 20:09 IST
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