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Storm in a beauty cup

NEETI SARKAR
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Issue 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 the 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.”

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?

NEETI SARKAR

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