Welcome To America, Where You Can Be Anything You Want…Except for Miss America

I have to admit that I didn’t watch Miss America. I did, however, see the backlash after Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, won the crown.

Photo from Miss America website

After reading the official press release about her win, I couldn’t help but feel proud of her. However, after the social media outburst that “Miss America should be American,” I have a feeling that she has a long way towards promoting her platform, Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency.

This raises the age-old question of “What does it mean to be American?”

I always thought being American meant that you could be whatever you wanted to be as long as you worked hard, made some sacrifices, and believed in yourself.

I thought that being American meant having an equal shot at pursuing your dreams.

I thought being American meant caring about your peers.

I thought being American meant that you could pursue many things at once, whether they were being a doctor, going to a top notch college, making friends with people from a variety of backgrounds and passing on a better life to those who come after you.

Unfortunately, there’s a part of our population who made me doubt that, even if it was just for a short time.

For a moment, I started to wonder if being American meant that you couldn’t have cocoa colored skin.

Did being American mean that you couldn’t be a Bollywood dancer?

Did being American mean that your parents couldn’t be immigrants from India?

Did being American mean that you couldn’t believe in promoting diversity?

I’m proud of my heritage. I’m proud of being the daughter of immigrants. And after that brief moment of doubt, I’m proud that the Miss American pageant has a representative who is a little bit like me.

So I end this by saying, Congratulations, Nina Davuluri. Thank you for being you. I hope that you will represent ALL Americans well during your time as Miss America.

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