National and World News

Miss America crowns 1st winner of Indian descent; racist tweets flow

By Leslie Bentz, CNN

No sooner had the tiara been placed atop her head than a barrage of racist tweets flooded the Internet.


“If you’re #Miss America you should have to be American,” said one.

“WHEN WILL A WHITE WOMAN WIN #MISSAMERICA? Ever??!!” screamed another.

Nina Davuluri is American. She just happens to be of Indian descent. In fact, she’s the first Indian-American to be crowned Miss America.

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 ones about Miley Cyrus and Syria).

They were about Davuluri’s heritage.

“Well they just picked a Muslim for Miss America. That must’ve made Obama happy. Maybe he had a vote,” vented one person.

Not that it bears pointing out, but Davuluri’s not a Muslim — and the president didn’t have a vote.

The 24-year-old Davuluri, who’s from Syracuse, competed on a platform of “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency.” For the talent portion, she performed a classical Indian dance fused with Bollywood moves.

“The liberal Miss America judges won’t say this – but Miss Kansas lost because she actually represented American values. #missamerica.” That was Todd Starnes, host of Fox News and Commentary.

“Miss America? You mean Miss 7-11,” tweeted Jalin Leatherman, perpetuating the tired stereotype about Indians and convenience stores.

Davuluri’s father is a physician. And she wants to be one too. She once battled bulimia, according to a profile of her on

Being a trailblazer isn’t easy. When Rima Fakih was crowned Miss USA in 2010, she faced a nasty backlash as well. Fakih is of Lebanese descent, and many were quick to try to link her to the militant group Hezbollah.

In Davuluri’s case, many tweeters wasted no time connecting her to terrorism.

“Miss America right now or miss Al Qaeda?” tweeted Shannon McCann.

Others invoked the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Yes, really.

 “9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America?” posted Luke Brasili.

For her part, Davuluri didn’t immediately respond.

But many, turned off by the reaction, turned off Twitter and turned in for the night.

“I’m not going to click on #MissAmerica. I could do without a whole bunch of racism directed at brown people right now. Thanks,” tweeted Josh Shahryar.

But there were plenty who came to her defense.

“i think its amazing that @NinaDavuluri was crowned Miss America. THIS is the american story,” tweeted drummer Questlove.

And finally, there were those who tweeted variations on “Deal with it!”

“meanwhile in america, our country’s citizens have officially reached their lowest point. #MissAmerica is Indian; GET OVER IT,” wrote Mariah Contreras.

Well said, Mariah, well said.

CNN’s AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report.

TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


8 Comments to “Miss America crowns 1st winner of Indian descent; racist tweets flow”

    Sad World said:
    September 16, 2013 at 7:05 AM

    So people are having an issue with the woman who won Miss America but are ok with supporting this obnoxious show? Got it…

    MrCrabs said:
    September 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    The US is made of hundreds of nationalities and multiple races. Doesn't it make sense that a contestant could be from one of them? If you don't like it, go find a Nazi Germany to live where you can live among the racially pure. Davuluri fits the parameters for this kind of contest. She's a US born citizen. Good for her!

    keeping real said:
    September 16, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    well USA now has a chance of winning the Miss Universe, that for anybody that cares!!

    Jim said:
    September 16, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    White people are the problem they are the racist.

      Ven said:
      September 17, 2013 at 6:13 AM

      Right Jim. They are the only ones making comments on Twitter. How can they say what American? I guess when you come to a land and take it over, and name it what u want, that makes u an American, and everyone else isn't. They're always calling things "American", when they have no clue what it means.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s