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September 24, 2013  | by: Neil Protacio

Twitter (MissAmerica)

America, where is your hospitality?

Miss New York Nina Davuluri has, for the most part, been accused of being Muslim, a terrorist, and looking like she works at 7-11. This comes as a result of her winning the Miss America competition, consequently making her the first Indian-American to achieve such an honor.

The claims against her are malicious, baffling, far devoid of any knowledge about what it truly means to be an “American.” And while America has, for years, seen different people of different ethnicities come and make U.S. soil their home, the ignorance still seeps within our skin.

What does it mean to be truly American? The modern image that seems to stick out in our heads would be that of Theresa Vail, Miss Kansas. She broke past the norms of elegance and grace, having served her country and donning tattoos. In addition, if it weren’t for a projectile clause in the Miss America rulebook, she would’ve performed archery on stage.

But instead, we got Davuluri.

Twitter (MissAmerica)

Twitter (MissAmerica)

“It’s a difficult situation, and that was something I experienced even as Miss New York,” she told National Public Radio about her experiences of looking through the negative tweets. “That being said, for every one negative tweet or comment that I have seen or received, I have received dozens of positive words of encouragement, support, and love.”

With eyebrows raised, one can only hope that America can learn to be more tolerant of its citizens. It feels almost surreal that the media has to scold its own readers on why it’s not OK to judge others by the color of their skin. Racism has donned its ugly head at the tail end of this pageant, but to brush it off, treat it like any other case, and ignore it would be irresponsible.

What America needs to understand is that it’s wrong to base your opinions based on looks, and while I feel spiteful for having to say this, I’m just going to go ahead and say it: not all Indians are Muslims. Not all Muslims are terrorists. To clump the community of one religion with a whole ethnicity just comes to show how stupid Americans can be. And you wonder why the French hate us?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to come up with a remedy for prejudices. We can only hope that the next generation will become more open-minded when a non-White delegate is selected to represent America.

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