On Sept. 15, Nina Davuluri was crowned 2013’s Miss America and is considered the first Indian-American to win the pageant. Naturally, American’s took to social media to share their opinions of her and what followed was disappointing. There were an outrageous number of people calling her a terrorist claiming that America had just crowned a member of Al-Qaeda.
Davuluri was born in Syracuse, New York which makes her just as much of an American as the rest of us and in case anyone for- got, being Indian is not synonymous with being a terrorist.
What’s most alarming to me about all of this is that I didn’t just read these claims on Twitter. In fact, I’ve heard them at Seton Hall.
Just last week I was standing in Fahy Hall and overheard a conversation in which a group of girls discussed the fact that Davuluri didn’t look American and that she shouldn’t have won. What does it even mean to “look American?” The last time I checked you don’t have to be “white” to be considered a citizen of this country.
People often view racism as a black and white issue, but it’s more than that. These days, there’s a misconception that just be- cause there are equal rights for every race in America that racism is no longer an issue, but I think not.
A few months ago a Cheerio’s commercial aired that featured an interracial couple with their daughter. People were up-in- arms over the representation of an interracial couple on television, so much so there were requests made for General Mills to stop airing it. According to a Pew Research Center study, interracial couples represent 8.4 present of all current U.S. marriages and yet they can’t be portrayed in a commercial without creating controversy.
Its instances like these that make me feel that much of America is still racist. I know it’s bold to say, but am I wrong? I can’t begin to tell you how often I hear a racist comment and how frequently I hear it on this campus. Racism still exists and I’d argue that it’s especially prevalent in our generation. Whether they are said as a joke or said with seriousness, racially charged comments are often uttered with strong conviction but no clout.
Why is it that our generation, often referred to as the “movers and shakers,” has done very little to proactively change the view of racism in America?
We must challenge ourselves and others to think differently and act differently or society will digress.
Racism does not go away if we ignore it, joke about it or allow it, it just festers. If you’re racist, than you’re the minority. After all, ignorance is not bliss.
Ashley Duvall is a senior public relations major from Vernon, N.J. She can be reached at email@example.com.