The new Miss America is a real stunner. I saw the clips at a pub — they had the sound turned down. I thought, so that’s who won the contest this year — can we please get to the baseball scores? It would appear others had a different reaction.
Miss New York, now Miss America, is a Syracuse native and University of Michigan graduate, her name is Nina Davuluri. She’s the first woman of Indian descent to win the contest. Born in America, an American citizen, and by all accounts an exemplary young person.
Congratulations Nina. You live in America, where everybody has a chance to win. You just proved it.
I’m an innovation commentator and from that lens it’s always nice to see diversity, always good to see difference included in our culture and economy. It’s a signal of innovation health. Innovation happens when people are free to be creative, to make the best of themselves. Innovators embrace difference, embrace the new, embrace everyone and everything that can help them get an edge and help them invent and win. Innovators are colour blind. What they look for is talent.
Let’s be direct here: the kerfuffle about her winning has everything to do with her not being white.
Twitter had a slew of distasteful comments, some of them frankly racist, others just intolerant, ignorant, or tasteless. This happens on Twitter, people speak without editing, and the sad and ugly truth in their hearts emerges. Also their lack of education (Nina is not Arab, not a terrorist, not associated with Al Queda). Let’s face it, some people are racist. Sadly, America, the USA, still has remnants of a racist culture. Nina’s win is an example of how we’re getting better, and sadly, also an example of the work left to do. Nice to see positive tweets, reminding me that the ugly tweets are in the minority.
I know there are well meaning Americans, good people, who resist acknowledging this problem. I ask you, look into your hearts. Think about how racism limits the USA from greater success. It’s proven that diverse teams are better at innovation than homogenous teams. As Americans are we embracing everyone with talent who can contribute? If we aren’t, we’re in trouble. Interesting to note that women of colour were not even allowed in the contest until 1970. 1970, hard to believe, but it’s a fact. Overt racism is in our recent past. Thankfully, at least in this contest, every good looking woman has a chance.
I don’t expect subtle racism from a mainstream journalist. Wow, we’ve hit a new low. I’d never heard of Todd Starnes (Host of Fox News and Commentary) until yesterday. I found his recent comments on Twitter to be quite sad. And yes, subtly racist. I believe he should be fired. Members of the news media have an obligation to be fair and balanced, really, and, gee whiz, please don’t fan the flames of racial hatred. Or was he just hard up for a story?
Todd’s tweets following the win of Miss New York, Syracuse native, American citizen, Nina Davuluri:
- @toddstarnes Miss Kansas, a gun-toting, deer-hunting, military veteran was America’s choice – but not the liberal Miss America judges’ choice.
- @toddstarnes The liberal Miss America judges won’t say this- but Miss Kansas lost because she actually represented American values.
Why does this bother me so much?
Because we’re better than this.
Why politicize the Miss America contest? Liberal Judges? Oh please, spare me Todd. The New York woman won it, fair and square. Everything else is sour grapes. Let’s face it, it’s a Beauty Contest! The winner is a combination of good looking and charismatic. Winners find a way to impress the judges. The judges pick the winner. Period.
Yes, there is an America’s Choice public vote, and Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, won that. Kudos to her for that, she is a top 10 stunner — and thank you for your military service Miss Vail, I appreciate it, you are clearly an upstanding young American.
And, the judges pick Miss America, Todd, it’s not done by popular vote.
Obviously, Nina Davuluri impressed the judges. Judges in this contest do have a bias — some like tiny waists, other bums, boobs, while others favour that gleaming smile, or a token bit of spoken-word grace and charm — those are the values that are rewarded in this contest. Winners find a way to win, within the rules of the game, and Nina found that way. More power to her.
Being a tree-hugger or a gun-toter isn’t really counted so much.
But let’s talk about values. Isn’t inclusion of diverse cultures and people from other lands an American value? Nina is an American! Born here. And aren’t we all immigrants (except native Americans)? Where is it written that the values that Todd seems to espouse, i.e. gun-toting, deer-hunting, military veterans — are the Only American values? It’s also an American Value to select a winner who’s a great example. Nina apparently spent a whole year preparing for the contest. That’s how winners win, by leveraging talent with hard work. Miss America ought to be a clean-cut All-American girl — Nina is all of that. Or is that the exclusive domain of gun toting white girls Todd?
It’s an American value to be gracious when losing a contest. Shake hands after the game right? Todd Starnes (and the other racist tweeters) are like the kid who lost a little league baseball game, then walks off the field mad and blames it on the umpire.
America, generally, is better than that, thankfully.