There are far worse problems in the world. We still see young men of color gunned down with impunity by the police. We still live in a world where people are denied homes and jobs because of the color of their skin. Frankly as Hari Kondabolu pointed out when he said “can we stop being racist while we are objectifying women” the Miss America pageant is far more problematic than the comments by some very unenlightened people upset that the crown went to an Indian-American woman.
The hate showered on Nina Davuluri by random folks on Twitter and by Fox news still deserves to be talked about. Ms Davuluri in many ways is luckier than most. Her name is known around the world now. She has a bright future ahead of her. Too many non-white people, both in America and abroad, however, will not get that bright future thanks to the color of their skin. The comments made in the wake of the pageant are not a fluke. They are the result of a country full of people, including people of color, who have a hard time with equating the good (which of course in America equals American) with anything other than white. Ask anyone to picture a doctor, professor, preacher, or any other desirable profession and you can bet they will picture a white person (probably a man.)
This is not an isolated incident. We saw the same earlier this year over Google making a doodle in honor of Cesar Chavez. I have often asserted that these people are coming out of the woodwork now, that they are bolder in their rhetoric and their actions, because they know they are fast becoming obsolete. I still hold to that, but in the meanwhile they are doing damage to our culture. They reinforce for some who might otherwise be reached that just challenging white supremacy is somehow victimizing white folks. They reinforce the notion in the minds of so many young people of color, many who do not have role models readily present thanks to parents working multiple part-time jobs and to a prison industrial complex that turns their mothers and fathers into slave labor for crimes that white people get a ticket for, that they are less, that they are not the good, that they are not real Americans and that their society does not want them.
There are more direct, more dire, examples of racism. We absolutely should be spending more of our energy challenging the notion that our authorities can still engage in the extra judicial execution of young black men. We definitely need to make sure we never forget that or schools are still pipelines to prison for too many people of color. We cannot let our system continue to treat black as criminal, allowing them to gun down grandmothers and grandfathers over a clerical error on a raid, only to have the officers in charge receive a slap on the wrist. Part of that fight has to include raising our voices when we see that system reinforced by racist fools with an ax to grind, even when the stage is one we would rather no longer exist.
- MISS AMERICA: Racist reaction to first Indian-American winner (pe.com)
- Syracuse-area native, Nina Davuluri, crowned Miss America 2014, but not without social media fuss (theglobaldispatch.com)
- Miss America 2013 …. Nina Davuluri!! (hrexach.wordpress.com)
- People Are So Dumb It Hurts (yoimjustsayin.com)