The Problem With an Indian-American Miss America

The Problem With an Indian-American Miss America post image

We shouldn’t have an Indian-American Miss America and I hope we never have another one.

You heard me. (You read me, I guess.)

Twitter was set afire after the crowning of Nina Davuluri, this year’s Miss America. Davuluri, of Indian descent, caused a stir among the more ignorant Internet users who called her an Arab or a Muslim or other things which she is not. I tend to believe that the vast majority of these commenters are trolls, poking the tiger and eagerly anticipating the inevitable carnage. Of course, some are stupid, inbred racists. Either way, hooray for you, trolls and idiots. Give yourself a pat on the back, or ask your uncle to do it for you while he is spooning you naked from behind.

The Americas were originally settled many, many thousands of years ago by people who either came across a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska, or via boat from Southeast Asia and areas across the South Pacific. Since then the population has been in a constant state of change. The fact that Davuluri is the new Miss America is just another reflection of the ongoing metamorphosis.

And though I have no way of knowing for sure, I will bet the superfluous labeling and needless categorizing of its peoples began immediately. These days, there are check-boxes on surveys for African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Asian-Americans (who are then broken down even further into Japanese-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Korean-Americans and so on) and so forth. Oddly enough, when someone’s family comes from England, they aren’t English-Americans. They’re just “Americans”?

It’s arbitrary, discriminatory and stupid. Considering that Asians were the first ones on the continent, maybe I should just be classified as “American,” and all these interlopers from Europe should be identified as such. British-Americans. Finlandian-Americans. Luxembourgian-Americans. Do you know how much time we would waste if everyone had to describe themselves in that manner? My family has been in this country for four generations. So you can go ahead and just call me American, not Asian-American. I would rather you use, “American of Asian Appearance,” as it puts the emphasis on the American part.

Seriously, get out there and see the world. Not because it will broaden your horizons, which it just might, but because you’ll be forced to fill out customs and immigration forms. These forms will ask you your nationality and you’ll get some pretty strange looks from foreign border agents if you write in some sort of hyphenated American. For better or worse, the rest of the world sees us as just Americans. It’s time we start seeing ourselves as such. Maybe then we can move on to more important things here.

Let’s move past this. Weren’t we supposed to be in a post-racial America? Nina Davuluri is an American woman, born and raised right here in America. In the future, I hope we can ignore the winner’s something-Americanness and either be disgusted with the fact that we are still having these sexist circuses of misogyny known as pageants, or be in awe of how her rack looks in swimwear.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Chris September 17, 2013, 2:53 am

    Bravo! From a English-Irish-Scottish-French-German American.

    • Paul Ogata September 17, 2013, 10:19 am

      Thanks, Chris! From a fellow Earthling-American.

  • Renee September 17, 2013, 10:46 am

    Awesome article from a American Portuguese Scottish French Chinese Filipino who is just an American.

    • Paul Ogata September 17, 2013, 11:39 am

      See? You would totally run out of room on questionnaire forms if you had to type all that in.

  • Kalena KP Horie September 17, 2013, 12:19 pm

    Yup, French, Irish, Indian, Welsh, and German American here and I hate checking the “white” box.

    • Paul Ogata September 17, 2013, 1:50 pm

      Ha ha… it might be easier to tell people what you aren’t at this point.

  • CJ September 17, 2013, 2:34 pm

    About those check boxes… They always have the Multicultural (Not Hispanic or Latino) option. Why can’t Latinos / Hispanics identify with multiple ethnic groups?

    “I’m sorry, you’re Latino. You aren’t allowed to have multiple ethnic backgrounds.”

    • Paul Ogata September 17, 2013, 2:43 pm

      Guy: “I’m multicultural.”
      Government clerk: “Well you look Mexican.”
      Guy: “I’m Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan and Honduran.”
      Government clerk: “Right, like I said, Mexican. Next!”

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