Beauty Queen Is ‘Not American Enough’

She Matters: Note to Twitter racists: Miss America, Nina Davuluri, is just as American as you.

Nina Davuluri, 2014 Miss America Winner (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Nina Davuluri, 2014 Miss America Winner (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

(The Root) — Last month, Southern rapper and Academy Award winner Juicy J announced via Twitter that he was offering a $50,000 scholarship to “the best chick who can twerk.” It was a marketing strategy to gain interest in “Scholarship” — a song off his latest album, Stay Trippy — and no doubt an opportunity to see women ages 18 to 25 shake their behinds.  

As you can imagine, I was appalled, for many reasons. Not that college women don’t twerk. But it’s one thing to do it on a dance floor or in a dorm room for fun, and another to ask young women to shake their backsides in exchange for money. It seems too much like stripping.

And I’m not sure how beneficial it is to ask young women pursuing an education to upload a video of themselves dancing salaciously, which would live online forever and could be viewed by future employers. Oh, and Juicy J is 38, and the women on the youngest end of his scale could be his daughters. Eyew!

I was relaying my outrage to a friend, who looked at me blankly while I ranted on. “Do you get this upset about the Miss America pageant?” she asked. “Isn’t it the same thing, really? Young women parading around in swimsuits to be judged on their looks in exchange for college money?”

Touché. And the scholarship amount is the same.

“And [Miss America founder Donald] Trump’s way older than 38,” she added.

He’s actually 67.  

I hadn’t thought of the Miss America pageant since Kenya from Real Housewives of Atlanta was telling anyone who would listen that she was Miss USA, not Miss America. I also hadn’t watched the pageant in years but tuned in briefly Sunday night when I saw people on my Twitter timeline talking about it. I watched long enough to see a contestant asked about Miley Cyrus twerking at the MTV Video Music Awards. I turned the channel.

I didn’t even know who won until the following morning. Turns out the winner was Nina Davuluri, the first woman of Indian descent to win the crown. In the most ignorant (and vocal) segments of social media, people were not happy.

“How the f–k does a foreigner win Miss America?” one man tweeted just after Davuluri was crowned Sunday night.

“If you’re #Miss America you should have to be American,” another woman wrote.

One commenter even called her a “terrorist.”