Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nina Davulari - Miss India America: Welcome to America 2013

Nina Davuluri: Miss India America – That’s America Nina Davuluri is a typical American. She was born in Syracuse, New York, raised in Oklahoma and Michigan, and then returned to the Syracuse area after college. The 24 year old has experienced the American Dream, The daughter of immigrants yesterday won the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, the dream of millions of young American women. She has also suffered from some of the ailments of many young women in America. She has talked about her personal bouts with bulimia and having lost 50 pounds. Her story would not be of international significance except her parents are from the city of Vijaywada in the Southern India state of Andhra Pradesh. She is the first Miss America of Indian ancestry. She is Indian American, which raised some instant racist, vitriol. She was called an Arab, not a real American, a Muslim, and perhaps Al Qaeda. Someone even called her Miss 7-11, perhaps remembering Senator Joe Biden’s comments while campaigning for President in a 7-11. The number of negative comments was small compared to the overwhelming support for her. Her selection as Miss America reflects the recognition of America’s diversity by the Pageant, and of American acceptance of diversity. The Republican governors of Louisiana and South Carolina are of Indian ancestry. The two governors (Piyush “Bobby Jindal and Nimrata “Nikki” Haley) and Nina are dark skinned. Several southern states voted for Barack Obama for President. Color is not always a defining issue in America.America is changing. Caucasians now comprise less than half of California's population, a precursor to future America. One of the most famous American doctors, Sanjay Gupta, is Indian American. Nina’s father and grandfather are doctors, as are other members of her family. She combines brains and beauty. She wishes to become a cardiologist. She was an honor student at the University of Michigan with a major in brain behavior and cognitive science. Indian is becoming a part of the American culture. Indian restaurants, reflecting the regional differences of India, are sprouting up throughout America. Mindy is a popular TV show. Other Indian Americans are pillars of American society. For example, Indra Nooyi, born in India, has been the Chair and CEO of PepsiCo (Pepsi and Frit-Lay) since 2006. Over 3.4 million Americans are from Southeast Asia. 80% are from India with the remainder from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. America has always been a land of immigrants. We are all the sons and daughters of immigrants, unless we personally came to America. Even the Native Americans are descended from immigrants. America has assimilated all immigrants into the unique American culture – the land of opportunity is a melting pot of races, ethnicities, and religions. We may be African Americans, Chinese Americans, German Americans, Greek Americans, Italian Americans, Irish Americans, Jewish Americans, Japanese Americans, Mexican Americans, Persian Americans, Polish Americans, Swedish Americans, or Vietnamese Americans, but we are Americans first. Nina, a thoroughly American name, said it best when informed of some of the racist tweets: “I have to rise above that. I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.” America has gone through phases of xenophobia, but is America because of the huddled masses coming to America. We celebrate diversity in America. The Miss America Pageant has previously crowned African Americans and a Filipino American. Nina Davulari represents the best of Miss America: a role model for Americans.

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