POSTED: Monday, September 16, 2013 - 7:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 9:54am
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — We have a new Miss America and she made history. Nina Davuluri, an aspiring physician from Syracuse, won the title, tiara and $50,000.
This is the first time a woman of Indian-American heritage has taken the crown. But almost immediately, the backlash hit social media.
"She's an American-born on American soil. She qualifies and she won. I think she deserves it," said Baton Rouge-based pageant director, Tiffany Barrow.
Barrow is appalled by the way America is reacting to our new Miss America.
"Social media is the devil," noted Barrow.
After working and competition in pageants herself, Barrow says this competition is about diversity, and Nina embodies that.
"We should all learn as Americans to celebrate the diversity. This is what makes our country great. We should be able to celebrate that," stated Barrow.
But while Nina is celebrating, others are making their voices heard over social media about her win.
“One of the most appalling ones that I found was calling her an Arab terrorist,” noted Indian-American, Manal Ahmed. “Firstly, she's of Indian decent."
Local Indian-Americans say they should be offended, but really they are embarrassed by the way some people are handling the situation.
“Honestly I kind of feel sorry for your country. We’re living in 2013. We’ve had our African-American president for 5 years,” noted Ahmed. “To be honest, we should be able to break these stereotypes at this point."
"They are ignorant and more over America is all about diversity,” said Indian-American LSU student, Aditita Mokkapati. “The only difference between a black person and a white person is the melanin content in their skin.”
Barrow says this backlash is taking her back to when she was competing for the crown.
"If I had the opportunity to win and had it be me would these same things be said," said Barrow.
And now Indian-Americans such as Manal are only dissecting the negative comments, when she says this should be simply be an exciting step in pageant history.
“Not to have the stereotypical American girl kind of look and display cultural events in those pageants is very empowering to me," said Ahmed.
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