The news of an Indian-American contestant winning the national Miss America beauty pageant, has resulted in a barrage of racist messages over the internet.
Although Nina Davuluri told a press conference after winning Miss America that she was “so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” social networking platform Twitter erupted with users expressing their displeasure at her victory. Reactions to Davuluri’s success in the competition included claims that she was of Arab origin.
Offensive comments ranged from outrage at the proximity of the “Arab” win to the Sept. 11 attacks, to her faith, to jokes about her having possible ties to militant group al-Qaeda.
One Twitter user wrote: “This is Miss America… Not Miss Foreign Country.” Some users even questioned Davuluri’s links to militant group al-Qaeda asking: “Miss America right now or miss al-Qaeda?”
This added to a plethora of messages deeming Davuluri’s win as inappropriate a few days after 9/11. “9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets Miss America?” a Twitter-user said and another added: “@ABC2020 nice slap in the face to the people of 9-11 how pathetic #missamerica“
Perhaps the tip of the iceberg was the outright claim that the problem with Davuluri’s success was her “Arab” nationality. “I am literarily soo mad right now an ARAB won,” said one user.
Ibrahim Hooper, the National Communications Director at the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said if people “falsely label her as a Muslim, I would assume it is the same people who are engaged in anti-Muslim bigotry on the internet that would attack somebody that they perceive to be Muslim even though it wasn’t the case.”