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America’s top beauty queen downplays racist tweets
September 17, 2013 , 12 : 11 pm GST
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Miss America contestant, Miss New York Nina Davuluri (in yellow) celebrates with other contestants after being chosen winner of the 2014 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 15, 2013. Photo - REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
For the first time America's top beauty queen is a woman of Indian origin, and she is playing down racist tweets that say she looks like an 'Asian terrorist'.
The new Miss America is Nina Davuluri, a 24-year-old from New York who wants to be a doctor. She called her crowning Sunday night at the Atlantic City pageant in which she performed a traditional Bollywood dance a victory for diversity in America.
"It was the first time Bollywood has been performed on the Miss America stage. It's an honour for myself and my community," Davuluri told ABC television yesterday morning.
"Halfway through, I just started crying because you know, it was such an incredible experience being on that Miss America stage," she said. "It was so meaningful and powerful."
Davuluri is beaming despite a spurt of racist tweets about her. She downplayed them, however.
"I have to rise above that," she said at a news conference on Sunday night after being crowned.
"I always viewed myself as first and foremost American." Many described the beauty queen, who is believed to be a practicing Hindu, as an Asian who looks like a terrorist.
A user with the handle @emi_adkins said "It's called Miss America. Get outta here New York you look like a terrorist. #bye #americanforamerica."
Lue Brasili exclaimed "9/11 was four days ago and she gets Miss America," while user Karl Sharro said "Al Qaeda influenced the liberal judges." Others, like the Jezebel feminist blog, denounced the comments, saying "racists are being racist because Miss America isn't white."
"This world is so ignorant. #Miss America Indian or not had every right to gain the title of Miss America. This is why I want to leave America!" chimed in @CJlovebug. Davuluri competed on the platform issue of "celebrating diversity through cultural competency."
"I'm so happy this organisation has embraced diversity," she said at the news conference.
"I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.".
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