“Tell me what is happenin cuz now the music industries are focusing on market employees, see I remember, back then cuz it wasn’t about the sounds or the color, it mattered all about the boys, now things are changin cuz back in the day no one the fuck of my sounds now it’s all about the latest trends, I guess I’m lucky cuz the color of the season is brown”
– Jay Sean
This verse from Jay Sean’s hit song “You Don’t Know Me” signifies his struggle to become a solo artist in an industry primarily ruled by Caucasian and African American men. The song featured in his first solo album titled, “Me Against Myself”, which released in November of 2004. He concludes this particular verse with the following statement, “I guess I’m lucky cuz the color of the season is brown.” Almost a decade later, events have proved Jay’s words wrong. The recent crowning of Miss America is a proof of that. While big names such as Jay Sean, Priyanka Chopra, Amithabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Tabu, Irfan Khan, Kunal Nayyar and Kal Penn are making international advances in their particular fields, racism continues to put a shameful halt on some growing potentials.
While Miss America 2014 Pageant organizers were proud of the growing diversity of the pageant, majority of the audiences’ reactions differed. An instantaneous uproar emerged on social media sites which flooded the internet with negativity and hateful words after the crowning of America’s first Indian-American Miss America. Nina Davuluri – a 24 year old contestant from Syracuse, New York – is an aspiring doctor, who won and was elated at her victory. “I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity”, 24-year-old Nina Davuluri said in her first press conference, moments after winning the crown in Atlantic City. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.” Although she did not react to the negative impact, celebrities of Indian origin who are aware of her struggle spoke on her behalf. Fuze got in touch with some of these celebrities to hear what they had to say. Here are some of their reactions.
Steven Roy Thomas
“Ignorance like this projected in such a disrespectful tone is overwhelmingly sad. All this illustrates is the incredibly low levels of education in this country. Especially regarding the history and nature of USA.”
“I’d like to ask all the Americans who are creating issues about her not being pure American, who is the President of your great nation right now? Isn’t Mr. Obama technically not a pure American?”
“I think it’s high time that the world realizes that Indian women are the most beautiful and intelligent on the planet. As far as the negative comments that were passed, no attention should be given to those people who react out of fear and jealousy. It only takes away from the fact that somebody has worked really hard and achieved something great.”
“I was equally happy and amazed that an Indian American person just like myself was able to win Miss America. I also realized that post her victory, things really hadn’t changed. America and the world have many different types of people and despite having so much cultural diversity, some of those in America with no education or those who have racist and uninformed thinking would still make such hurtful remarks to a person who was very accomplished and talented. To me, it most probably stems from their jealousy as Indian Americans have accomplished a lot in the U.S and remain one of the most successful and highest earning people in the U.S. This girl’s victory showed that we are headed in the right direction, but still have a long way to go.”
“I’m happy to see an Indian American winning which points to the fact that the system does not have a racial bias. Immigrants to the US started coming as early as 1600’s from Britain and other European countries. Hence the US is a diverse mix of all races including Africans, Indians and other ethnicities. A country made up if such a populace shouldn’t be inclined towards racial bias.”
“I think it’s definitely a very big achievement for Nina to have won the hearts of so many and to have won this title. I know for a fact that the judgment panel in the pageant know their job very well. Kudos to them for making a fair judgment. As for the rest of the people who have problems with the race or her, I think they should try and participate next time to see how it feels to have achieved something after working hard and to get such kind of a reaction. I think they are bunch of hypocrites and losers who have nothing better to do in their life but to pull down those who have achieved something, so I just think they need to get a life. So from my side cheers to Nina and her family and friends. Way to go girl!!!”
“It’s a moment of pride for India as Nina is of Indian descendent but technically still an American. Being born and brought up there, it makes her an American. What shocked me the most is the way she was attacked by few racists. People called her names; a terrorist, an Arab, and what not. In my opinion, the racist behavior was not needed. So much for the American education system.”
“First of all heartiest congratulations to Nina for winning the Miss America Pageant. I really feel proud when anyone whose roots stretch back to India does well here or internationally; it is a proud moment for all of us. In regards to the derogatory comments made about her, it is really shameful. I’d just request her to smile about it, considering the IQ of the people who have slandered her. They believe Arabia, India and most Asian countries are one and the same. I laugh at their ignorance, and besides a non-white skinned person achieving so much in life, is definitely going make a racial chauvinist go green with envy. Criticism is the only way they can vent out their insecurities. So it’s time be proud and celebrate!”
“Hearing that the United States is being represented by an Indian makes all us Indian so so proud. It’s good to know we are making mark not just in our country but abroad too in many fields. Many congratulations to Nina and wishing her a great future ahead.”
Sadly, racism has become a greater part of today’s “Darwinistic world.” If you can’t beat them, batter them with your words. Despite, strong racist beliefs, a hardworking man or woman will always remain victorious. At the end of the day, it is not about how the world sees you, but how you see yourself.
Writers’s Note- As an Indian who was born in India and raised in New York for the past thirteen years, I myself would like to give props to Nina on having done such a beautiful job of representing the best of both worlds on a soon to be International platform. As both a proud Indian and proud New Yorker, I’d like to say, India one day gave the world the number “0”, then the Kohinoor, then the Taj Mahal; today we proudly give you Nina Davulari; Former Miss New York, Current Miss America and possibly Tomorrow’s Miss World. Jai Hind and God Bless America!
Author: Diana Lydia
Editor: A. Patel