Monday, September 16, 2013

What does it mean to be an "American" again?



What is America?  Better question: What does it mean to be American?  I’ve asked before so perhaps it is a purely academic question like, “What is love” or, “What is the meaning of life?

Recently, with the increased vocalization of the Tea-Party and ultra-conservative movements, the question became a little more than academic.  Not only did it become the desired “goal” of the far right – not unlike a game of capture the flag attempting to seize “America” back from the evil clutches of Barack the Barracuda – but it is also at the heart of the immigration debate.  So yeah, we’ve written on this subject before; it isn’t a new issue. 


The only reason I bring it up today is because of what happened to the new Miss America, Nina Davuluri, over the weekend.  The reaction to her win makes it hard for me to remove racial prejudices from the cries of “real American!”
Miss America 2014
Seriously, Davuluri, was misidentified as Muslim, Arab, and even called a terrorist and a member of Al Qaeda.  And why?  Because she’s Indian.  Well, Indian American to be more specific.  Before she was even born, her parents moved to the United States.  Nina was born in New York, raised in Oklahoma and Michigan, and graduated – with honors – from The University of Michigan.  She wants to be a cardiologist.

But none of that matters.  She isn’t blond.  She doesn’t have blue eyes.  She doesn’t have fair skin.  Nope, she has jet black hair, and olive skin, and she performed a Bollywood dance during the competition.  So regardless of her American upbringing, in some eyes, she will NEVER be “American.” Instead of celebrating what makes this great, the same principle is what brings a shadow over parts of our country. 

The far right can act like this isn’t real or confined to a small corner of America’s underbelly.  To me, not only is it front and center in today’s society, it’s ran for office and won and has cemented itself at the center of many of the more controversial issues going on today (see North Carolina).

It is also why I’m not a libertarian.  One (or more) of those extremely ignorant responders is in a position or will be in a position to hire or fire someone.  They may be the person who allows or denies someone school admission.  For NO other reason than what she looks like.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call PROFILING!  I know, I know.  During the Trayvon Martian flare up you were told "profiling" doesn't exist.  But it does.  

Look, it’s one thing to say that people should only be hired based on their merit along – a common argument against Affirmative Action.  I agree.  They should.  But in THIS country – that exists in the real world – that shit doesn’t matter.  Natural born citizen be damn!  It doesn’t matter.  You are who THEY (whomever “they” are) see you to be.  Period!

Seriously, this woman is like the poster child for “American success story.”  Ironically, she represents everything right and wrong in America.  She was born and raised here.  She went to school here.  She earned her own way against the odds based her gender and race.  If “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” had a step-by-step user guide, it appears as though she followed it perfectly.  Yet, beyond all her efforts and regardless of her success, she’s still seen as a “Muslim,” “Arab,” “foreigner,” “bitch.”  This is part of the reason I don’t agree with the “Cosby(s)” of the world when it comes to race relations (most recently with Trayvon Martin).  There’s only so much minorities can do.  Sure, “taking responsibility” is a good way to deflect and accept a hard truth that their response too many situations are based in racial animosity.  But responses like we’ve seen over the past 24 hours prove that “taking responsibility” isn’t the magic elixir.  It's part, but not all.  Isn’t admitting there’s a problem the first step to addressing the problem?  And we wonder why progress has slowed.  HA!

Oh, some folks blamed Obama for this atrocity!  Classic!!!

Here are some twitter responses to Davuluri’s win (I guess she played the race card.  That's the only reason people respond like this, right?):

I am literarily soo mad right now a ARAB�� won #MissAmerica
— Dallas Robinson (@DallasRobinson8) September 16, 2013

How the fuck does a foreigner win miss America? She is a Arab! #idiots
— Jake Amick (@jakeamick5) September 16, 2013

And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic.
— POOKIE. (@Granvil_Colt) September 16, 2013

Miss America? You mean Miss 7-11.
— CHEEZ-IT (@JPLman95) September 16, 2013

Sand nigger is up #missamerica
— Chris Black (@ChrisBlack57) September 16, 2013

If a Muslim wins this pageant. Lord help me.
— Emily (@emi_adkins) September 16, 2013

How can a muslim win Miss AMERICA? #sorrynotsorry
— Max Orr (@max_orr3) September 16, 2013

9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America?
— Luke Brasili (@LukeBrasili) September 16, 2013

It's called Miss America. Get outta here New York you look like a terrorist. #bye#americanforamerica
— Emily (@emi_adkins) September 16, 2013

Don't you have to be American to win Miss AMERICA this bitch is some type of Indian
— BIG GLUTE CURL (@pow_pow65) September 16, 2013

(This was my personal favorite)
I am not okay with this.. Thanks Obama, Thanks a lot!
— Hayley Cheyenne (@CheyenneHayley) September 16, 2013

We have a black president and an Asian Miss America. This ain't Merica no more guys.
Camille (@camillemixon) September 16, 2013

Well we all know Obama bought that pageant! — ♔♚TyAnn♚♔ (@tyann_m) September 16, 2013
The liberal Miss America judges won't say this - but Miss Kansas lost because she actually represented American values. #missamerica
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) September 16, 2013
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