On Sunday, September 15th night the unthinkable happened as far as the psyche of some Americans. Nina Davuluri, was crowned Miss New York, the winner of the 2014 Miss America Pageant. To the naïve, its just another pageant and just another Miss New York, but in the minds of many it was unthinkable and the subtle lines of animosity were immediately visible. The fact that Nina Davuluri has an Indian name and is the first contestant of Indian descent to be crowned Miss America perhaps came as a shock to many who were so far ready to accept the friendly presence of an Indian in their office but when it came to a representation of things they thought were truly American it was only a “white/caucasian” who fitted into that slot.

Newsfeed all over the US was abuzz with barely concealed surprise and malice over people’s expression of shock that this one bastion of what they thought was ‘pure as New York snow’ bastion to be conquered by an Indian. Tweets like ‘Jake Amick@jakeamick5 Follow-How the fuck does a foreigner win miss America? She is a Arab! #idiots ‘are a classic case of what the white mind understands to be an American. Other reactions like, Jessica Ayres @JAyres15 Follow-‘I swear I’m not racist but this is America.’ OR Nate@NateBerard Follow-‘Asian or Indian are you kiddin this is america omg’ just reiterated the same feeling for the past two days that immigrants are still not an accepted lot as far as the psyche of some of the white American goes. To add to this is the almost hilarious (if it were not so pathetic) idea of geography that emerges from these reactions like, POOKIE.@Granvil_Colt Follow-And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic.’

What is even more shocking from the immigrant point of view is that many an American associate immigrants with terrorists and even the 9/11 case, which as everyone knows was a terrorist plot that has nothing t do with every immigrant to the US. But the question one needs to ask is, are Indians in The US really surprised by the reactions that have poured in some of which are unabashedly racist and often imply the lack of basic sensitivity on the part of the so called Americans?

It’s a very strange phenomenon to see that most of the white population reacting to this forgets that America is a nation made up of immigrants. When people make silly and irresponsible comments about a lady who has just won the title and compare her with members of terrorist outfits like Al-Qaeda who bombed the US, they don’t realize that this might permanently damage the relations between two nations, India and the US because the lack of sensitivity at critical junctures like this could be permanent sometimes.

Thankfully, such sentiments are not shared by many people in the US who are sensible and have tried to understand the immigrants for their true worth before venturing to comment, but the fact that there are so many who have vented their anger in the most disgusting and inappropriate manner so as to hurt the sentiments of fellow Americans of Indian descent, make a mark on one culture of one of the greatest nations of the world. It also begs to show to such people that India and America have had a long standing relation based on friendship, where each have added to the another’s culture and growth as a nation and that cannot be taken for granted or even handled in an irresponsible manner.

The United States has been built up on the culture and dream that this is a nation where you can achieve anything you want in this country, if you work very hard. But this reaction proves this saying wrong, when an American ( no matter what her descent is) does exactly that, there are people who are angry at that, will the real American please stand up?


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Shah Peerally is an attorney licensed in California practicing immigration law and debt settlement. He has featured as an expert legal analyst for many TV networks such as NDTV, Times Now and Sitarree TV. Articles about Shah Peerally and his work have appeared on newspapers such as San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, US Fiji Times, Mauritius Le Quotidien, Movers & Shakers and other prominent international newspapers. His work has been commended by Congress women Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee. He has a weekly radio show on KLOK 1170AM and frequently participates in legal clinics in churches, temples and mosques. His law group, Shah Peerally Law Group, has represented clients all over the United States constantly dealing with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Custom Enforcement(ICE) and CBP (Customs Border Patrol (CBP) under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This department was formerly known as the Immigration and Nationality Services (INS).