Miss America and Why Sometimes I am Ashamed to be an American

There are some days when I am ashamed to be an American. 

I am as patriotic as the next person, but sometimes I wonder what is going on with people in our country. I am in favor of freedom of speech, but all of these anonymous postings on the Internet really bring out the ignorant haters.

NOTE: Although today was a day of sadness, outrage and horror over another mass shooting, and I have addressed that and the need for more mental health evaluation and services, today’s topic is another reason for shame.

I am ashamed of people spewing utter hatred (under their anonymous guise of twitter accounts and the like)  because of the woman chosen to be Miss America.

I feel so sorry for her, and I feel obligated to speak as one of the most-of-the-time silent majority.

This is a country made up of immigrants. Although this is a trying time in our country due to the influx of illegal immigration, there are many, many people who came to this country legally for better opportunity and a higher quality of life.

They have achieved that American dream by learning the language, educating their young, working hard, and succeeding.  What more can we ask of an immigrant, than to learn our language, stress education to their children, and pay taxes due to their own work ethic and hard work?

Many people who have immigrated from India fit the above description. Some call them Asians, some call them Indian Americans (to stress the difference between Native Americans) but I call them Americans. Their children, who were born and raised here and only bear the physical identifiers without so much of an accent, are surely Americans.

And so the Miss America judges picked a woman with parents who came from India – a well-educated, beautiful, poised woman with great ambition, who was born and raised here and speaks without so much as a smidgen of an accent!

I applaud this choice. She was the best choice. She displayed talent, gave a great answer in the interview portion under pressure, and certainly has great beauty, aside from her many accomplishments.

Some are angry because the white blonde military person was not selected. Some tattoo advocates are outraged that the Miss America people did not show diversity by accepting and acknowledging a tattooed beauty pageant winner. This is truly laughable. True, the woman served our country and I give her kudos for that. But to select her and even favor her for being a role model with a bunch of tattoos marking up her beautiful body? The fact that people even advocated for that is ludicrous. (I have to ask here – is the voluntary choice to be inked now a “cause?”)

Just as a long time ago, there was never a African American Miss America or for that matter an African American leading our country as president, there has never been an Asian winner of Miss America. There has never been an Indian American winner for that matter. And to be honest, I think there was only one Jewish winner in the whole history of the pageant, and that was 50 or 60 years ago.  And yet, there are many of us, and many Asians, Hispanics, and Indian Americans who are beautiful and talented and could be a Miss America.  So all I ask is why not?

My grandparents were immigrants. Because our looks blend into the general society without people questioning where we came from, it was probably just a bit easier for my ancestors, and even for my generation to assimilate. I cringe now knowing the prejudice some Indian Americans must face, such as our new Miss America.

Just as there are lots of varieties of beauty on this earth, there is sure a whole lot of ugliness.

Usually I roast the Miss American pageant in my blog the next day, but this year is different. I give them a hearty congratulations on selecting a very appropriate winner.

And to Miss America, formerly Miss New York, I sincerely apologize for those idiots who expressed themselves  in the media who made you feel bad about your victory just based on your heritage. Please know that there are most of us, many more than the ignorant haters, who are happy that you won.


  • Arlene, this was really interesting and I agree with you. This year I did not get to watch the pageant so I was interested to see what you had to say about it. I am amazed there was so much dissent. Crazy world we live in . I wish they would have re runs. I missed the Emmys too ! xox

  • Great article, Arlene. Unfortunately, there are some, who when they can be anonymous behind a keyboard, the nastiness comes out. Whether it’s a beauty pageant, politics, religion, sports, etc., the hate spews like a volcano!
    I agree with your friend Sara, most of this was media driven and not as bad as you think. I saw so many positive tweets and posts! The media needs to focus on the positive!! As was with Miley Cyrus, please don’t show us any more about her, it feeds the bizarre behavior!

  • Let me just say I was one of the first to spread the ridiculous media driven headlines as to the “tweets” of hate. Upon further research, it was so clear that the media had once again created a headline which we all bought. The TRUTH was the overwhelming response to the selection of the current Miss America was not only positive, but showed such PRIDE in our country.

    Shame on the media for creating the headlines that would create MORE shame and hate. My bad for sharing the headline this morning, my bad for not spending time monitoring Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and ALL the other digital media outlets that were real time posting comments about the current winner and her passion for education, philanthropy and her rich culture. The truth, real time, we as a country were THRILLED with the results of the “beauty” pageant. Beauty was defined by talent, culture and intelligence last night. In fact, my friends from India were excited a “dark skin” sister had the honor.

    • I agree Sara – for them to reprint the hatred was unconscionable. However, there are a lot of very stupid, vocal people who think anyone who looks foreign is dangerous, or doesn’t belong in America. A scary thought.

  • Bonnie Lassin Grant

    Arlene, that was very eloquently stated and I couldn’t agree with you more!! Kudos to Miss America…she should keep her head held up high for her heritage!!

  • I normally do not bother to notice Miss America, but in this case, I’m with you.

  • I’ve read that she’s aware of the tweets and is ignoring them. Good for her. She was certainly a most deserving winner. I wanted her the minute she answered her question with such intelligence. And then again, she spells her name, “Nina”, normally! (See my FB comment about “Myrrhanda”…and I still find it odd that both Miss California and Miss Hawaii are named “Crystal Lee”..they should have differentiated with a middle name at least

    • Karen, there was definitely a lot of comic fodder. I kept flipping back and forth between an Alfred Hitchcock film festival so I probably missed some good stuff.

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