Quoted: On America’s Reaction to Miss America, Nina Davuluri

‘How the f--k does a foreigner win miss America?’ One man tweets after Nina Davuluri’s historic win.

The former Miss New York and Miss America crowning Miss. New York as the new Miss America, via NY Daily News

Keyboards just have a way of bringing out the racist in everyone. Gotta love America.

But a harsh reality is that Miss America, would never be Miss India.  They’re about as messed up when it comes to colorism as other people are.  A former coworker always discussed how her darker Indian family members were discriminated against, and even her own mother warned her to keep her daughter out of the sun so she wouldn’t get dark.  She also used to joke about the Fair & Lovely skin lightening commercials that permeate the airwaves in India.  Coincidentally, Fair & Lovely is a product of Unilever, who also makes Dove.

As Lakshmi Chaudhry, sarcastically but truthfully, wrote on First Post, “That gorgeous chocolate may play as exotic in the West, but in India, we prefer our beauty queens strictly vanilla — preferably accessorised with blue contact lenses.”

-“An Indian-American Was Crowned Miss America & The Racists Reared Their Ugly Racist Heads” by Yesha Calahan via Clutch Magazine

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  • nicthommi

    Simple answer…yes, yes, they do.
    I’d like to hear an Indian or Indian American woman’s take on colorism, b/c Americans tend to claim that everyone who chases lightness does so b/c of colonization. And while in some cases, being favored by white groups does in fact taint relations between people in a formerly colonized country (a good example being the Hutus and Tutsis…not sure what their interaction was BEFORE being colonized by the Belgians, but I read about how the favortism shown towards one group did impact things for over a century afterwards and helped plant the seeds the eventually grew into the often ignored genocide from 20 years ago).
    I mean, I’ve heard things about skin color relating to class b/c it showed who had to work outside and didn’t. I think the TRUE meanings of a lot of beauty ideals are frequently lost or misinterpreted through our own narrow lens/cultural context.

  • Miche

    You area absolutely right about how a dark-skinned sista would be chosen for such an award yet some Blacks would not have deemed her beautiful. The following Miss Americas after Vanessa Williams that were Black were definitely dark-skinned and all lovely.

  • Michelle Kirkwood

    Exactly! There must have been at least one black or brown judge in the mix (just a guess, I don’t know that for certain.) Anyhow, she looks great, and she’s smart on top of that (she graduated from U of M–that’s the tipoff.) But yeah, I’ve read about how some folks in India have bought into the obsession with whiteness–I’ve seen those skin-lightening commercials on YouTube—here’s a little documentary done by an Indian woman on the subject of skin color in India called FAIR?

    Having watched Bollywood films for years, it always tripped me out how a lot of the leading ladies tended to be light-skinned (not all, but a number of them) and they still do, despite the popularity of stars Bipasha Basu,Malika Sherawat and Vidya Balan—all good (who happen to be brown-skinned) actresses in their own right, and lovely,too. As a African-American woman, I always found that disturbing, but not surprising about reading about about the prevalence of the preference for light skin. Considering black Americans’ ugly history with the conflation of color with class and respectability in this country,it’s messed up to see that played out in another country. Check out talk show host Julie Chen discussing how she was told to get plastic surgery (which she did) because she was told she wouldn’t make it with her “Asian eyes”—that was so messed up:


  • Miche

    I was just thinking about this when Nina Davuluri won the title. That as beautiful as she is, it is amazing that a predominately White country’s judges would select her as Miss America and in her ancestral homeland, they would not even give her consideration. She would have to look like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to be given that accolade.