Your daily reminder that people really, really suck: Last night, the Miss America pageant crowned the first contestant of Indian descent as winner, which is a huge step forward for the pageant considering its historically messy past when it comes to race. In fact, the pageant has a long history of excluding women of color from the running: During the 1930's, there was a rule in the official handbook which stated that women competing in the pageant had to be "of good health and of the white race," and up until the '40s, contestants were forced to undergo a biological questionnaire to trace their ancestry. Most shockingly, African-American women weren't actually permitted to compete until the '70s—and it wasnt until '84 that Vanessa Williams became the first African-American woman to actually win the crown. So, yeah, Miss America hasn't always been great when it comes to race...just like the country it's celebrating.
Unsurprisingly, though, there were some idiots out there content to ruin this huge moment, mostly on Twitter: After Davuruli was crowned, the social media site exploded with racist tweets branding the 24-year-old Syracuse native as an "arab," a "terrorist," and "Miss Al-Qaeda." Buzzfeed gathered some of the most offensive tweets:
#MissAmerica ummm wtf?! Have we forgotten 9/11?— anthony ridgeway (@anthonytkr) September 16, 2013
So miss america is a terrorist— Nick Pizzo (@pizzo_nick) September 16, 2013
Miss America? You mean Miss 7-11.— CHEEZ-IT (@JPLman95) September 16, 2013
Do you hate people yet? I hate people.
During a press conference after the ceremony, Davuruli told reporters that she was "so happy this organisation has embraced diversity," and "I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America." In response to the criticisms, she was as calm and collected as ever: "I have to rise above that...I always viewed myself as first and foremost American."