Reporting Dorothy Tucker
(CBS) — Jubilation over the first Indian-American crowned Miss America has quickly turned to disappointment for some.
The dark-skinned beauty Nina Davuluri is under attack for her ethnicity.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker takes a look at the controversy.
She’s the 87th Miss America – and the first of Indian descent.
Renuka Sharma of the Indo-American Center is among those in Chicago’s Indian community applauding Davuluri’s historic victory.
“Indians are coming up, not just in engineering and being doctors and businessmen, but in beauty,” Sharma says.
At the Indian-American Center in the West Ridge community, Indian immigrants call Davuluri a role model for the young.
But not everyone embraced America’s newest beauty queen. Minutes after Davuluri was crowned, racist rants appeared on Twitter. One read: “If you’re Miss America you should have to be American.”
Davuluri was born in Syracuse, N.Y., attended the University of Michigan and hopes to be a doctor.
“People need to open their eyes and see more it’s not just white America, there are different colors that we have to accept,” Sharma says.
Another rant was just as off-base: “Well they just picked a Muslim for Miss America.”
Ahmed Rehab is. He’s the executive director of the CAIR, a civil-rights organization that advocates for Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. He proudly boasts that Remi Fakih was America’s first Muslim-American Miss USA in 2010. She too met with criticism.
“They’re bringing back this old racist mentality that you’re either like us or we’re going to hate you and criticize you, and that’s just absolutely unacceptable,” he says.
In response to the hateful comments, the new Miss America said: “I have to rise above that. I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”
Davuluri went on to thank the pageant for embracing diversity.