America, America

MsAmerica

I really love living where I do. The street where I live, and a few blocks on either side of mine, is listed on the National Register of Historic places. It has a high concentration of brick bungalows, which are relics from a bygone era. There’s no split-level ranches or McMansions where I live, and I hope it stays that way, too.

But on top of being in such a cool setting–I sometimes think that I live on a movie set–there’s the added benefit of living downwind from the dozen or so Indian restaurants that sit just a block away from my house. I love Indian food, even if I rarely go into the restaurants. Most days, all I need to do is take a deep breath, and the smells of all that tasty food is enough for me.

Everyone who works in those restaurants, or runs the other Indian shops in my neighborhood, is an American. It doesn’t matter if they’ve lived here their whole lives, or if they’re still recovering from a voyage over here from somewhere else. They might not all be citizens, but they’re here now, and as a result they must be treated with dignity and respect.

But that sentiment isn’t shared by all of my countrymen. The recent selection of Nina Davuluri as Miss America set off some of the most ignorant comments that I’ve ever seen on Twitter, and that’s really saying a lot.

Perhaps the foulest comment of all came from someone who used the name @LukeBrasili. He took his Twitter account down–as well he should have–but a website named Favstar shows his   tweets in all their moronic glory. Click if you dare, but remember that he’s probably not the only jackass on the internet. He’s just the most prominent one, at least for now.

Here’s what @LukeBrasili and others of his mindset don’t understand: America is the most diverse place on earth. His ancestors, and Miss America’s ancestors, and all of our ancestors came here and they stayed. And because they did that, they and their progeny can all lay claim to being Americans. I would suggest that if @LukeBrasili doesn’t like that, he should either come up to Chicago and sample the Indian food, or find some other place to live.

Miss America represents New York, a state with some of the most diverse populations in all of America, if not the world itself. And, in case he had forgotten, it’s the state that suffered the most losses on 9/11 itself. It’s only fitting that such a diverse state be represented by someone like Ms. Davuluri. Wherever @LukeBrasili lives, I’m sure that diversity gets stretched to the breaking point whenever Oktoberfest rolls around. But America is more than that, and I’m happy to make that case to anyone who wants to hear it.

Ms America (sorry, but that’s who she is) was born in this county, and has more years of American living under her belt than good old @LukeBrasili does. And yet he is somehow offended by her selection.

Or course, @LukeBrasili is not a racist (maybe he even has a black friend or two), but it’s hard to see anything else as the cause for his statements. He–from the look of his photo on Twitter–has white skin and a European background, and that equals “American” to him.

Miss America must reflect him, therefore, and the selection of anyone with a darker skin tone is not worthy. This type of narrow-mindedness needs to be challenged, it needs to be rebuffed, and it needs to be called out whenever it occurs.

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