Pretty Woman Ugly Tweets

Nina DavuluriI know that not all conservatives are racist. And not all racists are conservative. But it’s fair to say that most racists are conservative. What’s more, if it weren’t for white racial resentment, Republicans would not be an important force in national politics. And I understand: we all have our demons—irrational attitudes that we do our best to fight. But too often in this country, one side of the political establishment fosters our worst impulses and makes what should be shameful, acceptable and even thrilling.

Yesterday, Nina Davuluri became Miss America 2014. Normally, Miss Whatever pageants come and go without my ever noticing. But this year was different because Ms. Davuluri is different: she is the daughter of two people originally from India. Now when I think of India, I think of this great line from Roger Hodge describing Obama’s tendency to look at things on the one hand and then the other, which he described as being “like some hyper-discursive blue-skinned Hindu deity.” Other than that, India for me is Satyajit Ray, Gandhi, and my favorite food in all the world.

To most American, however, India is just a place filled with those people who attacked us. This is despite the fact that India is more Hindu (80%) than America is Christian (75%). So after Davuluri won the pageant, the ignorance and hate came out in abundance. On Twitter, of course! POOKIE tweeted, “And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic.” De La Rutherford offered, “Congratulations Al-Qaeda. Our Miss America is one of you.” And Wendy Fraser got right to the point, “nice slap in the face to the people of 9-11 how pathetic.” Of course: Davuluri is not Arab; she is not Al-Qaeda; and neither she nor her “people” had anything to do with 9/11.

There were other tweets that were only racist—they appeared to know that not all darker skinned people are from the same country. There were a number of 7-11 “jokes.” For example, CHEEZ-IT tweeted, “Miss America? You mean Miss 7-11.” I would only note that a lot of convenience stores that seem to be owned by Indians are actually owned by Pakistanis, who are in general Muslims. If these people would just educate themselves a bit more, they could get their hate out into public much more effectively!

Theresa VailMuch of the anger seems to have come from people who wanted Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, to win. She was in the Kansas Army National Guard. She enjoys hunting, supposedly. She has tattoos. She’s blond. Basically, she’s a redneck’s wet dream. I hate to ruin the fantasy, but Vail is actually a French name, although it probably came through England, so that may take some of the sting off. Regardless, she’s a pretty girl. Personally, I think Davuluri is prettier and looks more like the kind of young lady I would want representing my nation at mall openings all across this great land of ours. But whatever; I don’t claim to be a good barometer of the country.

But what was most offensive in the tweets was the idea that someone whose parents immigrated to the United States is not a real American. Savannah Dale tweeted, “Miss New York is an Indian.. With all do respect, this is America.” (I think we should all “do respect,” but I don’t think that’s what she meant.) To me, there is nothing more real than people who choose America over the land that they were born in. So while the rest of the ignorance and intolerance bugs me, this idea really makes me angry. This is really at the base of my disappointment with America. All the ideals that I grew up believing in are thrown to the side by vast swaths of people who call themselves “real Americans.”

The truth is that there will always be people with marginal opinions. But elites set the terms of the debate. And all of this evil nonsense makes me think of Sarah Palin. She more than any other figure in America has pushed the idea that there is a “real” America. We liberals on the costs are inauthentic. I don’t think that Palin necessarily knows that such claims are racist dog whistles, but I know she doesn’t care. The people who tweeted out these vile thoughts are to be pitied. Their small worlds are all the punishment they deserve. But Palin and really most of the rest of the conservative establishment deserve to be run out of the country. They are the ones who do not understand and appreciate the ideals of this country.

H/T: Richard Barry

Update (16 September 2013 10:49 pm)

I blew it! I just found this perfect picture of Vail with a young deer she tortured to death. Don’t she look happy?! Maybe all the bigots are right: she is the perfect representative of our country.

Theresa Vail with Dead Deer
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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Pretty Woman Ugly Tweets

  1. Congratulations to Nina Davuluri. Her genetic lotto ticket really paid off!

    She and loser Theresa Vail are both stunning examples of American Exceptionalism. They both encapsulate our country’s obscene attraction to all things superficial and its tacit acceptance of implicit misogyny.

    As for the racist flak that is being hurled at Nina, I hope she can ignore the hate grenade tossers — they won’t go away, but they’ll be distracted by another target soon enough. In the meantime, she can amuse herself with the thought that if her family did own a 7-11, Theresa’s family would be buying chewing tobacco from them.

    Don’t cry for Theresa though! As a lovely distillation of America’s exceptional white trash patriotism, she’s sure to get an offer from Playboy any minute now. That validation of her true merit will undoubtedly ease the pain of losing to someone who didn’t even have the decency to be born a dyed-in-the-blonde American such as herself.

  2. Growing up in a small town in a rural area, where preteen boys hunt as a right of passage, I understand hunting a bit. Getting out in nature, killing your own food; that kind of thing. But that doesn’t mean I don’t find it absurd. My grandfather is 91, and thus from another world. He once told me that he loves polar bears, that they’re incredible and beautiful, and that he always wanted to hunt one. That attitude is all too common. Killing beautiful, endangered animals is how we show our appreciation and admiration for nature in this country.

    Although I find hunting absurd and unnecessary now, when I was 12 I actually killed a deer. It was a horrible experience. We had hunted several times over the course of the season, but didn’t see anything. I was about 250-300 yards up on a high ridge when I finally saw a deer walk by at the bottom. I raised my rifle and fired a shot, but it missed, kicking up dirt just in front of the deer. I was far enough away that the deer didn’t even flinch. I crept up another ten yards or so, and took another shot. The bullet went through the heart and lungs, so it took a few steps and dropped. When I walked up to it, it was flopping around making awful noises. I chambered another shell and shot it in the head. One of its eyes bugged out, and it continued to convulse. It was probably dead by this point, but it still really disturbed me as a kid, especially considering how small it was. My uncle said it was a first year doe. I lost sleep over that. I laid awake a long time thinking about how I took the life of something so young.

    That was the first and last time I killed a deer. I decided that, from that point forward, if I was going to shoot any animals it would be with a camera. I disappointed my grandfather a bit, who had spent a lot of time teaching me how to shoot (he was ranked as an expert shooter, which is the highest marksmanship grade, in World War II). Now in old age, he has changed his views about hunting. Now he feeds deer in his backyard and likes to watch them.

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