Is Miss America “American Enough”?

Erica Suh, Staff Writer

   As the 87th annual Miss America Beauty Pageant comes to an end, two stunning Asian-Americans clutch each others’ hands, wishing for their name to be pronounced as Miss America 2014. However, once host Chris Harrison announced Miss New York Nina Davuluri with the title of Miss America, mixed emotions ran high. Within days of her win, Davuluri has already created history as her Indian descent builds controversy throughout America.

   Beginning with the talent competition, Davuluri’s Bollywood fusion dance was the kind of performance that the 94-year-old pageant had rarely seen as it brought the New York-born contestant a standing ovation. When asked about her plastic surgery, according to, she responded respectfully by answering, “I don’t agree with plastic surgery; however, I can understand that from a standpoint. More importantly I’ve always viewed Miss America as the girl next door. And Miss America is always evolving… I wouldn’t want to change someone’s looks. Be confident in who you are.” However, even though the Miss America crown was placed on Davuluri’s head, her ethnic heritage became the center of attention.

   Unfortunately, many people did not share her personal appreciation of this historic development in America. These miserably frequent occurrences of arguing whether a person of color is not American enough to represent the country are gradually reaching the point of exasperation. Luckily, Beatrice Barbat (11) supposes that since “America is known as the land of immigrants… it shouldn’t matter what the race of the winner is.” In agreement with Barbat, Daniel Tyler (12) said, “I think it’s great that a fraction of Americans [that are] capable of decision-making can overcome a history of racism that spans some 200+ years, and choose ‘Miss America’ based on whether or not she represents the American ideals that any normal person should have. I’m glad that as a nation, we can move on from the typical “white” labels.” Fortunately, this positive improvement of the world has given people yet another opportunity to make the world a better place.

  Even though Sunday’s pageant created controversy about Davuluri’s heritage, it is good to see just how diverse America has become.