The Next Americans: Asians
I rarely watch the Miss America Pageant, if ever. But the other night I did and what a time to do so. Throughout the entire show (and it was long) I kept telling myself this is why I do not watch this show.
But anyway, I made it all the way through (hurrah, dozing-off a few times). But whoa, the last few minutes was if I may say so, surprisingly exciting. And it was indeed a rude awakening for many “Americans”.
First surprise, three of the top five Finalists were Asian-Americans. And surprise, surprise, the top two were both fully Asians (both parents of Asian origin). So the ending was somewhat anti-climactic -- whoever wins will surely be an Asian American. Who knew right?
Now although (through a little research) the first (fully) Asian American to be crowned Miss America was Angela Perez Baraquio in 2000-01, she represented the state of Hawaii and was the daughter of a Filipino couple. So 2013-14 will mark the first time that an (Asian) Indian- American will be crowned Miss America, dressed and dancing Bollywood to boot.
All White Miss America 1953 Swimsuit Competition
Miss America Winner Sparks Racist Tweets
2014 Ms America Pageant
Top 5 Most Beautiful Americans
The Top 5 Finalist of the 2014 Ms America Pageant were, Miss New York - Nina Davuluri , Miss California - Crystal Lee, Miss Oklahoma - Kelsey Griswold, Miss Florida - Myrrhanda Jones and Miss Minnesota - Rebecca Yeh (in that order). And yes, Miss Yeh is also Asian-American.
So although Ms. Florida (torn ACL) was a favorite, along with Ms. Kansas (all-American, sergeant and tattoos and all) and many African Americans have been contenders in many past pageants, that night, Ms. New York was totally the complete package. I mean even the question was tailor-made for her!
I pity Ms. California though, that question was tough either way you respond to it (but whoa, she still manages to come in second place).
Now notwithstanding the racial and other discriminatory comments that followed Ms. Davuluri's win, I mean it was just a matter of time until Asian Americans come of age in this way. I mean admit it -- every restaurant owner, every laundry mat owner, every dry cleaner owner, every donut store owner, every spelling bee champ, every other doctor, every other dentist, every other optometrist, every other martial arts instructor is Asian American, what else is there that these beautiful, intelligent and hardworking people cannot conquer?
And please America, Indians are not Arabs. Most Indians are not Muslims. And most Indians are not terrorists. They are primarily Hindus, okay those with turbans are Sikhs. Don't show the world (through twitter and other social media) your ignorance on things that most other people all over the world knows at age 10.
Ms. Davuluri was born and raised in New York
Yup in the immortal words of Ms. Davuluri, “I've always viewed a Miss America as the girl next door, and the girl next door is evolving as the diversity in America evolves. She's not who she was 10 years ago, and she's not going to be the same come 10 years down the road. So I wouldn't want to change someone's looks or appearance, but definitely be confident in who you are."
Surprise, surprise, she and many Americans probably thought that Asian Americans turn at the Miss America pageant will be ten years down the road. No, in fact it was probably ten years too late.
Blonde and blue eyes, Hispanic or African-American beauties? Nope Bollywood, Chicken Adobo and Chinatown, here they come.
Filipina Actress Barbara Perez in a Scene from "No One is An Island", a Hollywood Movie (1962)
Ms. Barbara Perez (Audrey Hepburn of the Philippines)
Filipina actress, Ms. Barbara Perez after making this Hollywood film, went against the grain and conventional wisdom as she turned down a five year Universal Studios contract to head on back home to the Philippines to have a family and marry her long time boyfriend Filipino Actor Robert Arevalo.
Who knows what could have happened if she decided to pursue this dream who every other wide-eyed girl anywhere in the world would have grabbed in a heartbeat.
Who knows what Hollywood doors it could have opened for other Asians 50 years ago?
And who knows what image of beauty would have it turned upside-down a generation ago?