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Opinion: Miss America, Another Win for Diversity

As a native Marylander, admittedly I was rooting for Miss Maryland on Sunday night.

However, as a woman of color, I was beyond excited Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America 2014.

During the final minutes of the broadcast, it was clear history was about to be made no matter the outcome: the runner-up, Miss California Crystal Lee, is Chinese and Davuluri is Indian. Either way, the nation was about to have its first Asian American winner.

Both women rocked the talent portion, but I was impressed by Nina staying true to her heritage with a fun and colorful Bollywood fusion dance.

And when it came time for the question and answer portion, Nina dominated again.

When asked about Julie Chen, the news anchor who recently admitted to having plastic surgery on her eyes to appear less Asian, Nina responded with poise and grace after stating she doesn’t approve of such surgery. ‘I’ve always viewed Miss America as the girl next door and the girl next door is evolving,” she said.

She also stressed the importance of beauty and self-confidence. As a colored girl, I could relate.

Growing up, I subscribed to magazines such as Teen People, YM and Cosmo Girl and believed I wasn’t beautiful because I didn’t look like the celebrities and models on the covers, i.e., blonde, blue eyes and big boobs. My insecurities even grew into self-hate and it wasn’t until college that I finally realized “my Black is beautiful” and truly accepted my “full lips and wide hips.”

It absolutely disgusts me, however, that people would respond to her crowning with such racist and hateful comments, as evident by this Buzzfeed article. All I have to say is, if you’re upset that Miss America is Indian, you should be ashamed of yourself.

So, with Michelle Obama as the First Lady, Princess Tiana as a Disney Princess and an Indian woman as Miss America, I’d say colored girls are having a moment…and I’m loving it!!