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Nina Davuluri Is America's Future

September 17, 2013 in Blogs

By Andrew Lam, New America Media

Davuluri, has shrugged off the haters. “I have to rise above that,” she said. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”


 

Nina Davuluri is the first Indian-American to hold the title of Miss America and it should be something for all Americans to celebrate. Her story, after all, is one of the more optimistic news about immigration in recent times. Alas, it's a victory marred by waves of racist backlash in social media. Davuluri is called a “terrorist,” and derogatory references to convenient stores – “Miss 7-11″ — and Muslims are mentioned. But the biggest complain? Miss America should be more “American.”

Perhaps what the haters resent is that immigration and diversity have irrevocably changed who is an American these days. The U.S. demographic is shifting toward a reality where non-white groups are emerging as majorities, undermining what we traditionally held as majority vs. minority, mainstream vs. ethnic. By 2050, demographers tell us, whites will be under 50 percent while minorities will reach 54 percent, an astonishing shift.

But diversity is nothing new. What is new is at the dawn of the 21st century, many of us have finally overcame our xenophobia, our fear and distrust of “the other” to embrace and celebrate our complexity in an epic and historic way.

After all, we elected Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, and his is a global biography — Muslim father from Kenya, white mother, raised in Hawaii and Indonesia with a half-sister who is part Indonesian and married to a Chinese, half-siblings and a grandmother in Kenya and relatives in Kansas. Obama, arguably the most well known figure of the 21st century, has opened the door wide to that growing public space in which other Americans can celebrate their own diversity and claim their own centrality. Obama gives all of us license to embrace our various inheritances and still call ourselves Americans.

In San Francisco, where I live, the year 2050 has already arrived. Ed Lee, San Francisco's mayor, is Chinese American. The population is so diverse here that no one group constitutes more than 50 percent, and more …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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