Thrilled to have an Asian woman in the spotlight – talented, well-educated (in Michigan to boot!) just the type of woman I appreciate my daughters seeing succeed. History was made by the first Indian-American being crowned Miss America, but the spotlight quickly shifted. It became clear racism is alive and kicking in the United States as a flood of hateful tweets focused on the heritage of the winner.
“Miss America? You mean Miss 7-11.”
“I swear I’m not racist but this is America.”
Or my personal favorites were the tweets calling her Arab and making statements like:
“And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic.”
You can read a whole list of tweets here. Be aware the language is stiff.
Backing up a few years…I was picking Little Monkey up from pre-school at the beginning of the year. The moms hanging out in the hallway were still getting to know each other. One mom asked me – “Which child is yours?” Now, I had already been down this path before and learned to cut to the chase. If I say, “the girl in pink,” the poor soul who asked continues to search the room not thinking to connect me to a daughter who looks so different from myself. So I say – “the Chinese one.” (Yes, that year she was the only Asian in her class. That is a topic for a different post!)
On that day, it was my turn to be surprised. The mom who asked gave me an earful when I told her my child was the Chinese-American. “Well, I teach my children not to label based on ethnicity!! We play with, love and accept everyone….well except the Arabs who live down the street from us. I won’t let them play with Arabs! Anyway, just maybe you should think before labeling your child.”
Wow. I seriously was speechless. I mean what can you say after that?
Just putting it out there….my child is Chinese-American. I love that. It is part of what makes her her and it shapes our family in beautiful ways. Pretending that our family looks like every other family or coming up with unique non-labels is ignorant to the reality that ethnicity matters and should be talked about.
It was disheartening to read the comments after Miss America was crowned, but I am hopeful. Maybe, just maybe folks will see that racism is still an issue and more conversations need to be had about ethnicity.