September 16, 2013 by Devin
Update: Todd Starnes has clarified that his tweets were about supporting Miss Kansas and not about being against Miss New York. This explains his first couple tweets but doesn’t fully exonerate him from the tweets that followed, and I believe my initial thoughts still stand.
So Miss America happened last night, and normally I would not have anything to say about that. After all, it is Miss America. I have no interest in pageants at all. So why am I writing about it? Because this was the winner.
That is Nina Davuluri aka Miss New York. Now, in case you cannot tell, she is Indian (not Arab, not Muslim, not Al-Qaeda). Because of this, she has been the center of a lot of controversy, especially on Twitter.
There was one particular reaction that made me gag, though, and that was from Todd Starnes, Fox News personality:
Miss Politically Correct America #missamerica
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) September 16, 2013
Now I want to approach this from several angles. First, why does Todd Starnes care about Miss America? He’s a Fox News Journalist. I met him once, and he did not seem like a guy who has a vested interest in Miss America (though if someone knows if he is a Miss America enthusiast or not, let me know).
I think that he only watched this because there was a political element to it. Miss Kansas seems to have been a bit of a conservative wondergirl. And I get that, but it seems weird that he got worked up over it. After all, I like science, and I like Bill Nye, but if Bill Nye gets voted off of Dancing with the Stars, I am not going to blame the conservative media for not wanting a true intellect on their show.
Second off, it is always discouraging to see someone’s hard work and dedication be brushed off because of the color of their skin. Nina Davuluri had to go through the pageant, keep her body image up, and learn to say all the right things. Furthermore, she is studying to be a doctor, something that is incredibly difficult to do (I have a roommate who wants to be a doctor, and I have seen the stress that that goal can cause first hand).
But all of that does not matter because she is not-white. Clearly, it is affirmative action in the worst way. I think this happens whenever a non-white person makes a significant contribution or beat out whites in some way. When Barack Obama became president, I heard people make the claim that people only voted for him because he was black (because that strategy has worked out so well before). In fact, the only way for non-whites to avoid this criticism is to simply not succeed.
Because no one was going to look at Mitt Romney and think, “He only got to be President because he’s white.”
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I find Todd Starnes’s of “American values” to be fascinating. Apparently, carrying a gun and hunting deer are “American values”. Surely if only she had a gun, Todd Starnes would not have had a problem with Davuluri.
But what, historically, have been America’s values?
The Founding Fathers founded America as a secular institution that would not reject anyone based on their religious beliefs, whether they be Protestant, Catholic, Deist, or whatever beliefs they held.
Susan B. Anthony and the feminist movement pushed for equal rights for women as well, saying that women should not be held back by the government and perceived gender roles.
Martin Luther King Jr. pushed to have equality enforced for people regardless of their skin color, even when the local communities did not want to.
In short, I think American values are about embracing diversity more than conformity to the typical standard. America is about being a home to discussion and differing viewpoints. In fact, one of the most notable things about America (and something that makes me proud to be an American) was that America was the first to have a change in power that did not come from military action.*
That is what American values are about to me. And I think Todd Starnes should think about the values he is representing.
So do you have a vested interest in Miss America/Todd Starnes/America? What did you think about the decision and the backlash from it? Let me know in the comments below!
*I am referring to the election of Jefferson, who was a different political party than his predecessor. This was told to me by my high school history teacher and I can’t find a corroborating source on it, so keep that in mind.