Chris Johnson: If Miss America must be all-American, ...

September 29, 2013 

I wasn't planning to wade into all the controversy surrounding the selection of Nina Davuluri as our first Miss America of Indian descent.

Actually, I was never planning to ever comment on the Miss America pageant ever again -- not after I wrote a satire years ago about how the pageant's being broadcast on CMT (Country Music Television) might alter a few things and became public enemy No. 1 among pageant people.

But I got to thinking about this year's Miss America when we took my son to an "Indian Celebration" last weekend. Of course, it was a completely different kind of Indian -- Native Americans, actually -- celebrated there among some of Georgia's most notable mounds. A bumper sticker in the parking lot was what put her back on my mind.

The bumper sticker read: "Annoyed by immigrants? Tell it to the Indians!" I'd seen it a few times before, and it makes the simple point that we're all immigrants here in the United States except Native Americans.

(Of course, folks never seem to be annoyed by immigrants who look like them. When was the last time you heard a white guy say, "You know what's wrong with this country, don't ya? It's all them dang Swedes sneaking in with their Volvos and meatballs!")

So, back to Miss America, which I swear I had no idea was even going on until all sorts of news story comments, Facebook posts and Tweets began to hammer the choice of Davuluri as Miss America for various reasons.

Some I was able to overlook -- namely the ones about her being "Arab", "Muslim" or a "terrorist" -- not because I am OK with the rude and incorrect comments but because there is a growing segment of Americans who are incurably stupid. There is no point in trying to reason with them.

The comments that bothered

me were the ones that were simply prejudiced and mean. They weren't so stupid as to confuse Indian heritage with al-Qaeda but merely thought that anyone who didn't match their view of American or beautiful should be disqualified from the competition.

If that were the case, I couldn't support any Miss America contestant because I'm more into the kind of girls-next-door who can rock a T-shirt and cutoff jeans while not wearing any makeup. However, I'm pretty sure that there are white, black, Hispanic, Indian, Asian, Arab and Swedish girls who could rock that look. Although, I do give extra points for a Southern accent.

But while I'm an open-minded American, there are plenty more closed-minded Americans. They only associate with like-minded friends, get their news from slanted outlets and open their eyes and ears only to people they know already think and believe as they do. And those are the kinds of folks who want a Miss America who looks "All-American."

I say those close-minded folks ought to have what they want once in a while -- if only to shut 'em up. So, next year I think we should indeed have a Miss America who looks "All-American."

Which means she'll look a lot like Pocahontas.

Connect with Chris Johnson at

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