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Miss America winner Nina Davuluri. (reuters-lucas jackson)

Some people got upset when Nina Davuluri won the Miss America crown. What’s the problem?

I’ve never been a fan of beauty contests because (1) it’s sexist to “rate” women based on their measurements; (2) average women don’t feel comfortable parading in front of a TV audience wearing bikinis; and (3) I fail to see how a small panel of judges can determine true beauty for all of us.

But I will leave that topic for another day. My bigger concern is that many Americans reacted in disgust when Nina Davuluri, the 24-year-old Indian-American contestant from New York, won the Miss America crown on Sept. 15 in Atlantic City. She got a $50,000 scholarship, which she plans to use to go to medical school—following in the footsteps of her father, who moved to the U.S. in 1981 to become an obstetrician.

It sounds like the American Dream. But racist comments were hurled in Davuluri’s direction on Twitter and other social media sites after her win. Haters accused her of being an al-Qaida terrorist, a Muslim and an Arab. Some said she is “not American enough.” One person tweeted, “Even Miss America has been outsourced to India.”

How pathetic. While Davuluri’s proud grandmother was watching the pageant from her home in Vijaywada, India, this ambitious young woman was being skewered by racists—in a country that should know better. Our nation was formed by immigrants (mine came from Ireland), but we are still schizophrenic about whether to put the welcome mat in front of the door.

If the Statue of Liberty could move, she’d be bowing her head in shame.

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