Daily Archives: September 19, 2013

Stupid is as stupid does

I was editing my YA story when I couldn’t help but notice the Miss America stories that kept popping up in my news feed. Apparently, the 87 year-old beauty pageant (it’s older than Miss USA/ Universe) crowned its first Miss America of Indian descent. And then, hilarity ensues.

Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri

Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri

Before even the applause died down, the twitter-verse exploded with hateful and racist tweets about the ethnicity of the winner. I didn’t realize how rabidly Americans cared about the ‘racial purity’ of their beauty queens. A Facebook friend inferred that the economic downturn indirectly caused this ‘vigilance’: more people are out of work, hence, more people watched the pageant. This happened in the 2010 Miss USA pageant as well, when the crown went to the candidate of Lebanese descent.

I’m not sure how long this lasted before the imminent backlash occurred. Then some of the twits people apologized for their hateful tweets. Some stood their ground, choosing to remain clueless. The story has been covered HERE and HERE, while the winner was profiled by Vanity Fair

Bigotry is indeed universal. It’s like a virus that is somehow embedded in our DNA. Dormant most of the time but can be awakened into malignancy by triggers that are unique in each individual. It is easy to attribute bigotry to the stupid segment of the population but the bitter truth is that some bigots are also the smartest people around.

Some people choose to see stupidity as ‘actions’ instead of being a state of mind. This would probably justify why some possibly smart people do stupid things, like mistaking an Indian for an Arab, or assuming that Indians have all the franchises to 7-11, or believing that America is NOT a nation of immigrants. And I thought my country’s public education system seriously needs an upgrade.

Making fun of racists and bigots is too easy so I won’t go on that road. I will instead use Forrest Gump’s simple and clever take on the subject: “Stupid is as stupid does.”