Nina Davuluri, 24, Miss New York became the first Indian-American crowned Miss America.
Ra' Tonya Friedman
Heather French Henry was crowned Miss America in 2000.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - "Not American enough," that's just one of hundreds of negative comments made on social media after the Miss America Pageant crowned it's first Indian-American winner Sunday night.
Those tweets had her Kentucky supporters reacting saying the pageant itself has evolved over the last couple of decades. They are disappointed that some of the pageant's audience hasn't.
Ra' Tonya Friedman said, "Are you kidding me that we are in this day and age and this is still going on?"
Friedman, a 2008 Mrs. Kentucky America was among those having a strong reaction to the racist Miss America Tweets heard around the world. Immediately after Nina Davuluri, 24, Miss New York became the first Indian-American crowned Miss America, her critics hit social media. Among other things, some of the Tweets complained she's "an Arab," "a possible terrorist," making references to 7-11 stores that she was "Miss 7-11" and complaining about her Bollywood dance that 'she's not American enough.' Friedman said, "It's very unfortunate that we do still have to experience this type of ignorance in our society today."
The Louisville mom has been around pageants much of her life and said she never experienced anything but acceptance as a contestant. However she said, "I guess just because I am a minority as well, you get all kind of reactions." As an African American woman married to a Jewish man, Friedman said her life is all about Davuluri's platform which happens to be celebrating diversity.
"I think she's going to be a wonderful Miss America," Friedman said, "She was my pick from the first time she hit the stage."
"The downside with social media," said Kentucky's own Miss America 2000, Heather French Henry. "It's not always the best and brightest of society that are making those comments."
French Henry said she got a chance to meet Davuluri this past week as she took part in the pageant event.
"So was I surprised? Yes and no, " French Henry said of the negative comments, "There's always something said about our Miss America."
French Henry said the new Miss America is proving she is strong enough to overcome adversity by taking the high road in her response to the tweets. From Asian contestants to one with Autism, French Henry said Davuluri is another great example of how the pageant has progressed in the last 20 years," Her answer on stage last night (Sunday) that the face of the girl next door continues to change in a positive way."
Monday morning, the new Miss America tweeted to her fans, "Overjoyed by the amazing response and support from so many people across the U.S., I'm so proud to be your new girl next door."
Monday, September 1 2014 11:00 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:00:16 GMT
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