George Takei has risen to the defense of Miss America winner Nina Davuluri after the first woman of Indian descent to win the competition came under fire in a string of racist tweets.
Davuluri endured a number of insults online aimed at her race, with some referring to her as a terrorist and others incorrectly labelled her as an Arab.
Nina Davuluri has not shrunk away from her heritage, performing a Bollywood dance for her talent in Sunday’s competition and even referring to herself as Miss Diversity.
“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” the 24-year-old Miss New York said during in a press conference after her victory. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”
Predictably, Davuluri was not fazed by the racist comments she faced online.
“I have to rise above that,” she said. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”
But Nina Davuluri had others rise to her defense. On Monday, actor and LGBT activist George Takei posted a message of support for Miss America on Facebook.
‘I don’t normally care about Miss America, but the uproar over an Indian-American winning (whom many decried for being “Arab”) has me shaking my head. Please tell me I’m not alone in wondering whether we’ve learned anything at all.”
Takei then included a link to an article by BuzzFeed that highlighted the racist abuse Miss America was facing.
Not all of the racism aimed at Nina Davuluri was direct. Many Twitter users shared a four-panel picture of Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, who made headlines for openly displaying her tattoos in the swimsuit competition. The picture shows Vail in Army fatigues and drawing back a bow and arrow, calling the blonde-haired woman the “Real Miss America.”
A lot of people seemed to agree with George Takei and his defense of Miss America Nina Davuluri. His Facebook post received more than 80,000 likes was shared close to 6,000 times.