Nina Pretty Ballernina: But that’s not enough?

Being crowned as Miss America is being the representation of a culture and its people in a big way. And just like when Barack Obama became the President of the United States he reclaimed for the black people what should have always been their identity – in a socially just world that is…an identity of power and privilege.  similarly Nina  as Miss America is now representing not just the Indian American ideal but the mainstream American ideal, an Indian is mainstream in pop culture world of USA.  Social media  space generated racist comments on Twitter and Facebook are more symptomatic than the problem… the problem might well be the melting pot does not melt equally…

Someone who has not read enough about cultural identities and the immigrant literature and cultural identity or the in group out group expositions in the US context would be surprised at the “I am a white soul in a brown body.” references in kid’s identity that start from being in school…as a brown kid, even in large complex and diverse cities like NY and SFO… Even in this symbolic win in mainstream public space, Nina is worthy of her crown for highlighting concerns of diversity and the meaning of being their representation to the new generations of America. As quoted in the Guardian, “ I’m so happy this organisation has embraced diversity,I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.” , She was also compelled to claim her Americanism just in case someone accuses her of harboring India in her heart. I wonder how Nina’s mother feels right now, basking in her child’s accomplishments and the mainstreaming of the critique which is ultimately about her origins – her mother and father. As immigrant parents hope that children would automatically imbibe their Indianness, sense of belonging, respect for their roots of a distinct, historical richness…As per the social psychology literature and group identities people don’t really want to identify with  perceived weaker place in any social context. so while we’d like our children to be grounded in their Indian values and embrace the Indian origins; the truth is we are not sure if they do or will. But we are sure that between their schools and home they will pick up that they are brown…..and will prep himself/ herself to offer explanations of who he is, where he’s coming from, and be forced into choosing a reference class of being white. Wonder if in India, if you do not come from different positions of privilege and power is one then forced into constructing an identity in reference and not stand alone? Muslim as opposed to Hindu, urban versus rural? Upper versus lower caste? Ultimately, the two most multicultural societies of the world, and two of the thriving democracies India and the USA have a lot to do to make sure that their social policies don’t just claim social justice and embracing of diversity that are able to make that a real and widespread part of public spaces and private cognition. India can teach USA about the real meaning of assimilation and unique cultural identities and USA can teach India about the accountability of the state in ensuring their survival.


About Chun Mun

Chun Mun are bloggers for E-Women! All the women from the Indian Subcontinent, who have anything to say are a part of the Ewomen Indian world and have this space to share their thoughts. We might not endorse or support any of their thoughts but we endorse and support their right to speak and share their opinions. Ewomen is a document on women's journey as women Reclaim their own identity and Create and Contribute to the lives of others.
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One Response to Nina Pretty Ballernina: But that’s not enough?

  1. Riya Dutt says:

    Woman has to face a lot of challenges to survive in the Indian society. If woman is self employed and empowered enough that she is independent of others for her expenses. There are lots of opportunities available like new project Sahara Q Saathi by Sahara Q Shop towards women empowerment and entrepreneurship. Women can be a part of such kind of projects to be independent.

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