90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Miss America And Diversity Now

We talk with the new Miss America — Nina Davuluri — on diversity now in this country, and how it’s working.

Miss New York Nina Davuluri performs during the Miss America 2014 pageant, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP)

Miss New York Nina Davuluri performs during the Miss America 2014 pageant, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP)

We could talk plenty just about the Miss America pageant itself, and what it does, or did, to and around women. Objectification, all that.

And then there’s the race angle. It was all white for so long, but not lately. Eight African-American Miss Americas from Vanessa Williams on.  A beautiful Hawaii-born Filipino.

And then came Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri.  An Indian-American beauty dancing Bollywood fusion in Atlantic City.  Twitter lit up.  Some of it ugly.  So where are we, really, with American diversity?

This hour, On Point:  Miss America is with us.  The issue is diversity.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014, the first Indian-American Miss America. (@NinaDavuluri)

Anand Giridharadas, columnist for the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. (@anandwrites)

Tyson Brown, professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University. (@tysonbrown)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Daily Beast: Changing Western Beauty Ideals: Nina Davuluri and Julie Chen — ‘I’ve always viewed Miss America as the girl next door, and the girl next door is evolving as diversity in America evolves,’ Nina Davuluri said last weekend before becoming the first beauty queen of Indian descent to be crowned Miss America. Also on stage was runner-up Crystal Lee, a Chinese-American and Miss California 2013. ‘We’re making history right here, standing here as Asian-Americans,’ Davuluri said of the duo.”

The Nation: Miss America Nina Davuluri Is Not a Symbol of Progress — “We can’t let this nasty display of racism back us into a corner. As tempting as it might be, to suggest that Davuluri’s win signifies progress for South Asians in America is to defend the Miss America pageant itself. And there isn’t really much about Miss America that could be considered progress for anyone (except maybe the steady decline in ratings over the last forty years, that might be a sign of progress). Miss America’s role in the public imagination has always been the product of objectification. It’s a beauty pageant after all, and the winner embodies the ideal American woman—prized as an object of beauty.”

Associated Press: Miss America Nina Davuluri brushes off racist criticism after victory — “The Miss America pageant has crowned its first winner from an Indian background – an aspiring doctor who plans to use the $50,000 (£31,000) prize money to fund her studies – sparking a flood of racist criticism on social media. ‘I’m so happy this organisation has embraced diversity,’ 24-year-old Nina Davuluri said in her first press conference, moments after winning the crown in Atlantic City. ‘I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.'”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 3, 2015
A group of community activists in San Francisco, CA celebrate that city's February 2014 embrace of the Fair Chance Campaign's efforts to alter background checks on employment and housing for convicted criminals. (Courtesy All of Us Or None)

Is it time to stop asking job applicants if they’ve been convicted of a crime? We’ll look at employment and unemployment after prison.

Mar 3, 2015
This July 21, 2014 photo shows strawberry banana chia breakfast smoothie in Concord, N.H. Breakfast habits in America are changing, leading to dramatic shifts in business strategy. (AP)

Food guidelines are changing. So is what we eat for breakfast. Cereal? Out of favor. Eggs? Maybe OK. And all kinds of new menus. We’ll look at Americans and breakfast.

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 2, 2015
This image provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows an artists rendering on how a gamma ray burst occurs with a massive star collapsing and creating a black hole and beaming out focused and deadly light and radiation bursts. Astronomers and space telescopes in April 2013 saw the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed, a large gamma ray burst. (AP)

A super-massive black hole, newly discovered, deep in space. We’ll peer into the realm of the black hole.

 
Mar 2, 2015
In this Tuesday, March 4, 2014 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, right, speaks before the screening of the television documentary "Israel: The Royal Tour" at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. (AP)

On the eve of Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress, we look at the US-Israel falling out over Iran nuclear negotiations.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Answers To Your Questions On Black Holes
Tuesday, Mar 3, 2015

Yale University’s Priyamvada Natarajan answers your black hole questions in full. (Well, most of them.)

More »
Comment
 
Want To Listen To Lead Belly? Here’s Where To Start
Monday, Mar 2, 2015

Loved our show on Lead Belly, but unsure on where you should start to listen? Jeff Place of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage offers his best picks for a beginning Lead Belly listener.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

More »
Comment