Watch Out – Miss World Is Plotting To Kill Us All

I’m quite new to Twitter and I like to follow the ‘Trends’ button as it often has funny, quirky themes like #WomansNameFilms and #10FactsAboutMe that encourage people to be creative and meet each other.

This morning I saw that one of the trends was ‘Miss America.’ Being British and not having much experience of pageants I clicked on it out of interest and was genuinely horrified to see the racist response to the fact that the new Miss America is Indian – American. Even more shockingly, tweets were flying around that labelled her as a ‘terrorist’ and blaming the events of 9/11 on her family and ancestral country of origin.

Like the rest of the world, I remember exactly where I was on 9/11. I watched with horror as the Twin Towers collapsed, I remember my father ringing the house to tell us all to stay inside (which seems ridiculous now as we lived 5000 miles away, but we were scared the UK was going to be next) and I remember feeling the shock and disbelief over the coming days as it became evident that I’d witnessed the death of hundreds of people live on national television. I moved to Birmingham, the second largest city in the UK a week later and there were several occasions in my first few weeks where the city was on minor lockdowns when bomb threats were issued. I even remember the postal service being stopped for a while because of an anthrax threat.

On 7th July 2005 I was at a group job interview. My potential employers came into the room and asked us if we had relatives living in London because there were reports of bombs being detonated. I panicked – my little sister had been living there for a while and I rang her immediately to make sure that she was ok. Luckily, she was fine, but I felt a little nauseated when she revealed that she should have been on the tube train that had been bombed at Kings Cross but had missed it and was due to get on the next one instead. I felt the same sense of horror when I saw the images of the double decker bus on Tavistock Square and heard that 52 innocent people had lost their lives. While it was nowhere near on the same scale as what had happened in America, it had a connection in that the bombings were commited by the same organisation as those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and I felt angry that we had been targeted. Worse still, three of the four bombers were UK citizens and had been born here.

Yes, I was fortunate that my sister wasn’t on that train, and I have been very fortunate in life that I haven’t lost anyone in such horrific circumstances. The images that I saw from those events will be burned into my brain for the rest of my life and I will never forget.

However, I was a little confused by the accusations that the new Miss America, Nina Davuluri, is a terrorist. First of all, she’s American. She was born in America and has lived there all her life. I have Irish ancestry, but I was born in England and therefore I am English. My friend AM’s family are from St. Kitts, MRH’s mother is Greek and her father was english, CB’s family are from Scotland, but they are all proud to be British whilst embracing their cultural heritage. The terrorists that carried out the 9/11 and 7/7 atrocities had links and family from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Jamaica. She’s American. Her family is from India, which had no connection with any of the attacks. Even if she was from those countries, how does that make her a terrorist? Why is it right to hate an entire country based on the actions of a few, however awful? She wants to be a doctor, she wants to use her beauty to help others and she wants to make a difference to the world. Ah, but she has dark skin. Clearly a terrorist, as are all people with darker skin, particularly those who carry backpacks. How ridiculous. And while I’m on the subject, has anyone forgotten Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people in the Oklahoma Bombings in 1995? He was white and from New York – shall we assume that all white people from the same area have similar intentions?

In 1996 my mother and sisters were in Manchester – my sisters were participating in the Youth Games. Fortunately, they weren’t in the city centre when the IRA set off an enormous bomb, destroying Corporation Street and causing £1.1 billion worth of damage. Thankfully, nobody was killed, but 212 people were injured. Does this mean that I should hate the Irish? Should I immediately assume that anyone with an Irish accent or Irish ancestry is participating in a secret plot to kill us all? And if we’re looking at it in the same light as Miss America, shall I just start hating the Scottish? Aren’t they the same as the Irish?

Come to think of it, why don’t we take it a step further? My oldest friend’s grandfather escaped Nazi Germany a few years before the start of WWII – so does this mean that she should make racist comments every time she meets a person of german descent? Shouldn’t all Jewish people hate Germans? The Bloke’s father was a soldier in Korea – should I hate all Koreans? Why don’t I just go the whole way and hate all Japanese and Chinese people too – they’re obviously the same. As a woman should I hate all men for how the female race was treated in the UK until a hundred years ago?

If I reverse the situation, should I spend the rest of my life apologising to any person of colour or person from the Commonwealth that I meet for the atrocities that were commited during times of slavery or from the British Empire? Should I spend every waking moment feeling guilty and apologising for a part that somebody with the same skin colour as me played in the torture and murder of millions of people in the Crusades a thousand years before I was born?

No, I shouldn’t. What a ridiculous notion. As a teacher myself I feel that I should educate my students about the dark events in history so that they have a knowledge and appreciation of their past and present, but what we should be doing is teaching ourselves and our future generations the importance of tolerance, equality and acceptance.  Ultimately, we’re all different, but we’re all human, and this is what should be remembered above all else.

So, congratulations Miss Davuluri – I hope that you are able to rise above the awful comments from the ignorant and have a wonderful year.

‘Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.’ Abraham Joshua Heschel


27 thoughts on “Watch Out – Miss World Is Plotting To Kill Us All

  1. Really nice read, especially when I did an entirely different funny take on this very same topic today. Though mine was to tickle the funny bone, your’s give valuable insight into what is seriously wrong. Thanks for being realistic and thanks for the heart. Also your welcome to glance at mine, if at all you dont mind me poking fun of dem’ americans! 😛

  2. I also saw that and was horrified at the stupidity of people I may stand next to in a queue, like the mob that attacked the home of a Paediatrician because their job title sounded like Paedophile.
    I was stationed in London at the height of the IRA bombings, I was on duty when the bomb went off at the London barracks, we went to instant shut down, no one got in or out without express permission of officer commanding, I was on detachment to Uxbridge when 2 extremely brave men found a bomb next to a barracks filled with sleeping men, this bomb was in the middle of a collection of petrol cans, these two guys dragged them away and saved at least 30 lives. Then it wasn’t olive skins we had to watch out for it was white skins with Irish accents. In 1981 I was at Edgeware bus station waiting for a bus back to Stanmore where I was based and a bus came in empty and the drive jumped off the bus and shouted there is a bomb on the bus. He had just come through Kilburn, an area in London known for Irish community and known for supporting the IRA, so much so that we were banned from going anywhere near the pubs around there. So I showed my ID the driver showed me through the window were this bomb was, on the back seat was an envelope and in type was the words ‘A gift for you’. The police were called, and this is how use we were to the bomb threats, two officers went on the bus and off they came with envelope in hand and opened it………..A very stupid thing to do, but they did it anyway and i turned out it was one of this heap of newspaper junk so panic over. But it could have gone the other way.
    Then we were careful of anyone with an Irish accent, anyone asking questions or coming in ‘our’ pub where we went, just down from the camp, we knew the risks but we never thought about it, we even had mock events to keep our training up to speed, I remember being on a 3 day exercise at Bentley Priory and it was 11pm and I am few others were on the gate, we had weapons, as well as pick axe handles, we had set up bollards to stop vehicles coming at us at high speed, when this car drew up this lad go out and ran, we chased him down and he gave us a story about being threatened and had to drop this car off here. It was so well done it felt real, but the adrenaline took over and we did our duty. When the Falkland war broke out, I remember Princess Ann refused to go to a football match because Osvaldo Ardiles was playing and because her brother Prince Andrew was flying his helicopter, now if this isn’t out and out racism

    September 11th, I was just came in from the shops, when the phone rang and it was Joyce the secretary from a clients, asking me to come and look at a computer, but she started off by saying and I will never forget it “The Americans are being bombed, terrorist are dropping bombs” I turned on the TV to be faced with the horror of an aircraft dispersing in a ball of flames as it hit the second tower. Was I watching a film, as it was so unreal, then the newscaster came on from Fox News and it stopped being a film, it became real life horror, I knew I was watching something that will change the world in such a dramatic way that our lives will never be the same, 15 minutes later I was still standing I had been transfixed to these events, then they fell and at that point I knew WW III will follow to fight an unknown enemy that will affect every house hold in this and every country around this globe.

    I knew the old enemy, I knew where they lived, I knew their accent, I knew there was peace process in Ireland and things have now moved over to make the Irish conflict like a fight in the playground compared to what the world is going to have to face.
    The news blamed the Muslims, I knew this was not true, I served with Muslims from Nigeria and Kenya, they talked peace, I knew Muslims from the corner shop they were lovely people, I knew people online who were Muslims and spoke peace and how Islam is for peace.

    Five days after 9/11 I was on a bus in Dundee when a olive skinned young man came on the bus and on his back was a backpack, I instantly became afraid and for a 10 minute bus ride I became a racist, I didn’t want this guy on my bus, I didn’t want him in my country, is he a killer, has he got a bomb in his backpack. I knew through all my training I knew he wasn’t going to cause me any harm, I knew he was at the Uni along with hundreds of other olive and dark skinned men and women. I hated myself for thinking these things, I watched one of the most dramatic and terrifying destruction of human life since WWII and here I am hating this guy for being different from me, only by the colour of his skin, as I didn’t know him, his religion or politics. He stood up to get off the bus and he look at me and smiled with a nod of his head, did he read my mind? I smiled back with guilt, but I felt sorry for him as I know because of something that happened 5000 miles away his life may also change for the worse. I have sorted my head out knowing that I am not a racist and I am tolerant of all nations. My son as sent to Afghanistan 3 weeks after his 18 birthday and he witnessed things that he still won’t talk about 10 years later. I know that things have to get worse before they get better but teach tolerance and that’s half the battle.

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more, and it’s truly worrying to know how many ignorant individuals there are that wouldn’t agree with you… I’m on your side 100% and I hope more will follow!

  4. I agree 100% and I am reblogging, because I haven’t enough class to put things as kindly as you have… Sadly, they are my own people. I know them well and how incredibly racist they can be while thinking they are the super heroes of the world…. patting themselves on the back and thinking they have overcome racism and all is find and dandy. Obviously, it is not. Thanks for writing this!

  5. Reblogged this on Chronicles of Serbia and commented:
    Words CANNOT express how saddened I am to read about the racist backlash that has swept the U.S. following the beauty pageant I grew up watching. For the record, I think it is about time we have someone who isn’t “White” or “Black”. There is so much more to the rainbow that makes up the U.S. But is not the “Melting Pot” we make it out to be. Way to go Suzie81 for writing such a great blog! And congratulations to the beautiful Nina Davuluri!

  6. A great and honest and thought through blog, including the comments. There is some hope when people like you just say things that need saying. I have always been confused by the utter inaccuracy of ‘black’ and ‘white’. I dream of a world in which the colour – any colour – of a persons’s skin is simply a description, as one might say she has red hair, or he has brown eyes. It will come eventually as the genes are stirred, but there’s a way yet to go and a mountain of fear and ignorance to overcome. Thank you.

  7. Racism and stupidity go hand in hand. Together they generate a lot of fear and aggressive behavior toward those who are “other.” Sadly, one of the biggest engines of so much hatred is this very entity we’re using – the Internet. Before the Internet, one had to physically seek a hate group. Now, thousands of them are only a click away. And they have proliferated – many more hate groups exist on line than ever existed in person, all of them promoting fear of other people and isolation from the rest of the world.
    Yet it is coming together and sharing that will bring peace. Thank you for using your blog to promote peace. It’s the best thing anyone can do.
    The only way to make peace – is to MAKE PEACE!

  8. Hi, Suzie! Wow, that was one good tirade! I agree with you wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, ignorance and narrow-mindedness will always be driving forces for racial hatred. Jealousy is also a factor in this particular situation. There is enough pain in this world as it is, without religious and racial intolerance.

  9. I wish people could just separate the two. Great post and I agree with everything you said! If only people would open their eyes AND their mind.

    I’m glad I followed you!

  10. Brilliant. As an educator you have the privilege to offer so much to children but the responsibility of touching their hearts with tolerance, love, understanding, love, compassion and…love; must belong to everyone. We must begin with ourselves, your blog today touched more than a few. Its a start and we have to start again with every breath, Good job.

  11. It’s a sad fact that the older I get the more I’m aware of the absolute willful ignorance most people like to wallow in. Yes, I said MOST people. Because we are losing the war against the uneducated, the irrational, the science challenged, and every child we lose to that growing army of nincompoops creates its own little family of nincompoops, adding to their ranks. My dogs have more sense than most people. They are free of undeserved prejudice, and don’t carry a grudge when there is some small misunderstanding between them.

  12. LOVE your post!!! Being an Indian specially, loved it more. It is funny how they labeled her as a “terrorist”! what’s even funnier is I wish those twitter idiots even knew India is in no way involved in terrorist activities, infact it is us who face the wrath of such activities every now and then. And do they even remember that the natives of their own country aren’t fair skinned? Its like logic has been flushed down the drains.

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