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New Miss America's Indian heritage sparks racist comments 

The crowning of the latest Miss America has stirred up the ugly side of social media.

Miss New York, Syracuse native Nina Davuluri, won the crown Sunday night, and as soon as she did, Twitter lit up with comments suggesting she was an Arab, a foreigner, and a terrorist with ties to Al Qaeda.

Why the hate?

Davuluri, who aspires to be a doctor like her father, is the first Miss America whose family comes from India. Her win also happens to be the second consecutive victory for New York, but that got lost in tweets by people who couldn't look past her skin-deep beauty.

“Congratulations Al-Qaeda. Our Miss America is one of you,” tweeted "De La Rutherford," or @Blayne_MkltRain, who has since pulled down the full Twitter profile.

Many individuals who ranted over the Miss America decision pulled down their Twitter pages after media sites posted their comments. One user whose name has been redacted, as he's a minor, pulled down his profile after he tried to connect Davuluri's win with the September 11 anniversary.

"9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets Miss America?" he tweeted in a post.

But Nick Puzzo kept his site up, using it to defend himself against people who reacted angrily to him tweeting, "So miss america is a terrorist."  

So+miss+america+is+a+terrorist

—+Nick+Pizzo+(@pizzo_nick)+September+16,+2013+


The+liberal+Miss+America+judges+won't+say+this+-+but+Miss+Kansas+lost+because+she+actually+represented+American+values.+#missamerica

—+toddstarnes+(@toddstarnes)+September+16,+2013+

Meanwhile, Todd Starnes, host of Fox News & Commentary, blamed the win on a "politically correct" panel of judges, according to a series of tweets.

"The liberal Miss America judges won't say this but Miss Kansas lost because she actually represented American values," he said in one post.

Davulari, for her part, embraced her heritage in the talent portion of the Miss America competition. She performed an Indian dance fused with Bollywood moves. After she won her crown, she dismissed the online remarks disparaging her heritage. 

"I have to rise above that," she said, according to the AP. "I always viewed myself as first and foremost American." 

  • Slideshow Photos

    Mel Evans / AP

    Image: Nina Davuluri

    Crowning Miss America 2014

    During the 93rd annual Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, 53 contestants competed in luminous evening gowns and flashy swimsuits. Take a look at this year's winner and the other lovely ladies who vied for the crown.

  • Image: Nina Davuluri

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Crowning Miss America 2014 -

    During the 93rd annual Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, 53 contestants competed in luminous evening gowns and flashy swimsuits. Take a look at this year's winner and the other lovely ladies who vied for the crown.

    Miss New York Nina Davuluri walks on the runway after being crowned as Miss America 2014 on Sept. 15 in Atlantic City, N.J.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Nina Davuluri

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Crowd of contestants -

    Miss New York Nina Davuluri (in yellow) is approached by contestants after being crowned Miss America 2014.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Miss America contestant, Miss New York Nina Davuluri reacts after being chosen winner of the 2014 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    The crowning -

    Miss New York Nina Davuluri (front) is crowned as Miss America 2014 by Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: Mallory Hagan, Nina Davuluri, Crystal Lee

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Winner's shock -

    Davuluri (center) reacts after being named Miss America as Miss California Crystal Lee (left) and Miss America 2014 Mallory Hagan celebrate with her.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Miss America contestant, Miss New York Nina Davuluri performs a traditional Indian dance during the 2014 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Classical Bollywood fusion -

    Miss New York Nina Davuluri performs a traditional Indian dance during the 2014 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: Crystal Lee

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Beautiful ballet -

    Miss California Crystal Lee performs a ballet routine en pointe during the Miss America 2014 pageant.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Paula Mae Kuiper, Ivana Hall

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Yes! -

    Miss Wisconsin Paula Mae Kuiper (right) reacts after finding out she's advancing beyond the lifestyle round as Miss Texas Ivana Hall congratulates her during the Miss America 2014 pageant.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Carly Mathis

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Onto the next round -

    Miss Georgia Carly Mathis acknowledges the crowd after advancing beyond the lifestyle competition during the Miss America 2014 pageant.

    AP / AP
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    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Dancing down the catwalk -

    Contestants walk on the runway during the Miss America 2014 pageant.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Miss America 2014 contestant, Miss Kansas Theresa Vail reacts after hearing she will move forward while competing in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Moving on -

    Miss America 2014 contestant, Miss Kansas Theresa Vail reacts after hearing she will move forward while competing in the Miss America Pageant 2014 pageant.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: 2014 Miss America Competition - Preliminary Round 3

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Bikini ready -

    Miss Georgia, Carly Mathis, won the preliminary lifestyle and fitness competition in a white Catalina swimsuit at Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall on September 12.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Stunning swimwear -

    Miss Mississippi Chelsea Rick won the preliminary lifestyle and fitness competition.

    Miss America / Miss America
  • Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Singing on stage -

    Miss New Hampshire Samantha Russo won the preliminary talent competition for her rendition of "Don't Rain On My Parade."

  • Image: 2014 Miss America Competition - Preliminary Round 3

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Preliminary winners -

    Miss Florida, Myrrhanda Jones was named Thursday night's preliminary talent winner. Here, she poses with Mallory Hagan, Miss America 2013, and Miss Georgia, Carly Mathis, the lifestyle and fitness winner on Sept. 12, 2013.

    Getty Images Contributor / Getty Images Contributor
  • Image: 2014 Miss America Competition - Preliminary Round 2

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Violin player -

    Miss Minnesota, Rebecca Yeh, was named Wednesday night's preliminary talent winner for her violin performance on September 11.

    Getty Images Contributor / Getty Images Contributor
  • Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Baton twirler -

    Miss Florida, Myrrhanda Jones competes in the preliminary talent competition by twirling batons on Sept. 14. Jones suffered injuries to her right knee after falling but returned to compete with a brace on her knee and was named Thursday night's preliminary talent winner.

    Miss America / Miss America
  • Image: 2014 Miss America Competition - Preliminary Round 2

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Broadway hopeful -

    Nicole Kelly, Miss Iowa, performs in the talent competition.

    Getty Images Contributor / Getty Images Contributor
  • Image: Theresa Vail

    Crowning Miss America 2014

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    Woman in uniform -

    Miss Kansas Theresa Vail displays her shoe during the Miss America Shoe Parade at the Atlantic City boardwalk, on Sept. 14. The tattooed Kansas Army National Guard sergeant was one of the competition's most-talked about contestants.

    AP / AP
  • Image: The 2014 Miss America Competition Parade

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    Red, white and blue -

    Miss Pennsylvania Annie Rosellini appears in the 2014 Miss America parade at Boardwalk Hall Arena on Sept. 14.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: The 2014 Miss America Competition Parade

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    Studded out -

    Miss South Dakota Tessa Dee shows off her knee-high boots at the Miss America parade on Sept. 14.

    Getty Images / Getty Images

Davuluri is the second Miss Syracuse to win the Miss America crown. Coincidentally, the first one to do so also raised some eyebrows because of her race. In 1983, Vanessa Williams was the first black woman to win Miss America.

"That was before the days of social media, but she got a lot of hate mail," Al Roker noted Monday on TODAY.

The online community also lit up when Rima Fakih was named Miss USA in 2010. An Arab-American whose family comes from Lebanon, Fakih barely had been crowned when many tried to link her with the military terrorist group Hezbollah. 

The comments questioning Davulari's citizenship prompted an online dialogue after other Twitter users began reacting to the racist comments. They came to Davulari's defense, expressing support for the "celebrating diversity" platform she described in the pageant.

"stop hating, america. she's one of us..." said Emma Sydney, or ‏@emsmileyxo6h.

okay+seriously+can+we+all+just+be+happy+for+nina+davuluri?+stop+hating,+america.+she's+one+of+us...

—+Emma+Sydney+(@emsmileyxo)+September+16,+2013+

Meanwhile, @ericatessa, told the nation to "#getwithitusa" in her tweet.

I+think+it's+fabulous+that+@NinaDavuluri+won+#MissAmerica!+America+is+about+diversity.+Not+intolerance.+#diversity+#getwithitusa

—+Erica+(@ericatessa)+September+16,+2013+

Questlove Jenkins, or @questlove, applauded Davulari's win as a reflection of the true "American story."

i+think+its+amazing+that+@NinaDavuluri+was+crowned+Miss+America.+THIS+is+the+american+story.

—+Questlove+Jenkins+(@questlove)+September+16,+2013+


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