This post was written by Angela Glover Blackwell and originally published on HuffingtonPost.
No sooner was it announced, than the social media backlash began.
Sunday evening, as Nina Davuluri was crowned the first Miss America of South Asian descent, some people took to Twitter with heartbreaking speed, saying she was not representative of the United States or of American values.
What a sad commentary on the values of some Americans. It suggests a super narrow and wrong view of the nation.
Why is it that a Miss America who is not white engenders so much angst in the populous?
The United States has never been an all-white nation — never — and it is fast becoming the most diverse nation in the world. And diversity will be the power currency of the future. Success in the global economy will go to the nation that can create, innovate, and connect in the context of difference. Having diverse leaders, workers, entrepreneurs, and innovators is the way to do that authentically and well.
Already the majority of babies born in the United States are Latino, Asian, Native American, African American, and other people of color. Nearly half of our nation’s young people are of color. By 2030 the majority of the young workforce will be of color, and by 2043, the majority of people in the nation will be people of color.
By recognizing diversity as the asset that it is, and adopting policies, programs, and plans to ensure that all can reach their full potential, we all win. In doing so, the nation realizes the moral power of inclusion, the promise of democracy, and the economic benefits of shared prosperity.
Rather than pushing out mean, negative messages over Twitter, creating an all-in nation — one linking each to the fate of all — is the best way to respond to the changing demographics. It’s time to accept the future and rejoice in the nation’s good fortune in having the young, globally connected, eager talent that we need to do well in the 21st century and beyond.
It’s just a beauty pageant, but it’s also a sign. America is changing; and it is a good thing.
Angela Glover Blackwell is the Founder and CEO of PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works®. PolicyLink and the Center for American Progress recently released All-In Nation: An America that Works for All, a new book that describes how racial and economic inclusion is necessary to achieve shared prosperity as America undergoes a profound demographic shift.