One week after media sources noted widespread racist reactions to the selection of Nina Davuluri as Miss America, The Indian Embassy intends to open a cultural heritage center in Washington D.C.
While born and raised in the United States, Davuluri was born to a family of immigrants from India.
The Indian Ambassador to the United States, Nirupama Rao, dismissed the notion of widespread racism against Indians.
“At the popular level, there is a tremendous interest and goodwill that Indian culture enjoys in the United States.
“To sustain this spirit of inquiry about India among our American friends, we hope to establish an Indian Cultural Center in Washington D.C. soon, which would provide a platform for exchange of ideas and intellectual discourse between our two peoples in the coming years,” said Ambassador Rao in public remarks last year while speaking at Harvard.
The negative reactions against the selection of Davuluri were mostly confined to Twitter, and did not seem to reference the judges of the pageant, many of which are regarded as “American icons” including former NSYNC singer Lance Bass, New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire, and “Top Chef” contestant Carla Hall. Amongst others, Davuluri faced five other Asian American contestants for the title.
According to the Hindustan Times “Once done, the building will have an auditorium, a gallery for paintings and pictures, a library, a conference hall and more – modeled on other Indian cultural centers around the world.”
India maintains cultural centers in major cities throughout the world, spanning such countries China, Russia, Germany, England, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and Nepal.