Mar 30, 2011

After being honored by The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, current Miss USA, Rima Fakih, shared her experience with the immediate criticism of her culture and nationality after winning the Miss USA pageant last year.
Here is what she wrote:

I Never Thought People Would Question My Citizenship


At 8:50 PM on May 16, 2010 I was crowned Miss USA 2010 and I believed that nothing could be better than that moment. I went to sleep that night in my VIP suite at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the left side of my king-size bed. I placed my crown on the pillow on the right so that when I woke up I could make sure I wasn't dreaming.


At 8:50 AM my mother burst into my suite and screamed "RIMA, YOU'RE EVERYWHERE." My mother threw a robe at me and told me to rush into the living room. Confused, half asleep and with no time to actually soak in the fact I was Miss USA, I followed my mother. There I was on CNN under the headline "Miss USA is an Arab." My father on the couch looked at me and said nothing but continued to flip through channels, and there I was everywhere.


I will never forget the look on my father's face. His face showed anger, fear and pain. Anger because he felt discrimination towards Arabs, fear for his daughters safety and pain at the thought of seeing his daughter losing her crown, and her dream. I placed my hand on my dad's shoulders and whispered, "Baba, I always told you that one day I will change the world's opinion on us, and here is my chance." I never thought that my crown would give me that opportunity, but then again I never thought people would question my ethnicity, my religion or my citizenship.


Last night I was honored by The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding at the home of Russell Simmons. The individuals who represent The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding serve as an example to the world. I mean, where else can you find a Sheikh, Rabbi, Arabs and Israelis all under one roof getting along?


We can together change the suffering in the Middle East if we learn from The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.



Rima Fakih


source - Global Grind


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