The Beautiful Net Effect of Crossculturalism

Two things are obviously clear this week: 1- the country has a new, very ethnic Ms. America, and 2- there are one heck of a lot of racist folks still out there. (see here)

In the wake of the racist backlash to Nina Davuluri being selected as 2014 Miss America, a client asked me if I thought that Crossculturalism was such a good idea after all. "The Miss America pageant is obviously turning off a lot of folks by selecting an Indian-American," he said. "Isn't that something brands should worry about too? The more you leverage Hispanic, Black or Asian cultures, the more you're going to alienate potential customers."

It seems like a valid concern and, unfortunately, one that several clients have voiced at some point. But read this beautiful quote from the Washington Post: "After years of stagnation and being criticized as sexist and hopelessly outdated, the Miss America pageant has people paying attention to it again. 'The office was telling me yesterday they can’t keep up with the calls,' Hopper says. 'She has inspired more interest than any Miss America we’ve had in a long time.'"

I'm not sure about you, but I'll gladly contend with a few xenophobic or confused souls on Twitter in order to revive my brand. I mean, I didn't even realize there was still a Ms. America. Up to about 5 days ago it seemed like such an absurd institution that it couldn't possibly still be around. And today, miraculously, it's all over the front pages and at the top of buzzfeed.

So no, I don't think Crossculturalism is wrong. I think, in fact, Miss America just proved it to be a very beautiful thing.