St. Petersburg, Florida -- The first Miss America with an Indian heritage was crowned for 2014 Sunday night. Local Indian Americans in Tampa Bay were feeling a sense of pride watching someone who looks like them accomplish her American Dream.
However, some Americans were not prepared for Miss New York Nina Davuluri, an Indian American to take the title. Racial slurs hit Twitter feeds.
@Granvil_Colt tweeted, "the Arab wins Miss America" and @Not_MissAmerica -- whose account has since been suspended -- tweeted, "More like Miss terrorist." @Cheese-It tweeted, "Miss America? You mean Miss 7-11?"
"First of all, she is not a terrorist; second she is not Arab; she is an American," said a local newspaper editor, Shephali Rele.
Rele is proud that someone of her Indian American heritage reached for her dreams and made them come true.
"I used to watch the Miss America pageant as a kid with my parents, and I never saw anyone who looked different, or was diverse," said Rele. "It was a real testament to our accomplishments, to our community."
She was hurt to see the Twitter posts following Davuluri's crowning moment.
"What can you do? There is a segment of the population that is going to react that way but sooner or later, they have to accept, that even like Nina said in her answer to the judges, the girl next door is changing because of the diversity in our country."
Davluri even tweeted those words Monday afternoon posting, "I am so proud to be your #GirlNextDoor."
Touching on her answer to the question on stage about how she felt about Julie Chen getting plastic surgery to make her less Asian.
Her response was, "I don't agree with plastic surgery. However, I can understand that from a standpoint. More importantly, I've always viewed Miss America as the girl next door. And Miss America is always evolving... I wouldn't want to change someone's looks. Be confident in who you are."
Other Tampa Bay Indian Americans shared Rele's opinion about the Twitter posts.
"I wish they would open their eyes and see that this girl won because she deserves it," said Rani Kumer.
"We just need to ignore them," said Eswara Jeyaraman
Rele said she sees Davuluri representing her culture, and added that no matter what you look like you can reach your crown, your American Dream.