Miss America controversy spawns moving defense of nurses

At this year’s Miss America pageant, contestants performed in various ways for the talent portion of the competition. While there were performances we’re accustomed to seeing — women singing opera and playing musical instruments — one woman decided to take a chance and do something altogether different.

When Miss Colorado got up to perform her talent, she simply stood in the middle of the stage in a nurse’s uniform and recited a monologue she wrote. It was about her own personal experience being a nurse to patients with Alzheimer’s.

She spoke about one patient in particular named Joe, who she bonded with and who helped her realize she was “not just a nurse.” While not flashy or dramatic, the speech was incredibly moving because it was from the heart.

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Image: Ally Hirschlag

However, despite that, the hosts from The View decided to openly mock her talent on air a few days after the pageant, simply because they didn’t get it. The public knocking was initiated by co-host Michelle Collins, who claims to have watched the show even though her uninformed judgments would suggest otherwise.

First, she outwardly mocked the entire pageant by putting air quotations around “talent” when talking about the talent portion of the evening. Then she went on to bash Miss Colorado’s heartfelt speech by saying, “[She] came in a nurse’s uniform and basically read emails out loud [laughing]. And shockingly did not win.” Side note: She was runner-up, but I suppose Collins didn’t watch long enough to find that out. She said her talent wasn’t even a talent, and then it got even more awkward. “She helps people with Alzheimer’s, which I know is not funny, but I swear you have to see it. Like, Google it if you can.” It’s astonishing to watch someone bury their foot in their mouth so fast.

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Since then, Miss Colorado’s speech has received a flood of attention on social media, as fellow nurses have rallied against the hurtful, ignorant things Collins said about her on The View. #Nursesunite started trending on Twitter soon after, and people also took to criticizing the hosts on The View‘s Facebook page. The backlash feels like the social media equivalent of an angry mob carrying pitchforks and torches.

People have even started creating a number of memes in protest of the incident. Here are some of our favorites:

Image: #NursesUnite

As you can see, nurses, and those who appreciate nurses (everyone), are not taking this uninformed mockery lightly. Unfortunately neither Collins nor the other hosts of The View have made any kind of formal apology for their snide behavior as of yet. And while that fact is certainly making matters worse for the show’s fan base, it is definitely helping the world recognize the importance of nurses by giving their stories a very public platform. Nurse practitioners are now sharing their own stories of success and hardship all over social media, and the outpouring of gratitude from total strangers is overwhelming.

It’s good to recognize that, in the face of ignorant judgment, we can find genuine appreciation and solidarity.

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