CNN Host Alisyn Camerota is accused of making what many are saying is a “racist remark” about 12-year-old Scripps Spelling Bee Champion Ananya Vinay. The young lady misspelled a word that Camerota saus is, “it’s root is not in Sanskrit, which is what you’re probably used to using.”
Chris Cuomo joking asked her to spell “covfefe” to which Camerota called a “nonsense word”.
Ananya is of Indian origin and was born and raised in Fresno, California. She was named the 2017 champion the night before. The Indian-American child has won the competition every year since 2008 and she is the 13th overall to do so.
Alisyn Camerota “corrected” the young lady’s spelling of the word then said “so, I don’t know. Anyway” just after her Sanskrit comment.
As reported by The Washington Post:
A CNN spokeswoman said Camoreta’s comment had nothing to do with the girl’s heritage, and the interview was not the first time the anchor joked about Sanskrit being the origin of “covfefe.”
“Alisyn made the same joking reference to the root of ‘covfefe’ in an earlier panel discussion that aired Wednesday. If she’s guilty of anything it’s recycling a joke. To assign a bias to what was a fun and innocent segment celebrating Ananya Vinay’s incredible accomplishment is frankly extremely cynical,” the spokesperson said in a statement, referring to a transcript of the Wednesday segment.
Sanskrit, an ancient language closely associated with Hinduism, is rarely spoken today and is generally used by Hindu priests during religious ceremonies. But activists and Hindu nationalists in India still push for the language to be more widely taught in schools. Government officials in India’s northeastern state of Assam announced this year that Sanskrit would be mandatory in public high schools, the New York Times reported.
The decision was met with strong resistance from student groups, which argued that other topics are more relevant and that few teachers are equipped to teach the ancient language.