Miss Universe Olivia Culpo on Miss America racist attacks: 'Our country took a big step back'

olivia-culpo-india.jpg Olivia Culpo is finishing out her reign as Miss Universe with a 10-day trip to India to help raise  awareness on women's issues. Not surprisingly, news of racial attacks against the newly crowned Miss America (who is of Indian descent) have spread outside the United States.

"Many girls in America are from another descent, there are Italian-American, Indian- American, and African-American. So, it is funny that they made such a big deal about it, because it was absolutely no big deal," Culpo insists. "I think that it is indicating that clearly our country has gone a long way, but there are still moments where we could clearly do a better job."

Representing her home state of New York, Nina Davuluri set off the Internet hate phone chain when she won the Miss America title. Ignorance was on full display as she was  incorrectly labeled by multiple posters as being Muslim. For full xenophobic effect, "Muslims"  were equated with "terrorists" by these same posters.

"This girl was just wrongly pinpointed for no reason," says Culpo, who won Miss USA in 2012 as Miss Rhode Island before winning Miss Universe. "Our country took a big step back with that. I don't really understand it."

The new Miss Universe will be crowned on Saturday, Nov. 9 in Moscow.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images