CNN anchor mocks Indian American spelling bee champion

"We're not sure that it's root is in Sanskrit, which is what you're probably, uh, used to using."

Look, this isn't hard. An on-air interview with the winner of the National Spelling Bee. Ask her how she prepared, what it felt like to win, and what she's going to do now. Don't say anything racist.

That seems simple enough, right? Not quite.

Last week, CNN anchors Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo were interviewing 12-year-old Ananya Vinya, the newly crowned Scripps National Spelling Bee champion, when they challenged her to spell "covfefe." Ha ha. The infamously inexplicable word recently tweeted by Donald Trump. Funny... I guess?

But then after going through the motions of this inane bit, Camerota attempts to explain the "origin" of the word to Vinay, telling her "But it is a nonsense word but we're not sure that it's root is in Sanskrit which is what you're probably, uh, used to using."

Seriously? Aside from indignity of making this poor girl jump through these hoops on live TV, what is up with the racist joke at a sixth grader's expense? Erroneously noting that "Sanskrit" is what she is "used to using" is obviously referring to Ananya's ethnicity -- a way of pointing out that she is different. You know, not white.

Ananya, by the way, is from Fresno and clearly speaks, reads and spells in English. Better than you.

Also, nobody really uses Sanskrit anymore. It's an ancient language that has its roots in Hinduism, but it's rarely spoken anymore, and is primarily used as ceremonial language during Hindu religious rituals. But I'm guessing when Camerota refers to "Sanskrit," she uses it to mean foreign, weird, old-ass language.

A CNN spokesperson defended Camerota's remark and said this wasn't the the first time the CNN anchor had joked about the 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," the spokesperson said in a statement. "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."

That doesn't explain Camerota's insistence -- whether or not it was a joke -- that Ananya is "used to using" Sanskrit. Let's be real: she never would have said that to a white girl.

More here: A CNN host assumed an Indian American spelling bee champion could read Sanskrit

More here: CNN Anchor Mocks Indian-American Spelling Bee Champ

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