This Bi-Racial Winner of a Miss Black Pageant Sparked a Complex Debate on Colorism

050517-News-National-Miss-Black-University-of-Texas (Photo: Kappa Alpha Psi via Instagram)

This Bi-Racial Winner of a Miss Black Pageant Sparked a Complex Debate on Colorism

Some say Rachael Malonson's victory perpetuates a "white" beauty standard.

Published May 5, 2017

Every year at the University of Texas-Austin, Black women are invited to compete in the Miss Black University of Texas pageant. This year, the event — hosted by the Iota Delta chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity — crowned Rachael Malonson the winner of the pageant. However, upon receiving the crown, the 22-year-old, biracial journalism student received a wave of backlash. 

  1. Upon seeing the image of Malonson with the Miss Black UT sash and tiara, some suggested she wasn't 'black enough' to win

    “I wasn’t sure if I would even place in the pageant because I wasn’t sure they would think I was ‘Black enough,’” she told USA TODAY College. “I chose to do the pageant to gain a deeper inner confidence before I graduate, while breaking stereotypes that Black people or mixed-race people have to look a certain way."

  2. Others questioned whether or not Malonson was even Black

    The debate over Malonson's Blackness occupied most of the Twitter thread dedicated to congratulating her. Within the comments, colorism became a prominent point of discussion. Although some attempted to discredit Malonson's achievement because she is "too light" to be considered Black, others came to her defense and pointed out the hypocrisy of beauty standards in the community. 

  3. Many people argued on behalf of Malonson
  4. Barack Obama and his biracial identity was used as an example
  5. Malonson used this experience and the reactions to shed light on complexities surround beauty and blackness in the community

    “I’m so humbled by all of the support I’ve received from the Black community at UT,” Malonson told USA Today. “Their opinion matters to me most because they are the ones who truly know me and know that I am a Black woman who works to support the Black community.”

  6. Past winners of the pageant have spoken up to remind the critics about what the pageant represents

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Kappa Alpha Psi via Instagram)

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