Did Miss USA Win Because of Her Race?

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While Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers quite literally got their ass handed to them by Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA finals, the annual Miss USA pageant aired on Fox. Since 1952, women have competed in the hopes of becoming the next woman to represent the United States of America. Although the times have changed since the early 50s, the pageant continues to strive in awarding the crown to the most qualified woman.

I’m not here to write about pageant logistics, the best swim suit or the finalist who answered her question with ease. Miss District of Columbia Deshauna Barber ecstatically accepted the Miss USA crown and sash in Las Vegas on June 5th, 2016. After wowing the judges with her beautiful appearance, physique and personality, Barber now holds the crown as the 64th Miss USA. But did she get the praise and congratulations she expected?

At the young age of 26 years-old, Deshauna Barber quickly racked up her list of accolades. From graduating with a degree in Business Management from Virginia State University, working as an IT Analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce and holding the title of First Lieutenant in the United States Army, Barber embodies a well-rounded woman.

From a uniform and boots to an evening gown and heels, Deshauna Barber ought to be deemed an undeniable role model. But instead, Barber immediately received negativity once she received the crown.

I don’t live in a bubble. I’m aware negativity shows its ugly face around every corner, but the amount of shame I came across after the pageant felt heart-wrenching. People decided to go up to the attic and dust off the ‘ole race card.

Is our society regressing? Are we still caught up in times of segregation? People genuinely had an issue with an African American winning the title as Miss USA. Let’s flashback really quick. Since 1990, when the first African American won the Miss USA title, eight black women have been crowned. Why the uproar?

To get to the bottom of it, I made my way onto Miss USA’s Instagram and clicked on the picture displaying Deshauna Barber as the new crown holder.

Yaaaaas Queen. #MissUSA

A photo posted by Deshauna Barber (@missusa) on

My thumb immediately scrolled to the comments. If Instagram users weren’t speaking on the audacity of crowning a black Miss USA, they were mentioning how she won because of her race.

“…and not to be racist, but I can guarantee they picked DC cuz she was black…” –Anonymous.

Can you guarantee that? Were you a judge? Didn’t think so. By the way, disclaiming you’re about to “not be racist” usually leads a statement featuring racism. Upon her crowning, Deshauna Barber immediately became someone who cannot represent the United States because of her color.

Another point of interest: The majority of those posting negative comments were women. Not always on her color, but her looks, height, etc.; some calling her old and immediately deeming her the worst Miss USA ever. Society never ceases to amaze me.

Women need to uplift other women, not shame them. Women already face difficultuties living in a world that constantly changes. One day it’s socially acceptable to resemble a twig, but the next month curves reclaim their sexiness. Thin eyebrows or thick eyebrows? Better keep up with the Kardashians in order to stay on trend.

Women: Stick together. Form a union where confidence adorns each individual like a necklace.

Deshauna Barber lives her life as an African American female in the Armed Forces, and now as the 2016 Miss USA winner. As a minority and a citizen willingly fighting for our country, I believe she will represent our country remarkably.

I know that just like the killing of the gorilla after a child fell into the exhibit finally faded out, this topic will, too. But everyone else voiced their opinions, and I felt the need to voice mine.

Congratulations to you, Deshauna. I can’t wait to watch you represent my country.

To give my final say on the matter: Where’s the respect? This woman, along with many others, gain the courage and confidence to show the entire world (literally) why she would be an excellent representation of an entire country. Could you do that? No, probably not. The First Amendment protects everyone’s rights to free speech, but make sure that speech creates a productive commentary, not for the purpose of demonizing and trolling another human being.

Senior at Florida State University studying Editing, Writing and Media. Lover of good lighting and Nicholas Sparks. Small town girl with a big city mindset.

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