Little Miss Hispanic Delaware loses title over racial complaints

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Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103
Little Miss Hispanic Delaware loses title over racial complaints

Seven-year-old Jakiyah McKoy was crowned Little Miss Hispanic Delaware two weeks ago but was soon forced to relinquish her title after concerns over her heritage led to an investigation and sparked a backlash.
The complaints reportedly came from pageant-goers who believed McKoy ? who is black and was born in Brooklyn, NY ? did not epitomize Latin beauty, according to Buzzfeed and Latino Rebels.

According to policy, the pageant participants are required to be of at least 25 percent Latino heritage.

McKoy allegedly qualified because her grandmother was born in the Dominican Republic but a pageant official admits that her family was asked to confirm her heritage after the organization was questioned on the issue. The other contestants were allegedly not asked to provide proof of their backgrounds.

?Her parents were asked to bring in documentation. Of all of the documentation brought in there was nothing that confirmed Dominican heritage,? Maria Perez, president of Nuestras Ra?ces Delaware, told Latino Rebels. Perez works for the organization that sponsors the pageant.

?Whenever we are questioned, we ask for them to bring that stuff in,? she added.

Perez said McKoy?s heritage could have been confirmed if it was indicated on her mother?s birth certificate.
?The mother said she didn?t want to go through it,? said Perez.

Instead, the pageant winner?s family submitted documentation of guardianship provided by the state. According to earlier reports, proof of her grandmother?s heritage was difficult to confirm since she had passed away.

?We can?t have her be the queen if she doesn?t have the proper documentation,? Perez said. ?It?s not the first time that we?ve been confronted with the [burden of proof]. It?s happened in the past and they?ve brought in the proof and we were satisfied with it.?

However, Perez speculated that McKoy?s family sparked and spread ?rumors? that Jakiyah?s removal was because she was black.

Eventually, McKoy was stripped of her crown and now stands as the runner-up of the pageant ? but one Brooklyn resident is fighting for McKoy to keep her title and has launched a petition.

?This petition is to demand that Jakiyah McKoy keep her rightfully won crown, because her beauty represents us all,? the petition, launched by Daniel Jose Older on Change.org, reads.

The petition has amassed over 450 signatures so far. Meanwhile, Perez denies that McKoy?s race played a role in her demotion and added that several of the pageant?s former winners have been both black and Hispanic.

?Color has nothing to do with it,? she said. ?We?re all Latinos. That?s why we?re so beautiful because we come in all different colors.?

Little Miss Hispanic Delaware loses title over racial complaints | theGrio

Was demoting her the right decision? Do you believe the pagaent spokeswoman who says it was not based on how this little girl looks, but solely on the fact that she couldn't prove her Hispanic heritage? Should the organization begin asking *all* contestants for proof of Hispanic heritage?

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Ugh, what a mess. I get it. Contests like Little Miss Hispanic exist because the standard of American beauty has historically overlooked non-Eurocentric features (although it sounds like this little girl also may not have appeared to be of European descent.) So they created beauty pageants like this to specifically celebrate Hispanic beauty - and if you're not specifically celebrating Hispanic beauty what is the point, right? Having said that, I think its destructive to assume that "all people of Hispanic descent" look like X. We're actually a diverse group, and in a way that thinking marginalizes those of us who don't look like X. I remember during the controversy about Sofia the First (another example of "not Hispanic looking enough") thinking that if they had taken a picture of me as a little girl and turned it into a cartoon, I would be Sofia the First. Only, you know, with 80's bangs. Anyway, I don't know. Like I said, a mess.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6567

I have internet for awhile.

I do not believe it is any more appropriate to have an all Hispanic beauty pageant than it would be to have an all white pageant.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

Sorry I think this is ridiculous. Hispanic on a birth certificate is self identified. There is no Hispanic registry you can check the box if you want to. You could be 100% Hispanic and not check the box on your birth certificate. Does that mean you aren't Hispanic then?

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

The point of asking for the mother's birth certificate was that it would show where the grandmother was born. The little girl's parents claimed the grandmother was born in Dominican Republic, which would make her Hispanic, and thus the little girl would meet the 25% requirement. I'm willing to bet the mom's birth certificate doesn't say her mom was born in Dominican Republic, and that's why they didn't provide it. IMO the pageant was right to demote her because they couldn't authenticate that she is at least 25% Hispanic, per their rules, but I wonder if anyone would have asked for the same documentation for a little black girl from Brooklyn named Sofia Rodriguez. I think if you're going to move beyond self-identification of who is Hispanic, then you should ask for documentation before putting a little girl onstage.

I was curious about the requirements for Miss Chinatown USA, which is a big deal here. This pageant requires a copy of your birth certificate, and your citizenship papers if you were born abroad. Your father has to be Chinese, so too bad for any girls whose Chinese mom married a white guy, although a white mom is apparently OK. And you have to provide not only your father's name in English and in Chinese, but identify the ancestral village his family is from. (So adopted Chinese girls need not apply, either.)

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1537

Can I say how much I dislike pageants? If the parents were asked for documentation then they should have produced it, but I think the people that contacted the pageant to complain are total douchebags. My nephews are Hispanic and 1 looks Italian, one looks Hispanic and 1 has the same blond hair and blue eyes my kids have but they all have the same mom who was born in Mexico.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I think if they want it to be proven they need to request it from all contestants before the pageant occurs. Not later when someone questions how Hispanic you are.

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

"Spacers" wrote:

I was curious about the requirements for Miss Chinatown USA, which is a big deal here. This pageant requires a copy of your birth certificate, and your citizenship papers if you were born abroad. Your father has to be Chinese, so too bad for any girls whose Chinese mom married a white guy, although a white mom is apparently OK. And you have to provide not only your father's name in English and in Chinese, but identify the ancestral village his family is from. (So adopted Chinese girls need not apply, either.)

That is such insanity. And so very Confucian.