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The Miss Black America Pageant

“Why is it still acceptable to have a Miss Black America pageant but not a Miss White America pageant?”Kelly Trainer

For centuries American society judged black people inferior simply because of the color of skin. Black people were little more than beast of burden legally bought and sold on the slave market. The economy of the southern half of the United States was built on the backs of people who were enslaved and were forced to sacrifice their labor with absolutely no real compensation other than the substandard food, clothing, and shelter a slave owner felt compelled to offer. This arrangement allowed the white population to accumulate a huge advantage in the collection and distribution of wealth.

After America’s institutionalized slavery the dominant American race which was overwhelmingly composed of white people, felt justified in denying black people equal access to education and employment. While white children were granted an education in quality schools with quality educational materials black students at black schools were regularly given outdated materials if the board of education bothered to give them anything at all. Black schools were allowed to decay while white schools received all manners of investment. This arrangement allowed the white community to develop an educational advantage that would allow white people to be the superior candidate in an employment situation.

Irregardless of the educational and financial advantages of white people to their black counterparts, the dominant community was simply racist. America was developed with the notion that black people are not to live with white people, black people are not allowed to work with white people, black people were not allowed to learn with white people. Black people were not even allowed to use the sidewalk at the same time white people were on it. America was developed as a nation of racial disparity and racial separatism. In response to this environment, the black population had to develop its own institutions.

While white women were lining up and competing in their beauty pageants that did not allow black women to compete fairly, the black community responded with its own beauty pageant. The Miss America Beauty pageant existed for decades before it was able to allow a black woman to compete. And it was years later still before a black woman would actually win. The Miss America pageant didn’t have to call itself the Miss White America Beauty pageant. Everybody knew it was only for white women. In America, the dominant community had introduced and established a tradition of racial separation. The black community simply responded. And now the dominant community wants to eradicate these institutions and hold them up as examples of blacks imposing a condition of separatism on white people.

Black women had to earn the right to compete in the Miss America pageant. Imagine the number of black women who tried to compete in this competition that celebrates a European standard of beauty with features of hair texture and facial structure that has black women at a disadvantage. And yet, black women stepped up to the plate and jumped through the hoops to meet white people’s standards.

If white people think it is unfair for black people to have a black only contest for beauty then let white women learn to compete on the stage with black women like black women had to learn to compete on the stage with white women. How many white women want to compete in the Miss Black America pageant? Let white people learn to deal with the same level of animosity and hostility the first black beauty contestants had to face when they tried to compete with white women in an all white environment. And when white women don’t win after their first year, second year, tenth year, or twentieth year, white people need to remember how long it took for a black women to win their previously all white Miss America Pageant.

Some white people think it is unfair to be in their position of dominance and control and yet be excluded from the black institutions that were developed because of white exclusion. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. It took a concerted effort over time by many black people who wanted to compete in white people’s world. It didn’t happen overnight. If white people want to compete in black people’s world then white people need to learn to make the sacrifice and the commitment to compete in the world black people created because white people wouldn’t allow us to compete in theirs.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts


  1. Hi Peacemaker.

    I wanted to comment on your post since you quoted me up there. First, I thank you for including the link so that it’s possible for people to see my words in context. I can see where out of context, what I said could look rather derogatory. That was not my intent.

    The point of my post wasn’t to slam the Miss Black America contest. The point was to lament the fact that America still chooses to segregate itself after all these years. I find it shameful and sad that we haven’t grown up.

    You are absolutely right in your article. Everything you said is true. Both in the evil behavior (and evil is the only appropriate word) of the whites toward the blacks in American history, as well as the inequalities that still glaringly exist today.

    As a white person living in a predominantly white neighborhood, I have not had to bear hatred by strangers based on my appearance alone. I cannot imagine how painful that must be. What do you say as a parent to your children when a complete stranger acts hateful for no reason? How do you move forward when a vast amount of elements are stacked against your success only because of the shade of your skin?

    I don’t know. I don’t have the answers.

    I believe the system we have in place isn’t working. To my eyes, programs such as the Miss Black America pageant continue to drive a wedge deeper when the wedge should be removed altogether. I don’t want a Miss White America contest, either. If my meaning wasn’t clear, I apologize for my poor choice of words.

    I think human beings should utilize their God-given common sense and treat people as they deserve for who they are–not for who their great-great-great grandparents were, or for what a semi-random gene pool created. Most people don’t care if someone has a big nose or tiny feet or bushy eyebrows. Why should we care about skin color? Or the shape of someone’s eyes? Or whether they stand over 3 feet tall? We should be beyond self-segregation by now. It frustrates me that we’re not.

    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to clarify my comments. For what it’s worth, I think your writing shows a great deal of class.


    Kelly Trainor

    Comment by K. Trainor | Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Reply

  2. BP,

    Great post man! I swear we’re psychologically connected or something. Or maybe it’s because we’re both black. HA!
    Anyway, I wonder what is so hard for people to understand these things. I guess it’s because white people choose to ignore the past and the reasons why things are the way they are. Shit, they made it this way. It’s like they really believe that we should be happy with inclusion into their environments, venues, contest, etc…
    Even when we are included we have to look like them… Instead of winning based upon our genetic traits. So, it really not celebrating our women when they do win it’s celebrating how much that black woman can look like a white woman. I doubt we’ll ever see a sister with an afro or locs win the Miss America Pageant.

    Comment by Damien | Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Reply

  3. I guess Kelly and I were writing at the same time…
    Things aren’t gonna be equal in this country until white people aren’t the majority anymore and even then whatever race is probably will dominate after a few years/decades of the people that have power, for their power to dissipate into the new society. Until then since white people are the majority they’re gonna vote for white people… Not placing blame cuz we all do it… when it comes to preferences. Although we have been trained to think that white is the epitome of beauty… I think the Miss America pageant is out dated and needs to go.

    Comment by Damien | Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Reply

  4. BrotherP,

    I totally get where you are coming from. I see that Kelly would like for us (America) all to grow up and just come together. Yet we still have pseudo segregation in all aspects of life. Kelly understands this she does live in a predominantly white neighborhood. Why?

    Why do blacks “have” to get their own awards, pageants or anything else? Because when we try to enter into the white dominated arenas we are forced to compete “as” a white person with black skin. There have been 7 black Miss America’s and the pageant has been around since 1921. And not until 1980 did blacks break in, this is pathetic.

    I agree with Damien whites are going to vote for whites more than likely. The funny thing is that when this happens, they don’t care but will then turn around and scream that blacks are voting for blacks. That makes me laugh every time I think about it.

    Sorry for that off topic rant. But the way I see it is that whites want to separate themselves from blacks. Keep everything pretty much whitewashed saying to get your own. Then when we do they damn us for it talking about how we segregate ourselves.

    Forget it we are damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

    Great post on the stupidity that is Miss Black America.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Reply

  5. I can not say that in this time there is a necessity for a contest involving one individual race. I have done NOTHING to damage or impede the progression of ANY race. My parents and grandparents share that proud heritage. We’ve all worked and tried and hoped for a better world. Why must we accept bigotry for the deeds of early Americans? My family was not here then. They did not gain or prosper from the hard work of anyone but themselves. I think that all people of all colors should be included in all competitions. The Black Miss America pageant is WRONG. It puts the whole community of black people in a seperate place that they’ve fought (rightfully) hard to be out of. You can not have it both ways!!!!

    Comment by Gibson | Thursday, August 28, 2008 | Reply

  6. Thanks for the feedback Gibson,

    But this has nothing to do with you. Do you know how many white people come here with such ridiculous, small minded thinking? “I never did anything to any black person so black people have no right to say anything about white people!” What have you done to make racial prejudices a thing of the past? Buried your head in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening? I’m sorry that just doesn’t cut it. My ancestors and elders worked hard to climb out of the hole the black community is in. Obviously they weren’t successful. Why don’t you give me a break, give all black people a break and quit your phony outrage. You don’t even know if white people can compete in the Miss Black America Pageant or not. Why don’t you try competing in the Miss Black America Pageant. You have my blessing. If anybody says anything to you just tell them Peacemaker sent you.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, August 28, 2008 | Reply

  7. As a former contestant and winner of numerous Miss “Black” titles, let me answer your question. Why should black people give up an institution with it’s own, history and traditions because white folks ALLOW us into their institutions?
    You see three generations of my family were winners and/or contestants in “Black” pageants, for us it’s a FAMILY tradition. Why should our family tradition be wiped out because I’m ALLOWED to enter into a mainstream pageant, that my mother, her mother and her mother weren’t allowed to even attend lettalone compete?
    I was a county winner in the Miss America line of pageants and was runner-up in our state pageant, the same year I was first runner-up in a state pageant that lead to Miss Black America. Frankly I’m tired of Black America giving up our traditions and institutions because white folks say, “Well…..We guess we’ll ALLOW you to pay to be in our pageant, OK now we see that you have money to spend, you can now Pay to go to our college…OK you can now give me your money to buy food that I don’t want to sell to you”
    This is why my grandfather lost his career in the Negro League. One black guy got a shot at the majors, and the whole league closed. That means fans, players etc. were just erased because white folks decided to allow a black man into the majors. And we know that Jackie Robinson was only there to sell tickets. So they make more money and managers, players and black stadiums were thrown in the trash.
    The country said, black kids can go to school with white kids, who lost their jobs? Black teachers whose degrees from black colleges weren’t recognized by many districts. Why not close down the white schools and bus them in with the black children?
    Same with black colleges, Black folks have been going to Howard and Spelman for several generations, so now we should just close those schools down because black kids can go to most colleges.
    If things were fair, we’d look up and see more than a few sisters in Miss America and all those contestants from the Miss Black America would be in the Miss America pageant.
    I say this, the Miss Black America Pageant has a whole lot more embeded tradition and respect, why not close down the Miss AMerica pageant and regardless of race let those white contestants compete in our pageant and let us keep the name of our traditional pageant.
    I’ll close with this, just because white folks offer you something it doesn’t mean it’s better than what you already have.
    If your grandfather gave you his grandfather’s watch, would you throw that watch away because some strange white man walked up and gave you his watch?


    Comment by JK | Thursday, January 22, 2009 | Reply

  8. You are welcome. I wrote an article about this some years ago explaining that most institutions with the word “Black” at the beginning were started generations ago when black people weren’t allowed in the white folks version. So to say that because they now see the light, (or should we say, see the money) we should just close down all our institutions is unreasonable to me. I want my daughter to win Miss Black America and have the same photos and memories my aunt has of the event back in the early 60s. Besides what are the odds of winning Miss America if you’re black? Probably as good as the odds of a red head with freckles winning a pageant in which all the judges are African-American.
    It’s not about race, it’s about tradition. My high school was the first high school for black teens back in the 40s when we couldn’t go to public school. Though our school won awards, students went to Harvard and a few white kids attended our school, it was closed down because the school board decided in 1990 that it wasn’t as important as the school that had banned black kids from it’s inception. Now our kids have to be bussed 1 hour across town and get up at 4:40am to catch the bus.
    So I conclude with this, close down Harvard and send everyone to Howard, it’s traditions are as rich as Harvard.

    Comment by JK | Friday, January 23, 2009 | Reply

  9. You are as much of a racist as any white person is with your thinking. What happened in the past has happened and there is nothing we can do about it except to learn from it. People such as yourself would like to keep throwing it in everyone’s face and use it as an excuse for any way that it would benefit you and/or others. Every time someone says something negative about a black person it must be racist. How about trying to move forward and stop having events that separate black and white? That is the only way we can move past racisim.

    Comment by Steve | Saturday, February 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Steve,

      But the article I wrote was written in the past. What was written was written and there is nothing we can do about it except learn from it. People like you want to keep going back there and throwing it up in my face as an excuse to call me a racist which benefits you. Every time someone says something negative about our culture white people cry reverse racism. How about you trying to move forward and stop focusing on articles that describe the current circumstances between black and white people.

      People like you slay me, or at least would like to. You like to think racism is over despite the continued disparity all around us. By any and every social measure the black community lags behind the white community. But that’s okay because the status quo works against the majority of the black community. Only when we reach true racial equality can we actually relax and say anybody who continues to bring up the past is a racial separatist. But as long as we continue to wallow in racial disparity, racism is not past but is alive and well. Obviously we haven’t learned a thing. We are not even trying to move past racism but are remaining static in the status quo.

      Lastly, let’s tear down that Jewish holocaust museum. All it’s doing is bringing up the past. We’ve got to move on.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, March 1, 2009 | Reply

    • Whose talking about the past? I’m talking about last week when my News Director came to me in confidence (A red head white man) and leveled that I could not get the Main news anchor position at his station because the advertisers might have a problem with.

      Comment by jadaka | Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | Reply

  10. Once again you don’t get it.

    Getting rid of the Black Miss America pagent would be a step in the right direction because as of now it is the only institution that whites can’t participate in in America(yes technically that is against the law so really the pagent shouldn’t exist anymore).

    You might want to keep your historically black institutions but that is too bad because if you dare to say that you want equality or you dare to say that whites are trying separate from you, then at least have the decency to stand up against the inequalities in your own community against us(as it was said before you can’t have it both ways).

    Seriously though should we just rename everything else with a white in front of it, is that what it will take to show you your own hypocrisy(black women wouldn’t feel too comfortable entering it with that name would they)?

    Plenty of black women win the pagent, plenty of black people represent this country in every way imagineable but yet you still think you should have all black institutions like Miss Black America.

    In reality America has adapted to African American ideals far more than you will ever know instead of being supposedly white controlled.

    If America was white controlled then black women wouldn’t win half the time they do now in any contest, much less beauty contests.

    If America was white controlled then we wouldn’t allow basketball to be so non diversified and white players would actually be recognized instead of brushed under the rug like they are now.

    If America was white controlled our children wouldn’t be listening to majority black rappers who in the past have even advocated violence against whites.

    you stance won’t bring America any closer to ending racism.

    Comment by Proud white | Monday, April 20, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Proud white,

      But once again you don’t get it. Why should the black community get rid of the Black Miss America pageant? Why doesn’t the Miss America pageant that was founded on the principle of black exclusion get kicked to the curb? Are you ready to get rid of all the China towns? German Catholic churches? Are you saying that all the little Italian communities need to go? Do all of these institutions need to go in order to have equality? No! It’s only black institutions that need to go in order for us to assimilate. Only black people are required to give up anything black in order to be part of the whole. Why do we have to give up that which defined us and helped us and sustained us when white people prevented black people from participating? You might as well put white in front of it because as soon as black people try to do anything that is historically black then white people will be offended. Plenty of black women participate in the historically white Miss America pageant. Why don’t white people participate in the Black Miss America pageant? Your racism and snobbery is for all to see on your sleeve. The Black Miss America pageant is no more a barrier to equality than a Japanese restaurant. Give me a break already.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, April 20, 2009 | Reply

  11. I am only talking about this issue right now, I am not just saying the black institutions need to go(or at least need to change the names), it is all the things named to suit a certain population that need to go or at least changed to welcome everyone else(restaurants are very different as that is only a indication of the style of food, it doesn’t really welcome a certain demographic as much as it invites people with a certain sense of taste).

    You also missed the fact that the Black Miss America pagent DOESN’T ALLOW WHITE WOMEN, if a white girl wants to enter they deny her request just like that because that is a racist institution, it isn’t like the HBCUs that let non black students in, it doesn’t let any white girls in because it is a legally racist institution.

    Comment by Proud white | Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | Reply

    • Proud white,

      How do you know that white women aren’t allowed to participate? Where did you get this piece of propaganda? Have you tried? No! Do you know anybody that has tried? No! All you are basing your opinion on are myths and a prejudice against black people. It’s just like all of those black hate groups that you have yet to name because they don’t exist.

      And the Miss America pageant has changed? How? Because they now let a handful of black women with keen Caucasoid features participate? Is that the reason it is so different because they now let a few black Malibu Barbies participate in a contest based on white styles of beauty? You are too funny.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | Reply

    • Where does it say in the Miss Black America or Miss Black USA pageant that white women can not compete? I looked at the Miss Asia America Pageant rules and Miss Hispanic Pageant and based upon their rules, I could compete in them.

      Comment by jadaka | Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | Reply

  12. You also forget that once Miss America allowed black women in, the old Miss America was destroyed, this is a new institution because the old one ran on the supposed fact that only white women could represent America’s beauty.

    It may have the same name but it is certainly different.

    Comment by Proud white | Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | Reply

  13. This Proud White person wishes to place the Miss Black America on the same racist level as the Miss America pageant. The Miss Black America’s only rules for entry is that you are female and between the ages of 17 and 24. Now how does this exclude white women?

    It doesn’t! Yet of course in order to justify their continued racism, people such as Proud White HAVE to make ASSumptions based on inaccurate information and flat out lies.

    See the Miss Black America pageant was a protest to the blatant racism of Miss America which EXCLUDED blacks and other minorities. This pageant was open for anyone who felt they wanted to help represent the black community. And dare I say that no white person wanted that title.

    And so of course it is always the blacks who are being exclusionary. Even though history shows us the opposite. White people such as Proud White will constantly say that blacks who create their own version of whatever white institution which will not allow for their participation is being racist. Thus giving the REAL racist institution a nice cover.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If we complain that we need to be let into their establishments they scream we should get our own. We get our own and Proud White and friends yell that we are trying to be racist and separatist.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | Reply

  14. I really love this post. Another point of it is the Miss Black America Pagent was also started to help promote Black business.Just like the Miss America Pagent was started to promote beauty aids and household products. Keep The Miss Black America pagent and keep promoting Black Business!

    Comment by Cleva Watson | Friday, September 4, 2009 | Reply

  15. “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind”
    -mahatma ghandi

    I am a white man, I believe in equality. Yes the white ancesters in America were messed up, but it wasn’t only twords black people. Irish, Native Americans, Asians, Latin peoples, ALL were being discriminated upon. I don’t think its right for ANY race to have a “this race only” contest.
    The history is history if we all want to move on and be friends then do it. Do not sit there and hate white people for the past most white people can not even account for. I cannot control what my ancestor’s did (even tho my ancestors were quakers and irish immigrants)so let it go. Be the better person and unit all of us every one of us. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t want just black people to hate everyone, he wanted us ALL CHILDREN OF EVERY COLOR AND CREED to be together as one people THE HUMAN PEOPLE! Forgive, in every religion teaches FORGIVENESS. So lets forgive all and become one, no blacks only, no whites only or whatever! JUST PEOPLE TOGETHER. If you would hide 2 people of different races in a closet cut there arms and pour the blood in a glass and take it out and put it on a table you would not be able to distinguish one from another. We are all different and the same at the same time. EMBRACE IT LIVE IT stop the hatrid and racism and bigotry. Now im not saying not to be proud of your race, you should be proud of who you are and what makes you you, BUT just because your proud of who you are that doesn’t mean you should hate everybody else because they are not you! Stop being so easily offended to all, if you don’t believe in god or you are of a different religion than christians, don’t stop someone from speaking of Jesus or god. If you don’t agree then don’t look or listen. THAT IS WHATS BEUTIFUL!! If you have the choice not to believe then you have the choice to turn your head and ignore those who do! We won’t make you listen as long as you don’t make us silence ourselves. Not being able to have the text CHRISTmas is rediculous considering that is the whole point of the holiday! or IN GOD WE TRUST on the dollars, if you don’t want it on there, don’t look at it! DO NOT stop us from saying it. Wave flags saying god doesn’t exist wear shirts, do whatever you want, but don’t stop us from having OUR freedom of speech and religion.

    We ARE all equal, so let’s all actually act like it.

    Comment by scott | Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | Reply

  16. Thanks for the feedback scott,

    But the Miss Black America Pageant isn’t the worst instrument that keeps racial disparity in place. If you really want equality then do something to create true equality. To focus on a black institution that was created to combat white people’s racism reminds me of another famous saying…

    “Penny wise and pound foolish!”


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | Reply

  17. Scott I hear what you’re saying. But you sound just like the angry white folks in my Corporate office. You are angry because you think that when black folks refer to racism we’re talking about slavery or something that happened 300 years ago. We’re not talking about slavery, we’re talking about today. Where you can’t see the racism that’s going on today because you’re the ones looking back and talking about slavery, I’m talking about the young kid excuted on recorded video in Oakland a few weeks back, I’m talking about the promotion I didn’t get at work because my boss a white man leveled with me that our white clients might not be as receptive to me, though I’ve been with the company longer and have a better track record than the white man who got the promotion. I’m talking how everyone in the office can have a bad day but me. Last month I wasn’t smiling and in the good mood I make myself be in everyday because my uncle had been checked into hospice. So I was quiet and didn’t have lunch with the groupI got called into the bosses office to discuss my attitude. I explain my uncle is in hospice and get a that’s too bad, but we still have to be professional at work…The white female who sits beside me threw a stapler across the room, cursed at the boss and left work for the day because she was upset a deal fell threw. I can’t do that as a black woman. In fact I can’t get upset, get angry or even have a bad day without being called an angry woman or the whole office deciding that my one bad day equates to a bad attitude everyday. When I worked in television news I once stumbled over a word during a liveshot. I was actually called into the bosses office and had my job threatened, when everyone else made all kinds of mistakes. Last year I someone in my office keyed my car and at a previous job someone hacked into my computer and put the word nigger on the screen, but I bet you can’t even imagine that happens today. I would just like for you to know that when African Americas are talking about racism, we’re talking about the fact that I’m buying a camera to put in my sons car in the event he’s pulled over, we can have a recording of the white officers if they decide to shoot him in the head because they thought his insurance card was a machine gun. So who the hell is talking about slavery? We’re talking about today.

    Comment by jadaka | Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | Reply

  18. Oh and to clarify the young black kid executed and recorded by dozens of people on their cell phones was executed by a young white police officer.

    I direct pageants for several national pageant lines, and when people see I’m a black director they ask if it’s a black pageant????? Nothing in the names of Cinderella, or Our Little Miss Says Little Miss Black Cinderella, or Our Little MIss Black, yet I’ve had a number of parents ask for a refund or call their children in sick for the pageant and they’d go to a pageant run by a white director. Hell even when I did the Miss America line of pageants everyone else in interview would get asked about their platform, all my questions were about race. I remember my first Miss Texas preliminary I walked in and my first question was, “Do you know what the word Mulatto means?” I’m a light skinned sister so I guess I was supposed to be offended. My daddy and mama are African American….So at age 19, I’m explaining to a panel of what judges what the word Mulatto means. I asked the other girls their first question was, what is your platform…….So please don’t think that in 2009 all black folks who point out racism are talking about slavery. Though I can say that you’ll never know what it’s like to be a black person and look at black men, women and children in books with their tongues hanging out having been lynched in the 50s. I think of all the money my relatives made for slave owners that’s been passed down in their family. I look at white people my age, having an old relative die and they inherit something more than debt. I look at how white folks founded welfare to make money off the poor, while keeping them poor and making sure that the men could not be in the home if you help the mother and child.

    Comment by jadaka | Sunday, October 18, 2009 | Reply

  19. My husband’s family is from Haiti. My skin happens to be light in color. Please explain why someone would feel justified in calling me racist.

    Comment by Confused | Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Reply

  20. Thanks for the feedback Confused,

    But I’m confused as well. Who is calling you racist based on your light skin color or the fact that your husband is from Haiti? Maybe you should ask the people who are calling you a racist why they are calling you a racist. If I was the one accusing you of racism it would be based on your racist behavior or statements, not because of your skin color or your husband’s birthplace. Indeed, many people who are obviously black or married to black people are some of the biggest racists out there.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Reply

  21. All Power to the People. I remember the first Miss Black America contest and well understand why it was founded. Yesterday (1/30/10) another fair, and relatively fair-skinned African American woman was crowned in the overall, traditional Miss America pageant, and she appeared with at least two other African American women contestants, both with much darker brown complexions. Caressa Cameron, 22, Miss Virginia, is the first Black winner of the pageant since 2005, it was reported. I am having a hard time finding the names to go with the obviously darker women competing; there were four or five Black contestants. Miss Virginia appears to be to be light enough to blend in with all the tanned (by skin lotion or otherwise) white pageant entrants in the panoramic group photo. Her straightened, flowing hair doesn’t permit distinction from the European American, Latina, or Asian American (if there were any) women, either. Her features are somewhat appreciably African, and her eye coloring is dark, however, She is not a Vanessa Williams clone or wannabe (think Tyra’s contacts).

    When that first Miss Black America contest in 1968 was televised, it lacked the glitter and glamor of the “real” Miss America contest down the block. Miss Black America was held in protest over racism in the first contest, and ironically, women’s organizations were protesting the “white” Miss America contest over exploitation of women.

    The crown used for Miss Black America was fashioned to have an African versus a European flair–instead of curves and points and rhinestones, it looked like wire spokes and big round wooden beads. More grotesque than glamorous, and hardly befitting a “queen” of any kind, let alone a beauty queen, but here, big, proud, beautiful Afros and “naturals” could abound–as could the beauty of deep, dark chocolate skin tones on the women who had a truly equal chance to win.

    That is the difference of an all-black contest and what we have now… But then, I am one of those women who grew with those movements spawned in the 60s which flourished through the 70s–the women’s liberation struggle, and the Black liberation struggle, which is why I will remain forever sympathetic with my Black sisters in arms, and why I laugh in the face of any of these so-called beauty pageants. Not even if anyone ever develops a “Ms. American Revolutionary” contest of the same ilk, would I pay attention to it. But no one ever would, would they? Beauty is only found in real freedom and equality–and neither women nor Blacks have it.

    Comment by PBNYC | Sunday, January 31, 2010 | Reply

  22. Actually Ms. Virginia did look very much like Vanessa Williams. Both her parents are black. I went to a black state pageant recently and there were 53 black women competiting compared to the one dark sister I saw and several half white and very fair sisters. Great for Miss Virginia, but my family dream has never been Miss America, it’s been Miss Black America. But you have to keep in mind that most of the black queens these days have white mothers and white upbringing.

    Comment by JK | Monday, February 1, 2010 | Reply

  23. I dont understand why people cant let go of the past. I dont have a racial bone in my body. If I could take back every wrong doing that was done years before my time, I would without even thinking about it. What I dont understand is why we (white) are being discriminated against or talked down too because something that our great great grand parents may have done. When does it stop? If there was a “white” mrs usa, or “white” entertainment tv, there would be all kinds issues. I can understand why the older black generation would still have hard feelings because of what happened to them. But I dont understand the people of my generation 35 and younger. What has actually happened to you? How many times have you (black) automatically accused a white person of being racist because you did not get your way? Why?? Help me understand as a white person what I need to do to help you get over this.

    Comment by T DAVIS | Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback T DAVIS,

      You’d like to understand as a white person? Why don’t you help to bring an end to the racial disparity that always, without a single exception, has black people on the shitty end of any social comparison for starters? But instead of listening and trying to understand, you want to complain that white people are being treated unfairly. Dude, your attitude, similar to the vast majority of people, is truly a piece of work. Black people suffer with things like higher unemployment, higher rates of incarceration, higher rates of rejection, and on and on and on. But that doesn’t matter because white people are unfairly being talked down to. I’m sure that the majority of black people would like to trade places with white people any day of the week.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Reply

  24. This is a great example of how ‘equality” works in today’s age. People that have been oppressed are not interested in equality, they are interested in revenge. “…let white women learn to compete on the stage with black women like black women had to learn to compete on the stage with white women.” This statement doesn’t promote equality among women of any race, it promotes hostility.
    The hurdles and obstacles overcome by those of African descent are not something to be taken lightly. However, the rights, dignities and freedoms fought for are being forsaken because the black community wants others to feel and suffer as they had. This is nothing more than revenge and more oppression from those that had challenged to free themselves from it.

    Comment by Kyle | Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Kyle,

      But you have no idea what “suffering” is. Having white people compete in a Ms. Black America pageant is not suffering. The suggestion that white people are suffering when the suggestion is made that they should compete in a contest where the deck might be stacked against them, the way decks are constantly stacked against black people, is just more evidence of how some people really don’t understand racial discrimination. Just another example of how small minded people will say that people in the black community need to be more sensitive to white people’s sensibilities and how black people have to bend over backwards to appear equal and fair minded when it is apparent that it is not being reciprocated. White people competing in a black pageant doesn’t compete with unemployment rates twice that of the white community, smaller incomes, and other social injustices that have become the norm. Give me a break!


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | Reply

  25. Yeah, I think more blacks should compete in Miss America pageant and whites should be allowed to compete in Miss Black America USA, based on their black features such as big buttocks, tanned skin, and average feminine (not too tall) height.

    Comment by Theresa | Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Reply

  26. Wow wow wow. You should be ashamed. All All i can remember from past years is a beautiful person from a different ethnic back ground winning. Come on it was in the regular ms. America pageant. I think if you retards can’t except The fact beauty comes in all color. ….. Whatever Can’t we just all have one combined pageant. We don’t say blacks or any other race can’t be part of “the miss USA a pageant” go figure. By the why I’m half black and white!!

    Comment by Kim | Saturday, January 12, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Kim,

      I think you meant to say, “…you retards can’t accept the fact…”.

      And despite your “can’t everybody just get along” philosophy it’s a fact of beauty pageant history that black people were not allowed to compete with white people. And now that they can, they have to adhere to the rules of beauty according to the taste and philosophies of beauty according to white people. You might be half black and white, but you’re fully ignorant of your black history.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, January 14, 2013 | Reply

  27. This discussion breaks my heart. This conversation is merely an act of adult bullying. The only way this topic or reminder of the past will go away is to move on. Every day, people of all race, religion, appearance (thin, fat, pretty, ugly), wealth, education, etc., negatively belittle others and this must all stop! Be an example, improve your character and be examples to our youth to positvely coexist as a nation!

    Comment by Lorinda | Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | Reply

  28. It seems like most white people who have been leaving comments think they really do want to move forward and forget the past. On the surface it seems like they believe they want to exist in a world that is either color blind (the idea that people shouldn’t be treated any differently based on the color of their skin or ethnic background) or where everyone is celebrated and lifted up based on their differences (which is much less likely than the first ideal but I must allow for the benefit of my doubts, right?).
    When a white person who hears about instances that a black person has recently faced may say sorry and will likely also urge that person to ignore it and rise above it because we’re not supposed to be racist in this country any more. They think to themselves, racism is so in the past, that was just one random instance and it’s sad that there are some people who are still racist, but most people aren’t any more. Am I right?
    So why, white person, the instant you feel like something isn’t fair, do you make such a giant deal about it and claim “reverse racism” and cry and scream and shout and pout about it because it looks like there’s a “double standard at play” in your eyes? Why don’t you just “move on, be strong, and forget the past,” white person? Why do you hold onto the rage and hate you honestly believe you feel in response to things that you don’t even know you don’t understand? Can’t you take your own advice to the people whom you believe are racist and just move on and forget about it because it’s in the past?
    I’ll tell you why, and this may be a shocker. It’s because racism is not in the past. It’s been so institutionalized that white people (and light-skinned people) aren’t even aware of their privilege. You actually have to work hard to realize it.
    I was just debating with someone over the weekend who actually said that he would be so angry to be handed anything solely based on the color of his skin because he has worked so hard for everything he has and that it’s a fact of life that people have to pull themselves up by their own bootstrings and that there are always going to be people everyone who face different disadvantages but it’s just how it is and always will be. He went on to say that he would never complain about any of the privileges he enjoys. Dude doesn’t even know about those built-in privileges and wants to tear down the things that he views as unfair that don’t even hurt him, that don’t even affect his life. He doesn’t even realize he’s handed almost everything in life based completely on his whiteness – from everything he inherits to everything he seeks out to do to the respect and trust the people he encounters in his daily life freely give him. And I haven’t even gotten started on quality of education or level of income or climbing the corporate ladder.
    Want to move this country forward? Stop wasting your time and energy attacking the Miss Black America pageant and fight against actual hate crime and racism.
    I recently came across a post that said black people have MLK day but if white people had a holiday that would be considered racist. Is MLK day only for black people? Was he only fighting for black people’s rights? Pull up any one of his speeches and writings and you tell me about his dream.

    Comment by kaprink | Wednesday, July 24, 2013 | Reply

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