Child Beauty Pageant Makes Contestants Prove They're Actually Latina


Child beauty pageants are fucked up enough without adding a weird racial dimension to them, but if you’re going to be terrible, you might as well be all-the-way terrible, right? The Little Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant — which exists because apparently the world doesn’t mess with little girls’ brains enough as-is — has come under fire recently for its weirdo policies on race. Specifically, requiring contestants to provide documentation proving that they’re actually really for real Latina.

The problem (well, the race-proving problem, not the problem of child beauty pageants in general) started last month, when the Nuestras Raices Little Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant dethroned the winner of its most recent title — Jakiyah McCoy, who is of Dominican heritage — after McCoy’s family couldn’t prove that she’s Latina. McCoy is black. She was the only contestant asked to prove or show anything, according to Latina Lista and Feministing.

After a (rightful) outcry, pageant officials penned a letter clarifying that every aspiring NRLMHD has to provide documentation that proves they’re legit Latinas, including the blonde haired, blue eyed girl who currently holds the title. What does it mean for a girl to be a “real” Latina? I DON’T KNOW! NOBODY DOES! RACE IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT!

As Feministing’s Juliana Britto Schwartz points out, requiring official documents to verify anyone’s racial identity is garbage, but it’s extra pungent garbage when the people being asked to verify their country of origin are black Dominicans, since a substantial population of black Dominicans are descended from people who entered the country illegally from Haiti and thus were never issued identifying documents.

At this point I’d be in remiss if I didn’t add that ironically, the same papers that would enable a little girl to participate in Little Miss Hispanic Delaware could get her sent to Mexico in Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s xenophobic fantasies.

Of course, none of this would be a problem if the pageant didn’t exist in the first place. Which it probably shouldn’t.


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