Will biracial people ever be considered Black enough? It’s 2017 and while the Black community would love to pretend we can work together as a whole, we still have so many issues that divide us deeply. Race mixing is an issue that many Black people have issues with these days, though not so many will admit it in public.
We are seeing it clearly in the case of Rachael Malonson, a senior at the University of Texas-Austin. Malonson is biracial, her mother is white and her father is Black. The 22-year-old broadcast and journalism major was crowned 2017 Miss Black University of Texas this week and the internet went wild.
Apparently Malonson, who has a very light complexion, is not dark enough to appease the masses. There was immediate backlash not only online, but Malonson has had to deal with it in person as well.
Congratulations to our 2017 Miss Black University of Texas! We thank our lovely contestants, as well as everyone else who came to support!👌🏽 pic.twitter.com/yEva52wpSp
— Iota Delta NUPEs (@ID_NUPEs) May 2, 2017
The Miss Black University of Texas pageant is in its 35th year and while Rachael Malonson is not the first biracial winner I’m sure, it’s important to notice how her win is being perceived.
@ID_NUPEs @RachaelMalonson @WhatUpDoeDoe @Emma_mattie @nyleswashington @Davidallen_3 of course they choose the most light-skinned least looking black person there — Nana (@Adriann18588568) May 3, 2017
@nyleswashington @Adriann18588568 @ID_NUPEs @RachaelMalonson @WhatUpDoeDoe @Emma_mattie @Davidallen_3 Women who represented black culture to compete… didn’t win. Who clearly have 2 BLACK parents and not just,from how it looks…
The biracial beauty queen is light enough that her “Blackness” is in question. Why would that e an issue in 2017? From the social media backlash it’s obvious that many Black women feel slighted, it’s almost as if a white woman won from their reactions. Malonson’s father is Black, yet her complexion will always make her “different” to some Blacks, she will always be looked at as having questionable roots, motives and aspirations.
Why is that? People highly underestimate the residual effects of the Willie Lynch mentality for one. We are a race divided. Our enemies know it. We are a race that has been bastardized and oppressed by those not only of other cultures, but by our own at times when they were light enough to “pass.” We’ve watched those who have a lighter complexion gain favor over us. Women with darker skin are often told “you’re pretty for a dark skin woman.”
Notice that one of the twitter commenters even suggested a “brown paper bag test” which references when you were considered “passable” if you were lighter than a brown paper bag. It’s clear that some Black women are highly offended just at the idea that Malonson won because of her fair complexion instead of her talents, causes and answers to the judge’s questions.
How has the backlash affected Malonson? The 22-year-old told USA Today College that she was apprehensive about even entering the pageant. She feared she wouldn’t even place because she wouldn’t be taken seriously as a Black woman because she was so clearly biracial. “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 the reporter. “I wasn’t sure if I would even place in the pageant because I wasn’t sure they would think I was ‘black enough’, Rachael added.
“I’m so humbled by all of the support I’ve received from the black community at UT,” Malonson said, not letting the backlash get to her. “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.” “I didn’t realize that even after I received the title I would still have to explain myself, that there was still ignorant people out there who are asking me to prove myself,” Malonson says. “Just because I have straight hair and olive skin tone doesn’t mean I’m not black…I don’t have to look a certain way to be black.”
In an interview with The Daily Texan, a campus paper, Malonson talks about growing up with a mixed heritage. She speaks on how people have always confused her ethnicity and for a while, she was even confused about it. That’s changed now, “I remember I felt so insecure because people didn’t understand who I was by my look,” Malonson said. “I’m confident in it now and see it as a unique trait where I’m able to teach people that not every black person (and) not every mixed person looks the same way.”
I recently caught a bunch of flack in the comment section of my article on Serena Williams and white fiancée, Alexis Ohanian, who are expecting a baby. It seems I’m not the only one who has strong opinions about biracial people. What do you think of the backlash to Malonson’s win? Do you think biracial people will ever be considered “Black” enough?
Thinker, Avid Reader, Couch Potato. Sapphire Hill is a writer from Baltimore Maryland who loves to delve deeper into the whys of everything. Staff writer for 86 Blvd and Badd Magazine. Blogger and talent promoter for Sapphire Spotlight On Talent.