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University Pageant Winner Accused Of Not Being 'Black Enough' Fights Back

05/12/2017 11:44 EDT

Winning the Miss Black pageant, put on by the University of Texas' Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, may have been a dream come true for journalism student Rachael Malonson. But not everyone was sure she was deserving of the title.

As I approached my final semester of college, I decided to take on an opportunity out of my comfort zone by participating in a pageant. It was an exceptional journey with a lot of hard work, laughter, tears, and a lack of sleep LOL. Throughout the process I gained perseverance, a greater understanding of who I am as a person, and received constant support from others even when I didn't believe in myself. I challenged myself by vulnerably expressing obstacles I face as a biracial woman and was not going to leave the stage without letting others know that my blessings and strength are in Christ alone. The journey may have come to an end but the deeper self confidence I have gained, the hilarious and sincere priceless memories I have experienced , and the new family I didn't know I was incomplete without will live on❤️ I am humbly honored to be your 2017 Miss Black University of Texas and I'm ready to give a voice to the voiceless 🖤

A post shared by Rachael Malonson (@rachael212) on


Shortly after the school's National Association Of Black Journalists chapter announced that Malonson, who is biracial, was chosen, many questioned whether or not she was "actually" black, or "black enough" to hold the crown.





The pageant was established in 1982 by the frat's Texas chapter "to support and uplift African American women," who historically, they say, had limited access to scholarships on campus.

Sadly, the reaction came as no surprise to the student, who told ABC 13 in early May that she herself questioned whether or not she would be eligible to participate, despite having a black biological parent.

"I remember texting my sister before and I was like, honestly I don't even think I'm going to place," Malonson told the news network.

"I don't fit the stereotypical look that you would think a black person would fit."

"I don't fit the stereotypical look that you would think a black person would fit."

And the beauty queen isn't the first person in the spotlight to speak up on this issue.

Actress Meghan Markle, who is also biracial, penned an essay in Elle U.K. back in 2015 about not being able to land roles due to her racially ambiguous looks.

"I wasn't black enough for the black roles and I wasn't white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn't book a job," she recalled.

But despite the backlash, Malonson is still standing up for herself.

Hey Graduation, I can see you right around the corner 😉 #hookem

A post shared by Rachael Malonson (@rachael212) on


Describing herself as someone who has "fairly straight hair and an olive skin tone," she told Cosmo, "This was a beautiful opportunity that allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of who I am as a person ... I could genuinely be myself."

The student is also grateful that she was able to inspire other biracial women as well.

"One father personally reached out to me to tell me that his little daughter is biracial and struggles with her identity and that I was an inspiration for his daughter and his family," she said.

The fraternity also came to her defence, describing Malonson as "a perfect embodiment of the ideals and precepts of the Miss Black University of Texas scholarship pageant."


Malson's win, the fraternity notes, was thanks to the community service portion of her presentation, which she intends to implement after graduation.

"Rachel introduced a program to help diversify journalism through mediums seldom explored by African-Americans," they wrote.

"The unfortunate reality is that her victory has been overshadowed by a constant barrage of negative commentary regarding her racial background. It is ironic that the very industry Rachel seeks to help reform has served as a source of legitimacy for the fringe elements who use social media to spew hate."

"It is ironic that the very industry Rachel seeks to help reform has served as a source of legitimacy for the fringe elements who use social media to spew hate."

As for the naysayers, Malonson is hopeful that through this experience, they can start to see blackness through a different lens.

"I hope their eyes can be opened to know that we come in all different shades and don't have to look a certain way to be black," she later explained to Cosmo. "I am humbly honoured to have already been able to impact people all around the world by standing up for who I am as a biracial black woman."

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