Hey team, take a knee.
You may have seen some headlines going around about the recent Miss Teen USA pageant winner Karlie Hay and her prolific use of the n-word on her Twitter feed. With -a endings and -er endings. Today, the Miss USA PR machine dragged the Texan onto Good Morning America to tell her side of the story and explain what could have possibly possessed her to use the inappropriate language. Turns out (hang on, lemme grab my pearls) it was that horrendous rap music that’s victimizing our precious children.
But before we get into the apology, let’s start off with the first three seconds of the interview—poor girl’s publicist apparently did not tell her that you don’t smile when you’re being introduced for your apology, because then you get images like this:
Then, after she gave her apology (“I am very sorry. It’s embarrassing”), she explained to GMA where she was coming from when she wrote those tweets as a 15-year-old:
At that age, I was being a follower. I was trying to fit in with my friends. The word was thrown around in the music I listened to, with the friends I hung out with and I had no guidance so it was kind of a careless mistake.
When the tweet got brought back up I was just like kind of embarrassed, ashamed, and just amazed that I actually at one point in my life thought it was okay to use that word because it’s never okay.
I get that 15-year-olds are dumb and that people make mistakes—hell, people much older than that do some real dumb shit, and these lessons are tough to learn on a public platform. But the point of the backlash is that some people can say the word and some people can’t. You, Karlie Hay, are the poster child for the latter group—the contents of your playlists are irrelevant. By "the music I listened to," I assume that she's referring to rap music, unless she's been listening to some really racist country music. Just because you listen to rap doesn't mean you get to say the word whenever you damn please.
Blame your friends, blame your narrow-minded white upbringing, blame the socioeconomic dissonance rooted in slavery that continues to disenfranchise black people today, just don’t blame rap. That’s almost as dumb and racist as tweeting the n-word. Almost. Oh, if you’re not "that kind of person" anymore, SCRUB THE DAMN TIMELINE. PUBLIC FIGURE 101.
It doesn’t surprise me at all that this girl still has her crown, despite her use of such a racist term—the fact that this year's top five Miss Teen USA contestants were white blonde girls pretty much sums up their commitment to and respect for multiculturalism. It seems like a twisted joke, seeing as when a black woman was crowned Miss USA, she received a ton of racist comments using some of the same language Hay tweeted. But it’s also particularly infuriating given that beauty pageants have taken away winners' crowns for far less serious offenses—for example, for having nude photos surface or for being sexual human beings.
Let’s not forget that in 1984 Vanessa Williams stepped down as Miss America—many believe at the behest of the Miss America Organization—after Penthouse published naked photos of her without her consent (the organization did apologize to her last year). Just a few months ago, Miss Great Britain, Zara Holland was stripped of her title after she had sex with another contestant on the reality show Love Island.
If Karlie Hay gets to keep her title, despite her racist tweets, there are some other tiaras that need to be returned.