Rachael Malonson was crowned Miss Black University of Texas on Sunday by the historically black fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi, but many social media users accused the pageant winner of not being "black enough," and called her race purity into question.
After the fraternity posted a photo of Malonson's win on Twitter, many disgruntled users commented on how light-skinned Malonson was, despite holding the prestigious title of Miss Black University of Texas.
Malonson, who is biracial, was under fire from social media users, one writing: "Her father may be black but socially, I see she doesn't even claim it unless when it's convenient for her. That's that s*** I don't like."
Some even went as far as to compare her to controversial former NAACP president Rachel Dolezal, who claimed to be black despite being born a caucasian woman.
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
In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Malonson said, "For me, I've always had to battle 'I'm not black enough.' But to not just place, but win the title is truly rewarding."
Malonson had previously addressed this very issue with her campus newspaper in March.
"I remember I felt so insecure because people didn't understand who I was by my look," she wrote. "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."
"The black community is supposed to support each other," Malonson said. "If you’re black, you’re black."
Malonson told The Dallas Morning News that the backlash to her crowning was so intense that she deleted her Twitter app from her phone.
Malonson's brother Gregory posted a lengthy note Wednesday on Facebook, defending his sister, their heritage and ethnicity.
"On Sunday, my sister Rachel Malonson competed in and won the Miss Black UT Scholarship Pageant," he wrote. "I am very proud of her and this great accomplishment but she has not been able to enjoy this moment. Since she has won the pageant there has been numerous comments concerning whether she is Black because of her skin tone and hair type. It sickens me that members of our Black community would attack their own because she is biracial (black). Our father is Black and hateful comments that question her race discredit our father and other Black fathers and mothers who have biracial (black) children. Instead of hating each other, we should unite and uplift each other. The only way our Black community can become stronger is if we support and love one another rather than tear each other down. Other communities will support us if they see that we stand united. It starts with US. We need to stand united instead hating each other based on our appearance."
The paper reported that Malonson will graduate from the University of Texas later in May with a degree in journalism.
See some of the tweets directed at Malonson's skin color below.
— islandting 🇯🇲 (@oddneekah_) May 3, 2017
@avuitton_ @afrolatinababe @ID_NUPEs @RachaelMalonson @WhatUpDoeDoe @Emma_mattie @nyleswashington @Davidallen_3 she's clearly the lightest, damn near white looking "black woman" & she won over the others. quit playing dumb guys. it looks sketchy
— chocolate drop 🍫✨ (@_ColeWorldShwty) May 3, 2017
— gwen mcdonald (@gwenmcdonald1) May 3, 2017
@avuitton_ @gwenmcdonald1 @ID_NUPEs @RachaelMalonson @WhatUpDoeDoe @Emma_mattie @nyleswashington @Davidallen_3 You can be black genetically and never navigate this world as a black person. But that's just me pic.twitter.com/lnhIqMgCk0
— Chris👸🏿🇨🇩 (@christellecraze) May 3, 2017
— GabLon Don (@nue_york) May 4, 2017
— ChristianW. (@iHateCeeWest) May 3, 2017
— Young Griselda (@ZaireTMNY) May 3, 2017
Her father may be black but socially i see she doesn't even claim it unless when it's convenient for her. That's that shit I don't like
— Chocolatey Socrates (@ShawtiBroCuz_) May 3, 2017
@ID_NUPEs @RachaelMalonson @WhatUpDoeDoe @Emma_mattie @nyleswashington @Davidallen_3 Y'all know damn well if you saw this girl out in like public somewhere & had to guess her race, the last thing you'd say is black.
— Doniesha Roshae (@DonieshaRoshae) May 3, 2017
@ID_NUPEs @RachaelMalonson @WhatUpDoeDoe @Emma_mattie @nyleswashington @Davidallen_3 I respect both the colorism & creditation of "black" notions. Yes she doesn't 'seem' to represent yet at the same time she applied & won.
— ak (@uhDAIRYuh_) May 3, 2017
— Penelope (@7millicent) May 3, 2017
Update: A press release sent to TheBlaze from The Iota Delta Chapter at the University of Texas reads:
We state from the outset, without any reservation whatsoever, that by any conventional standards of evaluation, the professional qualifications, social presence and academic profile of Miss Rachael Malonson makes her undoubtedly deserving to serve as the 2017 Miss Black University of Texas.
On Sunday, April 30, 2017, the Iota Delta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., held their 35th annual Miss Black University of Texas Scholarship Pageant. The pageant consisted of eight talented young women who demonstrated grace and class while competing for the right to serve as the 2017 Miss Black University of Texas. At the conclusion of the highly competitive event, senior Rachael Malonson was crowned the next Miss Black University of Texas.
The Miss Black University of Texas Scholarship Pageant was established in 1982 with a singular goal in mind—to support and uplift African-American women. Prior to its inception, African-American women had limited scholarship opportunities on the university campus. The Iota Delta Chapter formed this civic pageant to provide a much needed additional scholarship source for deserving participants. In its 35-year existence, women from all across the color spectrum have won the scholarship pageant, and they each represented themselves and the university community with the utmost distinction.
Rachael is a perfect embodiment of the ideals and precepts of the Miss Black University of Texas Scholarship Pageant. This is best evidenced by the presentation of her pageant platform. Each contestant is expected to create a platform to present during the event, which serves as the community service initiative that the winner will implement once crowned Miss Black University of Texas. During her platform presentation, Rachael introduced a program to help diversify journalism through mediums seldom explored by African-Americans. While realizing the impressiveness of her initiative, 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 that Rachael seeks to help reform has served as a source of legitimacy for the fringe elements who use social media to spew hate.
In short, Rachael is a proud African-American senior excelling at The University of Texas at Austin. On the basis of her scholastic promise, community involvement, and professional demeanor, it is with great pride and absolute conviction that the Iota Delta Chapter stands with and supports their 2017 Miss Black University of Texas, Rachael Malonson.