They Taught Me To Smile, Not To Be Not Racist

I’ve learned a lot on this journey we call “Beauty.”


During my 18 years of life and pageantry, I’ve been taught all of life’s lessons by the beauty queens and beauty coaches that made me who I am today. They taught me that hair isn’t hair unless it’s bigger. They taught me that walking is not about walking, it’s about boobs. But the one thing they didn’t teach me was how not to be racist.


Believe me when I say I do not want to be racist.


When I was born in 1997 (please forgive me for that too), they told me that racism was over, and I believed them! I continued on for so long, learning all the good stuff. I learned to swoosh, but I never learned that racism is still thriving in subtle, ways, like me using the N-word in a public forum and facing zero consequences for it.


What do you expect to happen after sitting in a cloud of hairspray for 15 years?



When I was just starting out in the pageant world, I asked to learn more about racism in America, but my pageant mom just told me “Your smile will change the world.” She never answered my question about how not to be racist, but she did teach me about how my white skin is the best, but also how I have to use a good bronzer in order to be beautiful.


I would like to take this time to apologize for the racially insensitive remarks I made, but no one ever taught me how to apologize, so I can’t.


Since my beautiful mentors were never properly taught either, they had nothing of value to pass down to me other than how “turn” and “find my angle.” I’ve only ever picked up on language through context clues. I just thought that bad word I used (I know to call it the N-word now) meant “fun friend.” Like, “Yo what’s good, my fun friend!”


I was wrong. But to be fair, I’ve been wrong almost every time I’ve spoken, and they always told me it was okay because I was pretty. Is that not true now?


I hope I’m still pretty, or they’ll never let me watch Little Miss Sunshine.


It has been an honor to serve this country as your Beauty Queen,

Miss Karlie Hay, Teen USA