One wouldn’t expect officials of the Delaware Little Miss Hispanic pageant to wait until after the contest to confirm entrants’ ethnicities, but 7-year-old Jakiyah McKoy was crowned before her Latin roots were called into question.
McKoy won the pageant — also called Miss Chiquita Delaware — on August 31, and last week officials stripped the girl of her crown after her parents failed to provide documentation to prove that she at least one-fourth Latin, as pageant rules mandate. Although her grandmother was reportedly born in La Vega, Dominican Republic, no paperwork was available.
Said Maria Perez, president of pageant sponsor Nuestras Raices Delaware, “Her parents were asked to bring in documentation. Of all of the documentation brought in there was nothing that confirmed Dominican heritage.”
Some critics suspect that the issue has more to do with the dark color of McKoy’s skin than a documentation issue. Daniel José Older of Brooklyn started a petition in the girl’s defense, which has received 400 signatures so far.
San Francisco resident Martina Alaya left a comment on the petition stating, “If her ethnicity is being ‘investigated,’ you need to do the same to all other contestants. Latinos come in all colors – we are ‘mestizos’ and Jakiyah represents our African roots — she is a beautiful representative of ‘Nuestras Raices’ — Nuestras Raices Delaware – stop the self-hate and educate yourselves on what it means to give honor to ‘Nuestras Raices.’”
Perez denied that the de-crowning had anything to do with skin color, noting that black entrants have won in the past.
Said Perez,” We can’t have her be the queen if she doesn’t have the proper documentation. It’s not the first time that we’ve been confronted with the [same situation]. It’s happened in the past and they’ve brought in the proof and we were satisfied with it.”
Perez also stated that she thinks the family started the accusations of racism, but that this rumor has no basis in fact.