Have you seen Miss Haiti Universe? If you haven’t, take a look. She is 22-year-old Sarodj Bertin, and yes she is beautiful indeed, but it’s not just her looks that won her the crown. It was her charm, smile, and guess what, she’s a lawyer. So, she isn’t just a striking woman in a bikini; she’s a striking woman in a bikini with the brain to match.
Good for Haiti for choosing a woman of power.
Despite all that, there are issues with the results. After being defunct for 20 years, the Miss Haiti pageant finally opened its doors and crowned the new queen May 17. Out of the six contestants, none of the chocolate beauties with tightly wound hair, wide noses, and African features were chosen. The lightest one; closest to White one, with the straightest hair of the bunch was crowned to represent the revolutionary, wave making, African-rooted country of dark skinned Haitians.
Is this a reflection of a lingering White supremacy influence? Or was this simply a contest equally fought by five dark and lovely Black women and a light skinned lady? I’m not alone questioning this result. After sifting through congratulatory messages online and admirable praise for such a lovely choice, I came across some interesting garble.
In the comments section of dominicantoday.com, Plantanos_pelaos writes, “She doesn’t look to(o) Haitian to me … Here you have it, first Haitian MU (Miss Universe), and she’s not even Black. But after see(ing) what she was running against–a bunch of choppas . . . ragged nappy haired hoes, I can only say well done.”
The only response to this is, “smh (shake my head).”
On Conversations.blackvoices.com, harlemiteblack writes, “While I know that some Haitians are light skin, it is weird seeing these bi-racial/quadroon beauty queens from countries that are overwhelming Black African.”
Other online critics questioned whether or not she is even Haitian. Well, according to nationsencyclopedia.com, 95 percent of Haitians are African descendants and 5 percent Whites and Mulattos. She could very well be Haitian according to her birthplace, but I guess the 5 percent gets to be the poster girl for a clearly Black nation.
Another comment read, “something doesn’t seem right …”
I can only assume what the judges were thinking. Regardless of their thoughts, the outcome of the contest has the ability to perpetuate a White supremacist fog in the country. It seems like all over the world, light skin, closest to White skin equals right and beauty. Skin lightening creams are Africa’s top cosmetic products. In the Caribbean and Latin countries alike, the lighter the skin, the better the treatment. Brazilian soaps often capture the lightest of the brightest as main stars, while dark skinned, African-looking people are used as background, handmaids, and yard workers. And, of course, here in the U.S., we are still battling this same issue.
A conscious step toward eliminating White supremacy has to be made; otherwise beauty will always be defined according to the standards of the “oppressor.”