First, they called it Miss Latina USA but maybe because some groups demanded for a Miss Asian USA and Miss African USA, they decided it should be Miss Latina Universe. However, it was said that the rivalry between the two Spanish language TV networks in the US – Telemundo and Univision – triggered the creation of a beauty pageant that would select a candidate that would represent the Latino community in the US at the Miss Universe pageant.
The pageant is of course very awkward as the Miss Universe contest has always been a competition between nations. It is true we’ve seen Hawaii and Alaska competing before but they were actually American territories at that time with physical geographic presence. The Miss Latina Universe on the other hand is devoid of any political and geographical entity. Rather, it is a form of racial segregation with some arguing that the pageant is necessary to ensure that the Latina beauty will be recognized in the US.
Nia Sanchez, who hails from a state where Latinos are more than a quarter of the population, is actually half Mexican. This automatically disarms any justification for a Miss Latina Universe pageant. Is there a need for a pageant designed to recognize the Latina beauty in the US when the current Miss USA is in fact part Latina?
The Miss Universe pageant should recognize that it is experimenting on something wherein the stakes are too high. It is damaging the pageant’s tradition and prestige and above all it is creating walls instead of bridges. The Latino community is growing in the United States. Everyone, from politicians to McDonalds to CNN, are seeking new ways to cater the needs of this community. These businesses, Miss Universe included, should however create an atmosphere of integration instead of creating “townships” within the US. While it is understandable for the Trump empire to tickle the fancy of Latinos, the South African-isque apartheid style is a dangerous way to go.