Breaking Cultural Barriers: the first Muslim Miss USA

Please select a featured image for your post

As soon as Rima Fakih was crowned Miss USA 2010, the spotlight chose to shine brighter upon her religion rather than her beauty and grace. The Arab-American stunner was greeted with a tidal wave of criticism against her Muslim beliefs and Lebanese upbringing. But why should her winning be as shocking as some people are making it out to be?

Wasn’t the United States of America founded upon the idea of democracy? I recall learning about a certain document that stated “All men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

After all, when an African-American man, who has a Muslim father and was voted on nothing except his credentials to be President of the United States less than two years ago, it shouldn’t shock you to find that other people are breaking through barriers to achieve what they want out of the open, democratic system.

So why should Rima Fakih be any different? A young American from Lebanese Shiite roots who earned the title of Miss USA based only on votes for her beauty. Even though it is a beauty competition, don’t underestimate these competitors. Rima graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with degrees in economics and business management, and in the future, plans to attend law school.

What are these critics saying about the American Dream? That it’s only available to certain people? Or if you’re a white, conservative Christian, you’ll have an upper hand? Well, Rima broke that ruling and achieved the title competing against a variety of other women ranging blonde-haired, blue eyed, African-Americans, Asians.

Rima as well as Mai Shanley, Miss USA 1984, the first Eurasian winner, Laura Harring-Martinez, Miss USA 1985, the first Hispanic winner, and Carole Gist, Miss USA 1990, the first African-American winner, broke through. I’m very disappointed to see so much racism and double standards held in a country that is supposed to be the epitome of democracy.

However, the ironic twist to this story is that Rima’s achievements allowed for American and Muslim extremists to finally agree on something. Even though each has their separate reasons, ranging from racism to religion, why don’t we just leave her be and see what kind of person she really is?

“I would've loved for them to at least let me enjoy my reign before they started with all this controversy. But you know what they say, no media is bad media. And I am, from what I hear, I've been the number one search on Google and Yahoo, so I can't say I'm unhappy,” said Rima in an interview with National Public Radio.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.