Squashing Free Speech With High Heels

Madeleine Ahlbrecht | July 24, 2019

Squashing Free Speech With High Heels

Political correctness has now conquered beauty pageants. On July 18th, Kathy Zhu was suddenly stripped of her Miss Michigan crown. Subsequently, she was disqualified from competing in Las Vegas for the Miss World America Organization (MWA) competition.

Why? For “offensive” Tweets that date back to over a year ago. Based on those tweets, MWA’s National Director accused Zhu of “being racist, Islamophobic, and insensitive.”

Miss World America's State/National/Chief Director accused me of being racist, Islamaphobic, and insensitive.

So, what are the tweets? 

The first tweet under investigation concerns the statistic that more blacks are killed by other blacks than by whites. Zhu defends her opinion by claiming that statistics back it. In a CNN interview, the interviewer challenged the intention in posting and accused Zhu of racism because she failed to also state that whites kill more whites than blacks kill whites. 

Zhu argues that she posted the first tweet in response to another that slandered all police as murderers of blacks. According to Zhu, that the MWA took those tweets out of context. 

In the second tweet, Zhu made an observation about her experience after someone tried to force her to wear a hijab. She explained that she was rushing to class when someone at a booth celebrating World Hijab Day asked her to try on a hijab. She refused for a couple of reasons, one being that she did not want to wear a religious garment from a religion of which she was not a member, and the other being that she did not want to promote the use of hijabs. Surprisingly, the MWA did not allow her to defend herself or the context of these Twitter posts before they took away her title.    

In her tweet, she asked if they were trying to promote the hijab as merely a “fashion accessory” instead of what it really was, a religious garment. The striking last line of her tweet was, “Or are you just trying to get women used to being oppressed under Islam?”

In response to accusations that her tweets were “insensitive,” Zhu wrote an email to MWA saying, “What’s ‘insensitive’ is that women in the Middle East are getting STONED TO DEATH for refusing to obey their husband’s orders to wear hijabs.

The MWA was unmoved.

So what’s next?

We’ve clearly seen that it is not just cis-gendered, straight, white males who are questioned. Even a minority – an Asian woman like Kathy Zhu – can suffer for “offensive” tweets.  

How does this impact the Chinese American community? In an article entitled, The Rise of the Chinese-American Right, the National Review reported that many of the United States’ Chinese immigrants are turning politically right and supporting President Trump. Many of these immigrants came to the United States for post-graduate opportunities and have stayed to raise families. They typically form their political opinions “based on a firm belief in competition, individual accomplishment, and meritocracy,” which, of course, “are distinctly conservative.” They focus on issues such as protecting meritocracy in the educational system and fighting the growing welfare state that disadvantages hard working citizens.

Though this group of conservative Asian-Americans is currently smaller than their liberal counterpart, they are growing. Is this a sign that intersectionality is splitting the Democratic party?

It seems that pageantry no longer judges based on merit and beauty, but upon politics. Kathy Zhu is simply another example of this. But is she also leading one of the first big rebellions against political correctness that we’ve seen from the Asian-American minority group?

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[Image Credit: Pixabay]



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