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Miss Teen USA Deserves Room for Growth Like Everyone Else

by Todd A. Smith

 

When I Was a Child I Spoke as a Child

 

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”


1 Corinthians 13:11 is a popular verse for many people, especially Christians, but it seems few remember their own childish mistakes from yesteryear.


With that in mind, newly crowned Miss Teen U.S.A. Karlie Hay of Tomball, Texas should not be raked over the coals for racist comments she made three years ago when she was 15 years old.


The controversy should hopefully be enough to teach her a valuable lesson about compassion, prejudice and responsibility from being in the public eye.


According to CNN.com, “After her win on Saturday, social media users pointed out the repeated use of a racial slur in what appeared to be her personal Twitter account in 2013 and 2014.


“Users posted screen grabs from what appeared to be an account with her name and photo with several references to the slur…


“Hay, 18, responded to the allegations online, but did not apologize directly in reference to the alleged use of the word.”


While Hay’s lack of an apology is more disheartening, the use of that word, while inexcusable, is nothing worse than what any other person has said in the comfort of their own home about people from a different demographic group.


Yes, Hay was wrong.


Yes, Hay should have known that if she wanted to be in the spotlight she should have begun acting accordingly years ago.


Yes, Hay should have at least tried to delete old, controversial tweets when she began competing for Miss Teen USA.


But, people who are calling for her to relinquish the Miss Teen USA 2016 crown must remember she was 15 years old and 16 years old when she tweeted the N-word and other reprehensible things.


If what I said or did at 15 years old and 16 years old were done during the social media age, my career would have never gotten started.


Going back to the age of 13 years old, I too said some things that were controversial racially.


However, people forgave me as I grew into the man I have become.


Very few judge me for the childish things that I did as a youngster now that I am a full-grown man.


Many compare Miss Teen USA’s controversy to Vanessa Williams’ Miss America controversy in 1983.


While I love Williams and the career she created for herself, the singer/actress was an adult when she made the mistake of taking nude photographs, not a 10th or 11th grader like the current Miss Teen USA.


Many thought Williams’ career was over before it really began as the first Black Miss America, but she grew from it and became an A-list celebrity.


If Hay does not mature from this ordeal and offer a sincere apology, then disregard everything written thus far.


But like many mature adults, she just made a mistake in her youth that should not ruin her dreams and goals in the future.

This article was published on Friday 05 August, 2016.
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