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'Miss Universe Malaysia's remarks on US racism protests offensive'
Published on: Tuesday, June 02, 2020
By: The Star
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PETALING JAYA: Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation (Mumo) has distanced itself from the controversial remarks made by one its former winners, Samantha Katie James (pic), in relation to the Black Lives Matters protests in the United States of America.

Mumo said the remarks on social media made by the Miss Universe Malaysia 2017 winner were “inappropriate, offensive, unacceptable and hurtful”.

“The views expressed on James’ personal Instagram account are her own personal views, and are neither the view nor position of Mumo,” it said in a statement on Monday.

It added that James was not contracted to Mumo nor had she represented the organisation since June 2018.

“Mumo stands for a non-racial society and strongly condemns all acts of racism and prejudice anywhere in the world,” it said.

James, a model who is of Chinese and Brazilian parentage, posted several Instastories believed to be linked to the protests in the US, which were triggered by the death of African American George Floyd.

Floyd was suffocated to death by a police officer who knelt on his neck for over eight minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.

In one post, James wrote: “I don’t live in America, it has nothing to do with me, but to me, it seems like the ‘whites’ won.

“Because if you’re angry, you respond in rage and anguish. That means it has power over you. They have power over you.”

In a separate Instagram story, she posted,”To the black people, Relax, take it as a challenge, makes you stronger.

“You chose to be born as a ‘coloured’ person in America for a reason. To learn a certain lesson.

“Accept it as it is, till now hunger and poverty still exists. It is what it is. It is inevitable. Best you can do is remain claim, protect heart, don’t allow it to crumble (sic). That’s your responsibility.”

James’ Instagram stories were posted on Facebook and Twitter, following which many condemned her, saying her comments were condescending and “lacks the understanding of the world at large”.

A check on Wikipedia showed that her entry had been edited several times after her posts on social media.

When another user messaged her directly to ask what she meant when she said people “choose” to be born with a certain skin colour, James responded by saying that our “souls” determine such outcomes.

She also identified herself as a white person in her replies.

 “Our souls chose this life, this country, this race, this human form specifically for a reason.

 “I always wondered why I was born in Malaysia as a white girl with a Chinese mum and Indian grandparents and a Brazilian dad.

 “But I chose this all for a reason, as a soul,” she wrote.

James also hit back at criticisms of her privilege by saying that she had been “insulted all (her) life for being a white girl in a local Malaysian school.”

Social media users immediately slammed James’ remarks and the terms “Samantha” and “Miss Universe Malaysia” climbed to number two and three on Malaysia’s Twitter trends list as of Monday evening.

Several people have also called for James’ crown to be revoked by Miss Universe Malaysia in light of her comments.

 “Miss Universe Malaysia. More like Miss Gaslighting and Racism,” said one Twitter user.

Protests erupted across several US cities in recent days after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man who died in Minnesota after a white police officer pinned him to the ground and knelt on the back of his neck for more than eight minutes.

A video of the May 25 incident spread like wildfire on social media, triggering anger and unrest as activists took to the streets to speak out against racism and police brutality.


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