Maybe She’s Old Enough After All

This isn’t a world shaping concern, but Miss Fiji is no longer Miss Fiji.

This isn’t a problem to a lot of folks in Fiji, many of whom didn’t believe that Torika Watters looked “Fiji’an enough” to represent them at the Miss World  Competition.

Watters is of mixed European and Fijian descent.  She looks like an especially bronzed Barbie with Shakira’s hair.  The complaints are reminiscent of the concerns that were voiced in America when African-American, Latina, and Asian women began winning pageants as Americans.

Which is funny because nobody griped that none of the first 62 Miss America winners looked like Pocahontas or Sacagawea.

Despite the complaints, Miss Watters title wasn’t vacated because she was “too white”, it was vacated because she was too young to be competing in the pageant… a fact that was discovered only after she had entered and won.

She didn’t hide the fact that she was only 16 years-old (you need to be 17 to compete) because she had been told by a promoter that she was eligible for this year’s competition.

After being openly criticized for her mixed ancestry and being told that she was ineligible, Watters didn’t protest or fight the decision that caused her to return a title that she believed she had fairly won.

She just walked away.

 “I had no intentions of doing anything sneaky or wrong and like the other contestants entered the competition for what I believed to be the right reasons—to be an Ambassador for Fiji and raise money for charitable causes… I am proud of my identity as a Fijian and have never considered my people as racists.” 

I wonder how many of us would be willing to walk from a dream, and cash/prizes, especially after the poor treatment and confusion?

I know I often “fight for my rights” and “want to get what I deserve”, and I don’t think that I’m alone in this.

I have to admit that I’m pretty humbled to see a teenager approach this situation differently than many grown-ups do.  Torika Watters didn’t choose to wage war to get what she wanted, instead she asked herself “What’s my responsibility here?” 

In choosing to take responsibility for herself she not only demonstrated class, but character.  She protected the organization she was a part of and the people group she loved, but she also rose above the status of victim… rather than exploit it for all that she could get.

Maybe she was old enough after all.

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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