LATINO VOICES
09/27/2013 10:35 am ET Updated Sep 28, 2013

7-Year-Old Beauty Queen Disqualified For Failing To Prove She's Latina

There’s a lot of debate over what it exactly means to be Latino, but it’s not very often that people have to provide proof of their ethnicity.

That’s what happened to 7-year-old Jakiyah McKoy, who lost her crown as Little Miss Hispanic Delaware when her parents couldn’t provide documentation to prove that she is at least one-quarter Latina.

The McKoy family says Jakiyah’s grandmother is Dominican, but she has passed away, according to Latino Rebels.

The controversy has raised questions about how race is perceived in the Latino community, particularly since -- to judge from local reporting -- race played a role subjecting McKoy's heritage to scrutiny.

“There was a general uproar when they named the winner since, according to the public, she wasn’t the best representation of a Latin beauty,” local paper El Mundo Hispano wrote on Aug. 31.

Nuestras Raíces Delaware, the organization that put on the pageant, disputed that McKoy had lost her title over concerns about her race in a statement posted to Facebook. (The organization uses a difference spelling of the pageant contestant’s name than news publications.)

FACT: Ms. McCoy losing her title was NOT due to her appearance in any way, but because is NOT of Hispanic decent and couldn't provide the proof to validate it as any contestant who is a title holder is required to provide. The color of the skin is not ever been a reason for this re-coronation. It has been left open to the grandmother that if she provides documentation to confirm Jakiyah's Hispanic lineage, would be reinstated and we would have our first dual queens.

The family of Ms. McCoy had been asked to provide this after coronation and they were UNABLE to do so. They were very willing and understanding to the decision that was made, and in good faith the hard working Ms. McCoy was still welcomed to be crowned as a participant and join the festivities at the Parade and Festival. The family and Ms. McCoy accepted and had a great time on the float.

The explanation hasn’t convinced everyone. A change.org petition demanding the organization to give McKoy’s crown back had fielded almost 800 signatures by Friday morning.

Afro-Latinos make up one of the largest chunks of the multiracial Latino ethnicity.

Watch the contestants for Little Miss Hispanic Delaware 2013 in the video above.

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